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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

There is something at once reassuring and sad in the fervor with which its target audience of tween and teen girls will undoubtedly greet the lovelorn Gothic romance sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit), at least to judge by the squealingly delighted reaction of such viewers at a recent preview screening.

Their enthusiasm is reassuring because this latest chapter in the love story of well-mannered vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and mortal high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is—like its 2008 predecessor Twilight—remarkable for the innocence of their interaction. (Edward fears that temptations of the flesh, if indulged beyond the occasional kiss, might give way to temptations of the blood.)

What makes it sad is the thought of how rare the portrayal of such a restrained relationship has become, even in entertainment aimed at the young. And then, of course, there's the fact that it takes an occult contrivance to compel and enforce the couple's chastity.

Though behaving themselves when together, in fact, Edward and Bella spend most of their time apart in director Chris Weitz's adaptation of the second book in Stephenie Meyer's best-selling series of young-adult novels. That's because, early on, Bella has a slight accident involving a bit of bleeding that sends the less controlled members of the undead clan with which Edward lives, especially the ever-predatory Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), into a dangerous frenzy.

Appalled, Edward feigns a change of heart, breaks off their relationship, and disappears. Disconsolate Bella eventually turns to her American Indian friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) for solace. But, in addition to wanting to be more than mere pals, Jacob has a supernatural secret of his own: He's inherited the gene that turns some members of his tribe, when provoked, into werewolves.

And who are the werewolves' mortal enemies? Why, vampires, naturally. So, as the picturesque proceeding sweep from the misty Northwest of Bella's hometown of Forks, Wash., to the sunny hills of Tuscany, the sighing, gazing and moping are interrupted by some intermittent violence as outsized battles flare between superhuman opponents.

Along the way, Bella's pleas to be transformed into a blood-sucker—thereby resolving her dilemma and allowing her to remain with Edward forever—lead to a hazy discussion about the possible loss of her soul. Edward, we learn, believes that all his kind, no matter how courtly, are damned, though precisely what that means Melissa Rosenberg's script never tarries long enough to explore or explain. There's also a brief exchange about the origins of Jacob's problem that echoes, presumably for humorous effect, the debate about the origins of homosexual orientation.

The film contains considerable action violence, a vague sexual reference and at least one mildly crass term. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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John of Capistrano: It has been said the Christian saints are the world’s greatest optimists. Not blind to the existence and consequences of evil, they base their confidence on the power of Christ’s redemption. The power of conversion through Christ extends not only to sinful people but also to calamitous events. 
<p>Imagine being born in the 14th century. One-third of the population and nearly 40 percent of the clergy were wiped out by the bubonic plague. The Western Schism split the Church with two or three claimants to the Holy See at one time. England and France were at war. The city-states of Italy were constantly in conflict. No wonder that gloom dominated the spirit of the culture and the times. </p><p>John Capistrano was born in 1386. His education was thorough. His talents and success were great. When he was 26 he was made governor of Perugia. Imprisoned after a battle against the Malatestas, he resolved to change his way of life completely. At the age of 30 he entered the Franciscan novitiate and was ordained a priest four years later. </p><p>His preaching attracted great throngs at a time of religious apathy and confusion. He and 12 Franciscan brethren were received in the countries of central Europe as angels of God. They were instrumental in reviving a dying faith and devotion. </p><p>The Franciscan Order itself was in turmoil over the interpretation and observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Through John’s tireless efforts and his expertise in law, the heretical Fraticelli were suppressed and the "Spirituals" were freed from interference in their stricter observance. </p><p>He helped bring about a reunion with the Greek and Armenian Churches, unfortunately only a brief arrangement. </p><p>When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, he was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary. He led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted. Worn out by his superhuman efforts, Capistrano was an easy prey to an infection after the battle. He died October 23, 1456.</p> American Catholic Blog When we are linked by the power of prayer, we as it were, hold each other’s hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in brotherly love. —St. Gregory the Great

 
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