The Twilight Saga: New Moon
1. Which movie line brings the biggest lump to your throat?
- "I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
- "This is true love … you think this happens every day?"
- "I don't want my soul if it means I can't have you."
2. Which line leaves you most concerned for the mental well-being of the speaker?
- "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup."
- "You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here."
- "The pain is my only reminder that you were real."
3. Which line would you most want your daughter to head for the hills if a guy said it to her?
- "You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how."
- "Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."
- "You are my only reason for staying alive."
Those might not be the exact questions you would be asked on a Facebook quiz to discover which New Moon character you are, or whether you should have a "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" graphic on your wall. But if you recognized more of the (a) and (b) answers above than the (c) options, you're probably not in the target audience for New Moon.
There are other possible clues. Here is one that worked for me: My favorite moment in the film comes when Bella's friend Jessica is critiquing a zombie movie they had just seen. "What's the deal with zombie movies?" Jessica asks crossly. "Is it like a metaphor for consumerism or something? Get over your self-referential cleverness. Some girls just like to shop."
This pointed critique does not appear in the novel version by Stephenie Meyer, although the zombie movie is there, and Meyer does put a very different critique of the movie onto Bella's own lips: "I got nervous when the movie started," Bella narrates. "A young couple was walking along a beach, swinging hands and discussing their mutual affection with gooey falseness. I resisted the urge to cover my ears and start humming."
Gooey falseness, of course, is the Twilight Saga's whole raison d'être. "[T]he rapt, the intense, the swoony-devout; seldom a hint of gaity" was C. S. Lewis's disparaging description of distorted media images of sexuality (in his chapter on Eros in The Four Loves). It's also precisely what rabid fans of human-friendly vampire hunk Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and mortal chick Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) want from their story.
When Edward wants to know why Bella won't allow him to give her a birthday present, she responds, "Because I have nothing to give you in return." To which Edward's comeback is "Bella, you give me everything just by breathing." Everything Bella says to Edward amounts to Ah, Edward, you're too good and perfect for me; how unworthy I am of vampire love. And everything Edward says to Bella amounts to Ah, Bella, so pure and ethereal is my love for you that your mere existence is synonymous with my total good; I could neither wish for more, nor endure less.
Ultimately, Edward admits that he does want her blood, pretty badly sometimes, and yet he is adamant about not going there: not getting physical, not going all the way—even when Bella herself begins to pressure him. You can see why 14-year-old girls eat this stuff up. That the Edward Effect is no less potent for many of their mothers seems troublesome.