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Warning: If you plan on attending this movie, and do want to feel some aspect of pity and/or adulation towards Bella, do not read this article. It contains spoilers and might cause you to suffer a severe case of disillusionment.
I must admit that when I saw New Moon, I was disappointed. Not because of the unimpressive plot -- that was expected -- but because the extreme sentimentality and depression from which Bella suffers throughout the entire novel, transforming a potentially unique movie into an exaggerated, ridiculous love story.
This all-new addition to the Twilight series features an overdramatic, histrionic plot, a poor, lost damsel in distress, two fretful parents, two strapping knights in shining armor (or rather, glittery skin and fur), and, in addition to these two, countless others who are in awe, including a best friend's former boyfriend. Put them all together and you get NEW MOON, complete with a happily-ever-after ending.
Thankfully, New Moon is not nearly as misogynistic as its predecessor, Twilight, in which the majority of females are portrayed as emotionally weak, flat characters. In contrast to Twilight, there are a few strong female characters who equal the males' strength. The development of Alice, Edward Cullen's sister, is impressive, and she becomes a figure on whom her family and Bella can rely. Alice, the woman who truly understands both aspects of Edward and Bella's relationship, relays messages between the two, and is able to explain the tangled thoughts and emotions that neither of them can comprehend.
Victoria, a malicious vampire, returns as well to play a larger part, vindictively acting to avenge her dead mate, James. While she played a minor role in Twilight, that of James' right hand, always in his shadow, in New Moon she is cast in a slightly more active role, emerging as a powerful, dangerous threat to all of Forks.
Rosalie, Edward's other sister, also evolves, transforming from an angry, hostile character into a woman with bottled bitterness who strongly regrets her transformation into a vampire. While in Twilight she was little more than a moody character, she becomes a deep, thoughtful woman who truly understands the real consequences of becoming a vampire and losing the ability to fit in with society. Rosalie is the only one of the vampires who is not portrayed as having a perfect life as a vampire, and who has given much thought to her transformation. To her, Bella's choice is ridiculous, as she is losing almost everything in life worth living. Yet Bella dismisses this thoughtful argument in her obsession with Edward. She dispenses with any potential goals and a life in which she can truly be free, and instead shackles herself to an immortal lifetime of insatiable hunger, appeased only by the love of Edward. To her, that is enough.
Bella herself is one of the only characters who hardly develops, and in fact, becomes even more one-dimensional than in Twilight. Without Edward, she cannot eat, talk, or think, and merely sits silently in her room, mourning in lovesick grief. While before she was love-struck and melodramatic, eagerly scoping her classmates, now she is a sullen, sulky teenager, prone to long lapses of silence. How in this stage she is still capable of attracting the attention of handsome boys such as Jacob is beyond me. And, evidently, beyond the capabilities of the majority of her classmates, who gawk in wide-eyed wonder.
Admittedly, Stewart, the actress who plays Bella, plays her part of a soap opera-like character, a pathetic damsel in distress, quite well. Robert Pattinson, however, portrays his character completely devoid of emotion. He should stick to Harry Potter; his tattered hair and rather disturbing eyes were not quite as pronounced there. Or instead, he could perhaps consider buying a comb. Either works.
Furthermore, New Moon has terrific graphics; perhaps the one that caught my eye the most was in the first scene, when Edward sparkles. The wolves, too, appeared realistic; the producers' ability to portray emotion in their faces was admirable.
New Moon, however, has a rather banal and obvious plot in which Bella, once again, becomes involved in numerous mishaps only she can pull off, and requires being saved by a strong man. For example, after Edward breaks up with Bella and leaves her standing at the edge of the forest, in sight of her house which is still two yards away, she wanders off in completely the opposite direction. That truly takes skills. It requires a large search to find her, as well as yet again a shirtless, muscled, strapping young man who carries her through the forest. Huh? Another man entering the movie? I would never have guessed.
While in Twilight Bella puts her life in danger to be with Edward, here, she even more absurdly does so to be with a hallucination of him. She undertakes extremely insane, dangerous activities, such as riding the back of a random stranger's motorcycle, to hear Edward's voice in an odd delusion. She later jumps off a prodigious cliff into a river while wearing her clothing, throwing away not only her common sense but nearly also losing her life through warped, melodramatic actions.
The plot of New Moon bears striking similarities to that of Twilight. Yet again, Bella is saved from her misery by a strapping, magical young man, with whom she gallivants off on adventures, before falling into extreme danger and requiring being heroically saved. Although this time Jacob is a shape shifter-werewolf and not a vampire, he is still remarkably similar to Edward. Both supposedly thoughtful, and most certainly handsome, the two boys immediately attract our heroine's mournful eyes.
In the meantime, Edward mistakenly hears that Bella is dead, and plans to kill himself in response. Of course, Edward cannot die; what would the millions of obsessed girls do without him? Why, like Bella, sit in their rooms for months doing nothing, of course. Bella heroically saves his life, finally committing a brave, valiant action of her own, at long last emerging from her depressive stupor.
A long, melodramatic ending ensues. They plan a marriage and to convert Bella into a vampire, and fall into a beautiful kiss. Here is your cue to faint in envy. I think a few of the people in the audience actually did.
The audience can only hope that Eclipse, coming out on June 30th, will give a fresh face to the Twilight Saga characters, finally allowing them to evolve from their obsessive, unhealthy passion to a mature, understanding relationship and create a unique and interesting perspective on the modern vampire.