Be warned, a new vampire movie is opening this weekend. New Moon is a movie based on the second book in the Twilight series. Christians can be uncomfortable with these themes, though to clarify, there are no demonic elements in the stories. But in my opinion, focusing on the evil of fairly benign vampires completely overlooks more dangerous themes for teen girls. The vampires just aren’t the biggest problem.
If you’re not familiar, the Twilight series is based around Bella, a teenage girl who meets up with a family of friendly vampires, and falls in love with Edward. When I read Twilight, the first book, it was easy to see why girls (of all ages) got hooked. Imagine the two key characters:
1. You: clumsy, bungling, moody 17-year-old. Him: Coolest guy in the entire school. And he wants you. Not only that, but as a vampire lusting after your blood, he wants you bad.
2. Yet Edward creates boundaries: he must never lose control. He holds Bella, kisses, touches, even snuggles with her while she sleeps. All without “losing control.” This is way better than all that messy, complicated sex stuff.
All in all, Edward is perfect. The word “flawless” is used repeatedly to describe him. Bella, on the other hand, is almost cripplingly clumsy. She’s repeatedly described as barely functional, breathless, faint, and dizzy. Edward frequently has to carry her because she’s weak, and often holds her in his lap. Is this a role model you want for your daughter?
But beyond that, Bella is selfish. Admittedly selfish. And despite being contrarily opposed to gifts, remains almost obsessively focused on physical and material things. One insightful review points out the hypocrisy this way:
“Bella’s compulsive observation of the Cullens’ beauty and their beautiful things does not come to seem a metaphor for spiritual superiority but a conflation of material wealth, physical beauty, and moral elevation. While the books suppose to be about a perfect, otherworldly love (this love could be metaphor: it certainly doesn’t exist in the real world), the material intrudes constantly (cars, money, clothes), suggesting that beauty and money and blessedness and happiness are all one, confused and interchangeable.”
Ultimately, (Spoiler Alert!) Bella gives up everything unique to herself; her family, her future, her very life… for a man. Good grief, what year is this?
To be fair, Edward models a more mature love in his attempts to preserve the value of Bella’s soul. Other positive themes are clarified in this Christian-focused outline of the pros and cons of the books. You might not want your children to accept vampires. But you also might not want them to accept the other stuff, either.