Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeing New Moon

It's November, and that means it's Twilight time! The breathlessly-awaited Part Deux, New Moon, came out today; I saw it with my oldest kid at 12:30 in the morning, all the midnight showings at our local theater being sold out.

So I'm tired. But here's the thing: I'd see it again this minute if I could, and not just because I find Robert Pattinson to be what the fangirlz call "a hot mess." (Though I do.) I went in Team Edward; I remain Team Edward, but only because it's fantasy, where it costs nothing to say, "You love who you love": in reality, who couldn't see that Jacob is better for Bella? Even my son was whispering that undeniable truth to me at almost three in the morning. I'd see it again for the same reason that I saw Twilight as many times as I could get to a theater, then squee'ed like those fangirlz again when my children got me the DVD for Christmas: because there's nothing like an utterly unreal romance.

The premise, set up by Stephenie Meyers, is perfect: vampires live forever, or near enough, because they simply no longer change physically; similarly, they change mentally or emotionally only with great difficulty, and any change of that sort that they undergo is for all intents and purposes permanent. So when Edward, a 109-year-old vampire, falls in love - for whatever reason! though I appreciate the bootlegged Midnight Sun's Edward-voiced explanation, on which maybe more later - with human Bella, it's a true endless love. And Bella, who's set up in the books more effectively than in the movies as a sort of vampire-lite even as a human - pale though she's grown up in Phoenix, standoffish, super-constant, readily accepting of the vampires' world - reciprocates that love in every measure including its permanence.

Of course, anyone who fell in love at seventeen knows that the love of a seventeen-year-old is like an old-fashioned sparkler: white-hot and exciting, quickly fading, and suddenly gone. Some few seventeen-year-olds find that their loves evolve into something deeper and longer-lasting; a couple of friends of mine who started dating at that age are happily and solidly married now, twenty years later, on that account. But the dastardly appeal of Edward and Bella's romance is that the white-hot excitement never has to fade. And who, as they put yet another load of laundry into the washing machine and read yet another story to the children who have resulted from a different species of love, wouldn't want to believe in that possibility?

My favorite moments: the collective gasp through the theater when cute little TOTALLY hunky (and recently legal) Taylor Lautner gratuitously whips off his shirt to stanch Bella's bleeding head wound; even though we'd all seen bazillions of pictures of Lautner's buffing-up, it was jolly good fun to see it all together with our (mostly) commadres on the big screen. The latter third of the movie, wherein they finally let Edward ditch the red lipstick and look absolutely haggard and awful in his grief. And, even though it didn't have the *whoo-ee* of the first kiss in Twilight, the few kisses in New Moon focused less on Edward's giddy triumph at managing to kiss Bella without killing her and more on his pain and difficulty in kissing her; one kiss in particular, I can't recall which, stood out because he gives a little whimper at the end. And I'd be lying if I said that the scene in which Edward leaves Bella in the woods, when he's trying to convince her that he's leaving because he doesn't want her any more rather than because he's desperately afraid that he'll end up either killing her or not being able to protect her from his own family, didn't make me turn cold all over.

Pattinson was, I thought, spot-on as a man with no more will to live, and then, finally, after Edward and Bella's reunion, a man who's decided to live again but is terrified of the price; I've seen some reviews call him wooden or mopey, and I disagree wholeheartedly. He struck me as hopeless, which is exactly what Edward's supposed to be. Stewart's sometimes near-suicidal, sometimes inappropriate-affect Bella is harder for me to feel sorry for - probably because I actually was an eighteen-year-old human girl in love with the wrong guy once, and I lived not only to tell the tale, but to love the right guy and build a life with him. And so we get to Lautner: the right guy. He did a fantastic job making me, die-hard Team Edward as I am, wish that there were some Star Trek-esque alternative reality scenario in which he gets the girl. I bled for him in a way that I couldn't for Bella or Edward - who, after all, were going to end up together; all poor Jacob gets, in the end, is an awkward imprinting on Bella and Edward's baby daughter, a way to heal a mythic breach but hardly more than a consolation prize for a guy whose devotion never flagged.

Wonder when I can get away to see it again...

No comments: