May 31, 2010
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) (part 6 of 6)
They enter the throne room, which is a pretty cool and atmospheric set. Aro steps down from his throne, hair extensions and all, and creepily grins at the fact that Bella is still alive. He takes Edward’s hand, and starts sensing his thoughts, talking about how much Edward wants Bella’s blood, and asking how he stops himself from drinking it.
Edward says it’s not easy, which gets a laugh from Aro. Michael Sheen is playing the courtly bad guy, shall we say, above and beyond the call of duty here. I think he’s just happy to not be playing Tony Blair for a change.
Edward explains to Bella that Aro can read every thought a person’s ever had just by touching them. He tells Aro that he knows the truth now, so he may as well get on with it.
Aro, still amused, remarks on the fact that Edward can’t read Bella’s mind. This gets him curious, so he decides to see if he can do it, and asks Bella’s permission. She takes his hand, and the other two Volturi watch as he has a go at probing her mind.
Sure enough, it doesn’t work. Looking taken aback, Aro tells her he probed her mind and saw “nothing”.
Hmm, shall I make the easy, obvious joke?
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Aro wonders aloud if Bella is also immune to everyone else’s special vampire powers. Dakota is curious about this too, but Edward doesn’t like this idea much. He runs forward, snarling at her not to dare, but this turns out to be a bad move. Dakota just looks at him and calmly says, “Pain.”
Yes, Dakota’s special power is that she can cause excruciating pain, and I believe that’s also her character’s power as well. Sure enough, Edward comes to a stop, groaning and convulsing while Dakota smiles at him. He collapses, and Bella screams at Dakota to stop. Aro steps in, and she finally does stop. But now it’s Bella’s turn.
Dakota turns to Bella, still smiling, and warns her that she’s gonna get it now! Bella glares back, and after a few moments, it becomes obvious that nothing’s happening.
Aro cracks up laughing. He wonders what they’re going to do with Bella now. The other two Volturi, obviously bored, monotone that Bella knows too much and must be killed. Aro gets to the point, and nods at one of the guards to get to it.
Edward leaps up to defend Bella, and a blur-effect, teleporting, slow-mo fight ensues. Edward gets knocked down hard by the burly guard, and actually develops a crack across his cheek, like he’s made from stone. I don’t know if that’s in the book, but I guess it fits in with the vampires-are-living-stone thing.
Edward puts up a decent fight, but ultimately gets his sparkly ass handed to him, and the guard gets him down on the floor and grabs his head, ready to twist it off. So Bella takes this as her cue to rush forward, screaming at him not to do it.
Aro calls a halt to the fight, and Bella pleads with him to kill her instead. This gets Aro’s attention, and he asks if she’d really give up her own life for the sake of a soulless vampire. Bella tells Aro that he knows nothing about Edward’s soul.
Aro looks at Edward, and says it’s too bad he has no intention of vampirising Bella, as he prepares to munch down on her instead. But then Alice intervenes. She tells him that Bella will indeed be a vampire one day; she’s seen it in her visions, and she knows that she’ll be the one to do the biting herself.
Aro touches Alice to verify that she’s telling the truth, and we see Alice’s vision. Hilariously, it’s a scene of Bella and Edward dressed up like Hansel and Gretel, prancing through the forest together with both of them all a-sparkle.
Aro is satisfied with this, and lets them go. The other two Volturi advise them to go home and get to the biting, pronto.
Our heroes leave, and run into another vampire leading a bunch of tourists into the throne room. At least thirty of them, in fact. Almost as soon as they’re out of sight, some unpleasant screaming starts. Yeah, like nobody’s gonna notice whole tour groups just disappearing like that.
Needless to say, in the subsequent scene, Bella has a nightmare. She wakes up back at home in her own bed, and Edward’s there. Watching her sleep again. Ah, just like old times. It’s as if he never stopped stalking her!
He tells her that he left in order to protect her, and he wanted her to have a chance at a normal life. But it was the hardest thing he’s done in a hundred years. He swears never to fail her again, and apologises.
He hides when Charlie comes in. Charlie gives Bella a very mild telling off, and half-heartedly grounds her for life. Yeah, you sure put her in her place, Dad! Wuss.
Once he’s gone, Edward reappears, apologising some more and whimpering about how he doesn’t know how to live without her. Bella, triumphant, tells him that when she’s a vampire, he won’t be able to get rid of her.
Edward says they don’t have to make her a vampire; they can just trick the Volturi. But oh no, screw that, Bella didn’t wait an entire movie just to be told no again!
They head to the Cullen residence, where the vampires gather in their respective couples, and Bella makes a speech about how she wants to become a vampire. She suggests that they vote on it. Edward, hanging around in the background, mumbles an objection, but Bella actually turns around and tells him to shut it. Hah! Come on, do it again!
They go ahead with the vote. Alice votes yes, and so does Jasper, because he thinks it’d be nice not to want to kill her all the time. What a creepy thing to say. Sheesh.
Rosalie, apologising for how mean she’s been, thanks Bella for saving Edward. But she confesses that she doesn’t really like being a vampire, and therefore she votes no. Emmett, however, votes yes, and so does Esme.
Carlisle is last, but before he votes, Edward asks why they’re doing this to him, sounding like an angsty teenager. He says they know what this will mean. But Carlisle votes yes anyway. And so, it’s settled.
The next day, Edward drives Bella down a winding road. She says that she’ll wait until after graduation to become a vampire, so as to make things easier on Charlie. Which makes no sense whatsoever. Also, why would you want to be perpetually 18? At least wait until you’re 21 and you can easily buy booze for the rest of eternity.
Naturally, Bella wants Edward to be the one to bite her. Before Edward can give a probably surly reply, he sees someone standing in the middle of the road and screeches to a stop. It’s Jacob. He’s shirtless, and he’s pissed off. I know. That’s so unlike him.
Having gotten Edward’s attention, he runs off into the woods. Edward, reading his mind, knows he wants to talk, and follows.
They confront each other among the trees, with Bella standing by. Jacob, of course, is hostile toward Edward, but Edward is mature enough to sincerely thank him for protecting Bella where he himself failed. But Jacob throws it back in his face, saying he didn’t protect Bella for Edward’s sake. Edward just tells him that he’s back, and he won’t leave Bella again unless she asks him to.
And now it’s Jacob’s turn to talk. He reminds Edward of something important: it’s a condition of the treaty between the werewolves and the Cullens that the Cullens aren’t allowed to bite a human. If they do, the treaty is over. Which could mean war!
Bella speaks up, saying it doesn’t count if she consents. But Jacob won’t hear it. He very nearly orders her not to become a vampire, because if she does, then he’ll be forced to fight her. Bella turns to Edward, asking him to read Jacob’s mind and find out if he will in fact hurt her. Edward says nothing.
Bella goes to Jacob and tells him that she loves him, and asks him not to make her choose, because she’ll choose Edward. And you know what’s funny about that? She’s just done to him what Edward did to her, in these very woods. Guess she didn’t learn much in all this time. And even now, she still doesn’t have the decency to just tell Jacob no and get it over with. Y’know what, forget what I said earlier. She’s a bitch and a twit.
Edward steps in, but Jacob loses his temper and tries to shove him away. Edward shoves back, so Jacob transforms into a wolf. Edward hustles Bella away, but Jacob-Wolf charges at them. Bella leaps between them and yells at them not to fight, because they’ll have to hurt her if they do.
Jacob-Wolf backs down, and we see her reflected in his eye again. Defeated, he literally turns tail and runs away, broken-hearted.
Once he’s gone, Edward quietly says that Bella should wait a little longer to become a vampire, say five years. Bella says that’s too long.
Three years, then, he suggests. She wants to know what he’s waiting for. He says he has one condition. If she wants him to vampify her, then she has to marry him.
Hmph. Not much of an ending, was it?
So that’s New Moon. A story about a passive, bitchy idiot being fought over by an emotionally distant dickwad and a hormonal dope with a violent temper. But I still admit that out of all the characters, Jacob is easily the most sympathetic. Which just makes me frustrated, partly because he’s moping over a girl who’s not worth it, and partly because I know full well what eventually happens to him, and it’s completely cringe-inducing.
Then, of course, there’s the movie’s glorification of suicide, and the unpleasant undertones suggesting that it’s okay for a guy to slash his girlfriend’s face when he gets cranky, and it’s also okay to go jump off a cliff because your boyfriend left you.
I don’t seriously think that anyone would ever take the stuff in the Twilight movies as life lessons, and if they do, then they have bigger problems than what this movie might teach them. But it still makes watching this thing an uncomfortable experience.
As for the claims of misogyny, what with the hapless protagonist who always needs rescuing by some guy, that’s a trickier claim to work at. Sure, Bella’s a weak-as-piss female character, but the series has plenty of non-wimpy female characters, so it’s not like this movie is saying all women are useless—just the protagonist.
But for many of the relationships in the movie, we see a woman who’s always in some way controlled by the man. Emily, happily making out with the guy who tore half her face off. Bella, caught between two love interests, both of whom threaten her with violence, and one of whom threatens suicide.
But with all that said, it’s still possible to read a kind of glorification into Bella’s portrayal as well, or at the very least wish fulfilment. Be honest, girls: Deep down, don’t you get a bit of a thrill at the idea of having two totally hot guys who would die for you? What about you, guys? Don’t you at least enjoy the thought of two totally hot girls both fighting for your attentions? Possibly with each other, while wearing bikinis in a vat of Jell-O?
And really, doesn’t everyone sort of like the idea of having a powerful champion who would defend them to the death? Wouldn’t that make you feel special and important? That’s why Bella is a wish fulfilment character, and it has nothing to do with her nonexistent personality.
As for wishes, is it my desire to be back to take a bite out of Eclipse? Maybe. We’ll see. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this. It’s been fun.