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Twilight: Eclipse

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Note: Since more people watch movies than read Nietzsche and Spengler, I have vowed to write a weekly movie review. Hold me to it, dear reader. Nag me if necessary. And send me your requests and recommendations.

Twilight: Eclipse is the third movie based on Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenally popular four volume Twilight Saga. I reviewed the first two movies, Twilight (here) and New Moon (here), and I was gratified to be contacted by several readers for my opinion of Eclipse.

First, some background.

In Twilight, Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart), the protagonist with whom millions of primarily white teenage girls identity, comes to live with her father in Forks, Washington, one of the rainiest places in the United States. She is a Junior in High School. There she meets the handsome and mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who turns out to be a vampire.

Edward is in love with Bella, but it requires all of his superhuman strength and old-fashioned chivalry to restrain his desire to eat her. Bella loves Edward as well, and she is undeterred by his strength and dangerousness. Truth be told, it is part of his attraction. After some harrowing adventures, in which Edward saves Bella’s life, Bella asks Edward to make her a vampire too, so they can be together forever.

In the second movie, New Moon, a love triangle develops. Edward leaves Bella because he does not wish to make her a vampire and wishes to protect her from the inevitable dangers of associating with his kind. Heartbroken, Bella begins spending time with Jacob Black, an American Indian from the vicinity whom she knew from childhood. Jacob begins to fall in love with Bella, but she can think only of Edward. Oh, and Jacob turns out to be a werewolf. After some harrowing adventures, in which Bella saves Edward’s life, the two are reunited. Edward says he will grant Bella’s request to become a vampire, but on one condition: that she marry him.

In the third movie, Eclipse, the rivalry between Jacob and Edward is turned into a partnership as more harrowing adventures unfold, Jacob withdraws from pursuing Bella, and Bella accepts Edward’s proposal of marriage. That’s all I’ll say about the plot.

It is not hard to explain the popularity of these novels. The premise is imaginative and the stories are well-constructed. Unfortunately, the novels are executed in an excruciatingly padded and pedestrian manner, so it is best to just see the movies.

What is remarkable about the Twilight Saga is just how downright traditional and conservative it is. Advocates of feminism and sexual liberation hate it, and for good reason.

In my earlier reviews, I stated that I liked the Twilight movies for three reasons.

(1) Edward and Bella are remarkably mature, cultured, articulate, and well-mannered teenagers. Edward, of course, has been a teenager for a very long time. But Bella has not. The Twilight Saga teaches young people that being well-mannered and well-spoken and developing a taste for European high culture, is not incompatible with being young, attractive, and fun.

(2) The Twilight movies promote the aesthetic appreciation of whiteness, since both Bella and the vampires have very pale complexions, which heighten our awareness of the beauty and expressiveness of white features. This effect was strongest in the first Twilight movie directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The second movie, directed by Chris Weitz, and the present film, directed by David Slade, somewhat undermine this effect by giving the vampires a creepy, corpse-like pallor.

(3) Most importantly, the Twilight movies are anti-feminist, emphasizing traditional male and female roles. They are a return to an older form of literature combining chivalry and Gothic horror.

Edward Cullen and Jacob Black are not the silly, non-threatening, emasculated boys of contemporary fiction. They are powerful and dangerous. This power allows them to protect Bella from others, and their chivalry protects her from them.

Bella is not a “strong woman” in the ass-kicking, ball-busting feminist sense. She is fragile, uncoordinated, and frequently in need of rescuing. But she is strong in ways that feminists know nothing about: men will live and die and kill for her, simply because they love her and cannot live without her. When she saves Edward’s life in New Moon, it is not by feats of strength. It is simply by showing him that she, the one he can’t live without, is still alive.

Eclipse, however, revealed to me a whole new traditional dimension of the Twilight books, for the core of this movie is a defense of marriage and a critique of pre-marital sex. Bella echoes the popular culture’s attitudes against marriage, particularly against getting married young. But Edward patiently overturns these objections one by one. Moreover, I now see that in the first two books, Bella’s desire to become a vampire functions symbolically as a desire for her first sexual experience, and Edward’s initial refusal, and then his consent on the condition of marriage, is a rejection of pre-marital sex and defense of virginity.

In Eclipse, this all becomes quite explicit. When Bella’s Baby Boomer father tells her that he hopes that she and Edward are using birth control, her flustered and indignant reply is that she is a virgin. Clearly, she wishes that it went without saying. Kids today! Elsewhere in the movie, Bella and Edward are making out, and she tries to push it toward actual sex. He refuses. He wants to get married first.

Now, the very existence of books like the Twilight Saga is probably not remarkable. After all, there is a whole genre of Amish romance novels. What is remarkable is that they are immensely popular—so popular that Hollywood wants to make a few hundred million bucks off of them—and so popular that Hollywood dare not tamper with the basic message, no matter how it must grate against the reigning sensibilities in the film industry. (The only politically correct touches come in the casting of non-whites in minor roles that were written as white in the novels.)

There are two other small but important touches of political incorrectness in Eclipse. First, the vampire Rosalie speaks of the main disadvantage of being a vampire. Yes, she will be young and beautiful forever. But she will never have the pleasure of seeing her children and grandchildren growing up around her. It is not enough to praise virginity and marriage without making it clear that Bella’s inability to experience motherhood is simply tragic. Fortunately, it is a tragedy that the millions of young women who read these books and see these movies need not suffer. Second, the vampire Jasper reveals that before he became a vampire, he was an officer in the Confederate Army. For romance and chivalry, the Union just doesn’t cut it!

In my earlier reviews, I remarked that Edward Cullen and Jacob Black are what in the past were simply known as “men.” The fact that real men cannot show up in movies except as monsters is a measure of how far our civilization has strayed from nature. But the fact that women find these monsters so attractive shows that nature is stronger in the end. As far as I knew, however, this rejection of feminism was merely implicit.

Eclipse, however, reveals something even more unusual. The Twilight Saga is an explicit defense of virginity followed by marriage and motherhood and an explicit rejection of pre-marital sex and sexual promiscuity. These themes may be subtle in Twilight, but they become more explicit in New Moon and quite overt in Eclipse.

Thus the Twilight Saga is truly something remarkable: an across the board revolt against modern sexual mores in favor of tradition. A revolt by the younger generation against their permissive and degenerate parents in favor of tradition and against what passes today for freedom. (It came as no surprise when I learned that author Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon.)

From a racialist point of view, my only quarrel with the Twilight Saga is Bella’s relationship with the American Indian Jacob Black. But in the end Bella chooses a man of her own race. My initial instinct would have been to leave out the whole interracial romance, but have changed my mind. Young women today are being bombarded with pro-miscegenation propaganda, so perhaps it is healthier to acknowledge that such temptations exist but show Bella choosing her own kind in the end. (By the way, Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob Black, delivers another smolderingly charismatic performance. He has what it takes to be a major star.)

I highly recommend Eclipse. Nobody who enjoyed the first two Twilight movies will want to miss it.

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15 Comments

  1. Stronza
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t mind getting your opinion on Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa version of 1975). I think that white traditionalists and liberals would have different interpretations. To me, it shows the decency and humanity of (Russian) whites toward a (needy) nonwhite at a time when “we” apparently were more wicked and racist than ever.

    Further, I prefer to see the main theme as being you need to be with your own kind to be happy. Sure, it’s about an Asiatic Siberian who is the “victim” but I see the Russians as being kindly rather than evil characters. If this film were remade today (by Hollywood), they’d have the Russians killing every animal in sight and abusing the little Asian.

    Maybe you think I’m all wrong-headed about this, so I really would like you to review this if you have a moment to see it.

  2. Hrolf
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Good review. You’ve further awakened me to the implicit whiteness messages of the Twilight series, which have found similar outlets in the Harry Potter series, though perhaps on a less mature subject matter.

    Otherwise, I view Twilight as another dramatic step in our general cultural decline. The writing level of the books is just terrible, first of all, and the premises are a half-digested pastiche of ideas from that bottomless well of vampire genre books. Take for example the backbone premise of a vampire boy’s romance with a mortal girl. This premise had been introduced into popular culture less than a decade before the appearance of the first Twilight book. Remember where? The romance between Buffy and the vampire Angel in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series! It’s as if Meyer simply re-packaged one slender thread of the Buffy universe for pubescent teenage girls! As if someone had written a book about a small race of Bobbits who fight against a Dark King, hot on the heals of LOTR’s success. On the other hand, I thought the early Buffy was a fascinating spoof of the entire “vampire” genre.

    While it’s good that young people are receiving these messages, the pill is being hidden in abominable coating, in my opinion.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      I enjoyed Buffy. I liked Angel even more. But aside from the slim common romance thread, Twilight could not be more different than Buffy. Buffy promoted feminism, miscegenation, and homosexuality, and it was shot through with Jewish characters, themes, and humor. (Although Joss Whedon is not a Jew, he works for them and with them.)

      • Hrolf
        Posted July 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Well, I guess that Joss Whedon figured out between the time of the Buffy movie and Buffy TV series that the road to success in entertainment is to cast an armada of Jewish actors in roles: Sarah Michelle Geller, Seth Green, etc. But hey, the chemistry worked. I don’t know what you mean about miscegenation.

        • Trevor Lynch
          Posted July 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Fred and Gunn in Angel.

  3. Vlad Katonic
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    My 5 year old daughter has been harping about letting her see the Twilight movies. . . . My wife and I had assumed they were just more faggy Anne Rice-ish excuses to put guys in powdery white makeup and red lipstick. You’ve given me reason to reconsider. Thank you.

    PS: Where’s the review of They Live? That’s a movie that reads like a “ZOG-conspiracy” theory on meth.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 25, 2010 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      They are too mature for a five year old. Wait till she is a tween.

      RE They Live: does it really need any commentary?

      • Vlad Katonic
        Posted August 5, 2010 at 4:35 am | Permalink

        It’d be nice to have They Live explained thru the filter of white values and such.
        I wonder if I would have ‘gotten it’ if I had seen They Live when it came out. By the time I saw it, I was already hep to the way things are.

  4. Posted July 23, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    “Get up out of your chairs, go to your windows, and yell – I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.”

    That’s what I do every night, nobody listens.

  5. Posted July 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Very good review Trevor. I like the commentary on marriage.

    It is oddly but certainly the case that virginal white women tend to be the most racially conscious white individuals (interpersonally and not in a global or metaphysical sense). For whatever reason, it is only after ‘sexual liberation’ that white girls would ever even consider sex with non-white men. After experimenting with a negro and turning off the majority of white guys who find out, these women are left with a much smaller sexual pool to draw, while virginal girls can choose between both virgin and non-virgin men. Girls who become sexually involved with negroes and other unsavory types are much more likely to develop anti-social tendencies and find rejection among their normal peers. This is the cause of the majority of miscegenation cases.

    With white guys, it’s different. Liberal society pushes the norm with guys that if they are not in sexual pursuit for every woman that walks, they must be homosexual. This leads to many less social, nerdy, and late developing types to pursue Asian women. Young white men with our concerns need to be told that there is a third way: regular or complete sexual abstinence until marriage with a white woman. Otherwise, they are left agitated and give in to the various traps set by the liberal culture.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful comments.

  6. Murphy
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    A couple more recommendations: The Lives of Others, In the Loop.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I will look into them. Thanks.

  7. Murphy
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Movie recommendation: Network. And maybe the relevant reviews can be cross-posted at OD? Your writing is valued, thank you.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your kind words. I will do something on Network. It is a favorite of mine

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