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'New Moon,' 'Twilight,' Bella Swan, and me

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As many commenters have pointed out in posts both gentle and not so, my review of The Twilight Saga: New Moon is a mild one. Those who were frustrated were hungry for a sharper declaration, pro or con. Those who didn’t like my meh opinion — I think the movie is…okay — thought I was being too easy because, oh, I don’t know, there must be some EW-wide agreement to publish only fluffy things about Twilight! Twilight! Twilight! until everyone is sick to (un)death about the phenomenon.

So with the opening weekend hoopla over, I want to confess two things — the first being that New Moon was a particular challenge for me exactly because I felt so unusually mild about the product. (One thing I’m sure about: The movie is first and foremost a product, not an artistic enterprise.) Rarely have I seen a movie  so entirely, earnestly, carefully beholden to the book on which it’s based. And while Stephenie Meyer’s girl-and-vampire saga is a teen-romance doozy, I begin my analysis of the movie, naturally, by accepting the story.  So if Bella Swan is a bit of a high school outsider in the rainy town of Forks, and if Bella is madly in love (and lust) with a handsome vampire who abstains, and if, in the handsome vampire’s absence, a handsome werewolf  is also drawn to Bella’s moody, independent nature, well, then, what can I say except that the movie New Moon shows all that, plus the rain? I remember what it was like to be a moody teenage girl who had a crush on an impossible guy. I don’t, however, remember the impossible guy having sparkly skin or a taste for blood. Just cheeseburgers.

My second confession is this: I think, at least as I see her on screen, that Bella is kind of a drip. And not a very independent-minded chick at all. She may drive a funky pick-up truck, but she always looks dazed that she’s the owner of the vehicle. In fact, one of my EW colleagues, an editor with two Twilight-aged daughters herself, swears that every time Bella rode in the truck with Edward or Jacob, the guy was driving. Is this true?

I guess shift happens.

Photo Credit: Kimberley French