Sparkle-flesh vampires? A paucity of character development? Michael Sheen chewing scenery? Robert Pattinson giving zero fucks? Catherine Blake Smith and Sam Ro are back to talk about nothing less than Twilight: New Moon.
Catherine Blake Smith is the outgoing Artistic Director of Annex Theatre, curator of Spin the Bottle, and works in the exciting field of web design. Sam Ro is an artistic associate at Annex Theatre and an herbalist witch. Ask them for tea.
Hello. Did you miss us? Because we are back. Catherine Blake Smith and Sam Ro are here to remind you that 2009 was when the Great Recession was at its peak and Twi-hards were a thing. We were all future-less, at sea without a rudder, except that maybe we too could meet a 100-year-old sparkle-flesh vampire who would watch us while we sleep, just like Edward Cullen in New Moon.
(Just so you know, we did choose to consume alcohol and marijuana along with our smorgasbord of delicious snacks, which resulted in several incomplete sentences scribbled in notebooks. Also, somehow we seemed to pick another movie about relationship abuse and pedophilia?)
“The intention is so fucking pure in a weird way.” — KStew, on New Moon
The purity of New Moon is definitely up to debate and we’ve decided to scrutinize its sparkle-flesh in the sunshine of our drug-induced haze guided by the immortal words of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. To write this review, we combed through a handful of interviews and listicles to understand how our star-crossed leads felt about this movie.
The Whole Moral of the Story” — RPatz, because guess what? Bella wants to be a vampire.
The films begins with a quote from Shakespeare: “These violent delights have violent ends.” (Ummm so this movie’s actually not that violent by Hollywood standards and Westworld did it better.) Romeo & Juliet is an overused piece of “romance” but might it be the only Shakespeare a teenager or bored Mormon housewife would have read and actually remembered. Because romance, right? It’s romantic, ISN’T IT? Romeo & Juliet becomes the metaphor that enables Edward to trick Bella into a suicide pact in the middle of fourth-period English. Then he begrudgingly recites Shakespeare and has his British citizenship revoked. In a now-familiar display of emotional abuse, Edward tells Bella he wants to die but he’s fine now because “you’re my only reason to be alive.” Is there a hotline for vampires? This dude needs
H E L P. RUN BELLA!
But Bella won’t run, not ever, because she wants to die, too. We know this because the movie begins with several heavy-handed metaphors: a copy of Romeo & Juliet lies next to Bella while she sleeps, the movie’s title is “new moon” because it represents a cycle of beginnings and endings (it’s new, get it?), the movie begins with its ending, and we actually begin with Bella’s nightmarish dreamscape with a scene about a Grandma who shops exclusively at the Fred Meyer sale rack but isn’t standing on the other side of the Magic Meadow; she’s actually on the other side of a random mirror with her own version of Edward from the future or is it the present and he’s wishing her a happy birthday because the Grandma is actually Bella and Bella’s biggest fear is growing old! So she better become a vampire so she doesn’t do the worst thing ever, which is becoming old and dying!
On learning he had to be shirtless in the film: “So I just ate every bit of chocolate in the mini bar” — RPatz, Who Hates Everything About This
In 2009, this movie taught us that growing old is only worth it if you’re a sparkle-flesh vampire, but RPatz’s sparkle-flesh wasn’t up to snuff. You know whose was? Taylor Lautner, the possessor of Sudden Abs. Before Jacob even took off his shirt to dab at Bella’s forehead blood, we were Team Jacob, but only for a moment. We quickly converted to Team Jacob Deserters because Jacob sucks as much as Edward and Taylor Lautner was 17 years old when he made this movie.
Wanna know why New Moon was Robert Pattinson’s favorite book of the series? Because Edward’s not really in it except as a Fart Cloud with abs made of eyeshadow.
And Bella? She exhibited her physical prowess in the first movie.
“This seems like a nightmare” — RPatz, on Romance
In the Twilight universe, men don’t know when or where to have serious conversations. In honor of this fuckery, we’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of times that men (and sometimes Rosalie) don’t know when to shut the fuck up.
- Edward waits outside of Bella’s house after ghosting her and then walks her just far enough into the woods so that she can’t see her house anymore. And then breaks up with her.
- Jacob spends several weeks alone with Bella in his “garage” and then asks her out in front of his friends.
- Charlie (Bella’s hot dad and the most incompetent police officer in Forks but possibly the only police officer?) tells Bella that she has to move to Florida to live with her mother just as she is getting in her truck to leave for school. Isn’t she going to be late? Why not have this conversation when she doesn’t feel like she’s being fucking cornered into lying??
- Rosalie decides that the Cullen Family Vote to induct Bella into their sparkle-flesh cult that is happening in their foyer is the perfect time to bring up her own personal bullshit about not wanting to choose this life (plz stfu Rosalie this isn’t about you).
But Bella shows them all how it is done: she brings up that she doesn’t know how she and Edward will can date properly–surprise, you’re not actually dating, he’s just watching you while you sleep–at 8:30 am on the first day of school. What? Did you not send each other email over the summer? Call each other on the phone? Hang out?? Stare at each other in a meadow of flowers?? It’s 2009, not 1999!
“The pain was the only reminder that he was real.” — Bella, in one of the many emails that goes undelivered to Alice
Bella unwittingly made a suicide pact, remember? So naturally, she says something akin to “I can’t live without him” and mopes around in a three-month montage about the weather outside her bedroom window after Edward dumps her and abandons her in the woods. Edward left her so that he could “keep her safe” instead of talking to her like a person he is in a relationship with. Exhibit A of relationship abuse.
Exhibit B is Emily, aka “Wolf Girl” (oh you’re so clever, Bella), who was severely scarred because she happened to be standing too close to a wolf—who is now her fiancé, Sam—when he got angry one day. We observed that one of the unfortunate outcomes of Meyer’s exploitation of Indigenous communities for the sake of the Twilight franchise (there are several) is that the audience doesn’t actually get a chance to explore the reality of domestic violence in Indigenous communities or even determine why Meyer chose to include the subject matter in the first place. (Character development? I don’t know her.) And when do we even learn about Emily? When Jacob’s pack tell Bella “don’t stare, it bugs Sam” (emphasis ours because we only care about the shitty men in this series). And then we only learn the details about what happened to Emily through the lens of Jacob’s ego-centric twisted attempt to get into Bella’s pants.
Exhibit C: Edward and Jacob both suck. And not in the good way. Ultimately, Bella is presented with a false choice: “become a blood-sucking monster by marrying the patronizing, emotionally manipulative Edward or to risk her safety by choosing the patronizing, possibly physically violent Jacob.”
“Pretentious Dishevelment” — RPatz, on a tiny wire added to his collar
We’re not so full of hate that we disliked the WHOLE movie. Our favorite part was the costumes. We’ve got casual Fred Meyer chic, “Seattle” “gay” flannel, and CAPES. The motherfucking capes! Through our “research,” we learned that the hair extensions sucked, but we had to applaud the costume designer for helping Kristen Stewart out of the closet. (We can also attribute her coming out to getting to say lines like “I should be repulsed by you” to Edward. It’s because you are, and that’s okay.)
“Primal Part in Girls” — RPatzarilla
Oh, if only KStew had known when she was filming Twilight that she was gay because then we could have the love story we all deserve. We ship Bella and Alice. Sapphic undertones abound, and the only healthy relationship Bella has is with her “sister,” Alice. (Our next co-writing venture may be Bella/Alice fanfic and we’re okay with that.) Bella may send hundreds of emails to a disabled email address, but Alice doesn’t abandon her like Edward does in the woods and actually rescues her several times. Alice plans Bella’s birthday party, scoops her up in a stolen car and takes her to Italy, and even defends her in Vampire Court in Vampire City (more on our new favorite Metropolis later). But it’s not true love, because gay people don’t exist in the Twilight universe and heteronormative monogamous relationships are the only acceptable ones because this shit was written by a Mormon.
But in our Twilight universe, Edward Cullen dons his half-open, crimson robe on his first date with Aro, the old vampire who runs Vampire City with his squad: Dakota Fanning and two vampires we’ve dubbed Old Snape and Twi-Draco. Aro LURVES Edward, like, he’s obsessed with him. We stan Aro and support his obsession with Edward because the result is the only bit of quality dramatic acting in the whole franchise.
We’re sad to report that this series about sparkle-flesh vampires isn’t queer AF, not even a little bit, no matter how much we want it.
“ok boomer.” — The Youth
If you thought New Moon was about Bella’s existential choice to become a vampire (nope: she’s gonna do it) OR you thought it was about her relationship drama and she would have to choose between Jacob and Edward (wrong again: she chooses Edward from minute one) OR maybe you thought maybe this is movie is actually an eye-for-an-eye revenge drama because remember how the subplot is actually about Victoria? (Don’t worry: we all forgot about her, including the casting directors.) Nope, you’re wrong! This movie is about old ways versus new ways, and the best part (aside from the costumes) is Vampire City!
In another essay, we would write exactly 1,000 words about Vampire City because it is fascinating. It’s in Italy. There are capes. People come here. Like, as tourists. In their capes. Do they purchase them at the Gift Shop™? Are they handed out at the gate? Do they only wear the red capes to celebrate? What are they celebrating? If they hope vampires are real, are they really going to be surprised when their milling about is interrupted by some no-longer-as-sparkly Eyeshadow Abs? We’ll never know, because Stephenie Meyer hates us and doesn’t want us to climax. Ever. (“Bella, I don’t. Want. You to Come.” —Break-up Edward.) No one will ever understand the governance or mechanics of Vampire City, including the part when a whole group of unsuspecting boomers are shuffled into a secret room to die. (Is that part of the Deluxe Travel Package?)
Closing Thoughts of Catherine and Sam, Who Are Still In Denial About Being Twi-Hards:
- Domestic abuse fucking sucks.
- The soundtrack is pretty fucking good.
- Four montages is not enough montages.
- This movie would have been better if it were more gay.
If anything, our Twi-hard tendencies have merely shifted to stanning Robert Pattinson’s relationship with the franchise.
“I really, really, really, really wish I could go back and do that movie again. I would just be better.” — KStew, oh you.
Yes, Kristen, we believe you. You would be better. We can just also guarantee that Stephenie Meyer wouldn’t be.
— Catherine Blake Smith & Sam Ro