Why 'New Moon' Doesn't Suck

Last Friday, my 10-year-old daughter had to see New Moon. She had that passion visible in photos of girls at The Beatles’ concerts in the early ‘60s, that pop-culture hysteria that sends young women into a frenzy that rises to squeals and verges on speaking in tongues.

With a daughter who sleeps beneath dueling posters of Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (vampire Edward and werewolf Jacob), seeing New Moon was nearly inevitable. But, from a parenting perspective, does it fly?

Yes is the answer for parents of tweens and teens. New Moon is about as tame as a vampire-werewolf-teen coming-of-age movie can be. My biggest gripe is that it’s two hours and ten minutes, but that’s just the mother in me talking, not the girl savoring every single minute and wanting the experience to continue without end.

First of all, there are no surprises, as my daughter has read all the books. It’s a pleasure to see a kid lost in a book, occasionally pausing to say: “Mom, I’m on page 347,” or “I just read fifty more pages.” Whatever criticism you might have of Stephenie Meyer’s prose, she can write a page-turner. So, like a tween clairvoyant, or the chic vampire Alice (Ashley Greene), my daughter knows everything that’s going to happen to these characters, mortal or not .

As for sexuality, New Moon is more chaste than Franco Zefferelli’s 1968 classic teen tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. I saw that when I was 9 and it was my favorite movie until Harold and Maude. That Shakespeare adaptation had a bit of shocking, though gorgeous, nudity; and the couple bedded each other until the lark called. Later, they committed double suicide. Not so pretty!

Given that over forty years have passed, New Moon is surprisingly tame. It’s all about the tension of the first kiss and boys removing their shirts to reveal articulated six-packs. (Does my daughter really prefer Lautner because he’s hairless, while Pattinson has “fuzz?”) What’s interesting here is that the cinematographer photographs the boys as sex objects, while Kristen Stewart’s heroine Bella is never more exposed than a girl in a shampoo ad.

The onscreen violence is less harsh than in Twilight. In one scene, Bella visits Edward’s family on her birthday. She cuts her finger and the blood droplet is too tantalizing for one of Edward’s “brothers.” The damage comes when Edward knocks Bella out of the way and she rips open her arm. I turned away when Edward’s father the doctor sewed her up. I hate needles!

The worst violence happens off camera. Vampires disguised as tour guides lead a group of tourists, including skipping children, to their deaths among a high-ranking vampire tribunal (a catered affair, apparently). The audience can briefly hear the victims’ screams. But it’s not sensationalized and a key point is made: Vampires feed on humans! This is the life that Bella would choose if Edward makes her a vampire, and both she and the audience need to know the consequences of her actions.

This week, millions and millions of tweens will be discussing New Moon around the drinking fountain (do schools still have drinking fountains?) -- and there’s no reason to keep your kids from being in the know. Still, can you handle their squeals?

You told us! See our slideshow of the New Moon scenes iVillage readers couldn’t wait to see!

Will you take your kids to see New Moon -- why or why not? Chime in below!

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