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Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Twilight Saga: New Moon, The (3/20/2010)


Rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality.

Directed by Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass)

Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner


Jonathan's Rating: Only if Free

Todd's Rating: Skip it

In the second installment of Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenally successful TWILIGHT series, the romance between mortal and vampire soars to a new level as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) delves deeper into the mysteries of the supernatural world she yearns to become part of-only to find herself in greater peril than ever before.

Following Bella’s ill-fated 18th birthday party, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his family abandon the town of Forks, Washington, in an effort to protect her from the dangers inherent in their world. As the heartbroken Bella sleepwalks through her senior year of high school, numb and alone, she discovers Edward’s image comes to her whenever she puts herself in jeopardy. Her desire to be with him at any cost leads her to take greater and greater risks.

With the help of her childhood friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Bella refurbishes an old motorbike to carry her on her adventures. Bella’s frozen heart is gradually thawed by her budding relationship with Jacob, a member of the mysterious Quileute tribe, who has a supernatural secret of his own.

When a chance encounter brings Bella face to face with a former nemesis, only the intervention of a pack of supernaturally large wolves saves her from a grisly fate, and the encounter makes it frighteningly clear that Bella is still in grave danger. In a race against the clock, Bella learns the secret of the Quileutes and Edward’s true motivation for leaving her. She also faces the prospect of a potentially deadly reunion with her beloved that is a far cry from the one she’d hoped for.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Like it or not, this series is becoming epic in the world of today’s teenagers. Twilight's sequel The New Moon proved to not only be THE pop culture phenomenon of the year, but the biggest opening weekend of the year, grossing 72.7 million on it's opening day alone (beating out Dark Knight), and raking in 140 million in the opening weekend.

TODD’S WORD: Pssst

JONATHAN’S WORD: Not impressed?

TODD’S WORD: No, just mad that it beat The Dark Knight.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yeah I know. It's soooooo hard to approach this film unbiased. Twilight fans are so emotionally invested in the characters of the saga that they are borderline obsessive. Combine that with what we already knew going into the film about the "self-destructive" messages present in the story... it's hard to know how objective I can be.
But here goes…

Bella really needs to get a life!

TODD’S WORD: Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?

JONATHAN’S WORD: Seriously, it's really hard to watch this girl. Yes, I know that girls feel emotions. Yes, I know that it's difficult when someone breaks up with you. But Bella's emotions are on steroids. The film offers several scenes where we see Bella anguishing over her loss...my wife didn't make that much noise having my children!

TODD’S WORD: You are so right…well about Bella, I wasn’t around when your wife was giving birth.

For me watching Bella screaming and rolling around on her bed had the exact opposite reaction the film makers wanted me to feel. I found it so ridiculous I actually stopped feeling sorry for her and started rolling me eyes. Thoughts like “get over it” were racing through my mind.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I don’t think we’re just being insensitive males here. I think a lot of adults (well, a lot of adults who don’t frequent harlequin romance novels) would agree.

TODD’S WORD: No doubt.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Then there is her self-destructive behavior. It was probably even more prevalent than we predicted in our Youth Culture Window article we wrote about the film. I'm surprised she didn't just pull up her sleeves and start cutting away.

Here's some of her lines I jotted down during the film:
    "You're my only reason to stay alive."

    "My pain was my only reminder that he was real."

    "I'm not a car that you can fix up. I'm never gonna run right."
TODD’S WORD: Hey FYI…that’s really annoying when you pull out your phone to take notes during a movie.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Almost as annoying as you eating all the popcorn??

TODD’S WORD: Ummmm…

JONATHAN’S WORD: That’s what I thought.

TODD’S WORD: O.K. getting back to those lines…I have to agree with you. I literally felt my stomach tighten during many of those lines thinking about all those girls who idolize Bella. Is this how young Twilight fans will process breakups? Is this how they will react when things don’t go their way?

JONATHAN’S WORD: Well it doesn’t end there, in one scene Bella takes off with a stranger on the back of a motorcycle (with no helmet). When she comes back, her friend says, "You're insane! Suicidal!' Bella simply replied. "That was such a rush." And her self-destructive behavior gets worse as the film continues.

TODD’S WORD: And the reason why it does is because every time she is about to do something dangerous, she sees Edward in this ghost like form. So…more danger…more Edward. Again for me this was so ridiculous I actually got a headache rolling my eyes so much.

JONATHAN’S WORD: At the end Edward, thinking that Bella is dead, wants to commit suicide too.

TODD’S WORD: Please don’t say that was like Romeo and Juliet…

JONATHAN’S WORD: Yes, we saw similar attitudes from Romeo and Juliet. But New Moon preaches it in a language that young girls understand fluently.

TODD’S WORD: Are you saying young girls speak “cheesy” fluently?

JONATHAN’S WORD: That’s one way to put it. Add to that the fact that Bella gets in a love triangle between Jacob and Edward, allowing herself to be so emotionally tied to each, that it's unfair to both guys. The film doesn't seem to present any problem with this kind of two-timing behavior. It's hard to imagine what young people are learning about love and relationships from films like this.

TODD’S WORD: Yeah I have to admit I got pretty frustrated with Jacob’s pathetic chasing of Bella. I just wanted to yell at the screen, “Dude, she’s just not that into you!”

JONATHAN’S WORD: Exactly. Finally, Bella and Edward discuss the possibility of losing their soul when becoming a vampire. Bella quickly dismisses the reality, finally resolving that it's a sacrifice she's willing to take. Again...no big deal...according to the filmmakers.

TODD’S WORD: Yeah, her line about how his soul could never be damned because he’s too nice or cute or whatever…should be a concern for parents and youth workers.

My final word is simply Skip it. This film is so over the top from terrible messages to young girls to the dumb staring contest between Bella and Edward. It was a huge disappointment.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Again, this film is a hard movie for me to come to unbiased. Do I think our teenagers should go see this movie and idolize the characters? Absolutely not. But was the film enjoyable? Bella aside, I enjoyed the film. I just couldn’t get past the “emo,” self-destructive Bella. That made a decent film barely worth watching. I’ll give it a “Only If It’s Free.”

For kids… it’s a Skip It, all the way.


SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
Bella is a terrible role model. As entertaining as the film was at times...Bella was a turd in the custard.

Parents, I don't recommend you letting your tweens or teens watch this without you. I'll be so bold to say, SKIP IT. The film is completely clean and deemed "okay" by many. Don't let the lack of sex or language fool you. The negative imitatable behavior from this film is at an all time high.


Side Note:
As said above, we don't recommend your kids see this film. But on the occasion that they actually have already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?


  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?


  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?




Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.



Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.



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