We Watch It For The Music | The Twilight Saga: New Moon

We Watch It For The Music | The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Claudia Braesch, Programming Assistant

We open in Italy. Bella’s running through the crowd; a clock strikes. We don’t know what’s happening. It’s a total Fight Club move. She runs through a bush and finds herself in a meadow, staring at an older version of herself. Edward appears — wearing a sport coat? — to wish her a happy birthday. This is such a Twilight opening: It’s like one big, convoluted plot hole, and somehow Robert Pattinson is paler than ever. 

Okay, don’t worry; that was all just a dream. Charlie wakes Bella on her birthday, and we learn it’s her senior year of high school! She drives to school in her trusty truck to the backing of Hurricane Bells’ “Monster,” a nice indie-rock tune with a chorus of:

Wait, okay, you’ve got to look before you go /

Wait, okay, you’ve got to look before you go.”

This chorus gives really apt advice for Bella — if you remember her incident in this school parking lot last year. She says hi to her friends, but who cares about them? The Cullens pull up, and Edward walks as slowly as a vampire possibly could to the lyrics “deep into the darkness.” In my review of the first movie’s soundtrack, it became clear that you could piece together a synopsis purely based on the lyrics in the soundtrack, and I think we’re on a similar path here for round two. 

Jacob then shows up to the school parking lot, because apparently it’s the place to be. Edward is jealous — and weird. Not much is new with him. They walk into the school and are greeted by perhaps the only Cullen with a zest for life, Alice. She invites Bella over to her house for a birthday dinner while Jasper stares from down the hall. I think this is technically foreshadowing, but it’s also just Jasper being Jasper. 

The party ensues just as soon as Edward has a chance to explain to Bella that the Volturi have one law, and they’ve kind of already broken it by letting her into the family. Nonetheless, Bella opens her gifts to “The Violet Hour” by Sea Wolf. The song is upbeat and, honestly, cute. And Sea Wolf truly never would have anticipated the resonance of this line for a man who’s been pretending to breathe this whole time:

You breathe your sweet breath /

And have me wait.”

But things take a turn: Bella cuts her finger opening a gift from Carlisle and Esme. Jasper lunges, Edward leaps — literally leaps — and Carlisle demands Emmet take Jasper out of the room. It’s almost reminiscent of the baseball scene from the first movie, but it’s less fun. 

Bella and Edward get back to her house and she continues to beg him to change her. They share perhaps the most awkward-looking kiss of all time, and Bella goes inside to print out pictures of Edward to “Roslyn” by Bon Iver and St. Vincent. I get it; I decorated my room the same way. “Roslyn” has a sweet, melancholy melody. And the lyrics are appropriately dramatic and pretentious. It’s also one of those songs that just sounds like Twilight. When I started writing this, my roommate asked me if this was the movie “Roslyn” was in. The song continues as Bella doesn’t see Edward at school — he’s in her room, of course. When she gets home, they take a walk into the woods. 

Edward breaks the news to Bella that he’s skipping town, and she’s not invited. She promises not to do anything reckless, and he promises she’ll never see him again. Both of these promises will be broken before the movie’s over; don’t worry too much. A devastated Bella collapses on the forest floor, honestly an underreaction to Pattinson breaking up with you. 

This brings us to one of the most iconic scenes of cinematic history. Bella sits, looking out her window, and the camera pans around her as the seasons change and “Possibility” by Lykke L plays. Over the music, Bella narrates letters she has written to Alice to no response. This scene is not only shockingly well done for a Twilight movie — which I say with love — but it is also a wonderful way to depict Bella’s turmoil and her nightmares in the months without Edward. The lyrics to “Possibility” are, once again, quite literally a description of the action of the last scene.

By blood and by me /

And I fall when you leave.”

Charlie tells Bella he’s worried about her and, to appease him, she calls Anna Kendrick to hang out. Bella looks down into an alley at a strange, middle-aged motorcycle gang, and she sees an apparition of Edward telling her not to do anything dangerous. This apparition is accompanied by Band Of Skulls’ “Friend,” a catchy little indie-rock song about searching for something unknown and the lengths you would go to find it. Poignant for dear Bella — if only the fourth wall weren’t soundproof. But she’s her, and, dear reader, level with yourself here: Would you not go to similar lengths to see ghost Pattinson? 

After her brief joyride with a man who looks like a middle school history teacher, Bella drives over to see Jacob, whose hair has grown a shocking amount this school year. He delivers the infamous “Bella, where the hell have you been, loca?” line, to which she actually never responds.

She asks him to help her fix up some junkyard motorcycles. They work in Jacob’s garage with a montage set to OK Go’s “Shooting the Moon.” I feel like, even for Twilight, setting the one main scene with the werewolf before he’s in his werewolf era to a song about the moon is a little too dead on. It’s also possible, actually likely, that they gave OK Go no real instruction other than “werewolf,” and said “Go nuts.” In that case, this is a cute song for a cute scene. 

 They head out to test the bikes and, immediately upon acceleration, ghost Pattinson is back. Bella swerves off the road and into a rock, trying to see him. Jacob remedies her head wound by taking off his shirt to dab the blood. The next day at school, Mike asks Bella to the movies. Don’t feel bad, reader, if you’ve forgotten Mike, or even googled “who’s the guys asking Bella out in New Moon.” I found myself in the same predicament. She agrees, for some reason, and somehow ends up at the movies with just him and Jacob. Jacob tries to fight Mike — an understandable urge — and they leave.

After Jacob doesn’t answer her calls, Bella shows up at the Black house. She finds Jacob with short hair and few clothes. He is angry and standing in the pouring rain. He tells her they can’t be friends anymore and prances back into the woods.

Bella, missing Edward, goes to a meadow and runs into Laurent, a rival vampire. When he starts asking questions about the Cullens, ghost Edward appears, simply saying “lie” and “lie better.” When Laurent sees through Bella’s lies, despite Edward’s instruction, and tries to kill her, she whispers an “I love you” to Edward. Luckily, a wolf comes out of the forest at just the right moment! This is the first actual werewolf vs. vampire fight of the series, and it’s just as stupid as one might imagine. Also, all the wolves look like stuffed animals.

Bella reports to Charlie that there are killer wolves in the woods. He inquires as to what she was doing in the woods, which may be the first reasonable piece of dialogue in this movie, and he arranges a wolf hunt. 

While Bella waits at home, she hears rocks at her window. Jacob, who seems to have developed an allergy to his usual cotton blend shirts, parkours into her window and says absolutely nothing of worth. He once again gallops into the woods.

The next day, Bella storms the Black house and finds Jacob’s new friends, all shirtless, in the yard. There’s some wolf vs. wolf action, and some of the boys take Bella to safety at a wolf house. When Jacob comes back to justify the whole thing, he assures her that the Cullens are safe, but the wolves are after the other vampires. 

In a stroke of genius, New Moon inserts an original by Thom Yorke, of Radiohead fame, to show things are getting serious. To the sounds of “Hearing Damage,” we see wolves chasing vampires through the woods, and Bella, coincidentally also in the woods, prepares to cliff jump while fighting with her ghost vampire boyfriend, who urges her not to jump. Yorke solemnly sings about a girl who could do no wrong. This girl is objectively not Bella.

She does jump, and we see her underwater. Her and ghost Edward stare at each other for a moment while “Slow Life” by Grizzly Bear plays. The lyric “You’re the only one I see” could be a sentiment from either of them. It’s calm for a brief moment until we see Bella back on the shore with Jacob. He’s doing chest compressions, but really slowly. I’ll chalk this up to an acting error, not a murder attempt. 

Jacob drives Bella home and she sees Carlisle’s car in the driveway. She finds a distraught Alice inside. Alice had seen a vision of the cliff diving and had come to see what was wrong with Bella, which is fair. Jacob comes into the house, despite it being vampire territory, almost kisses Bella and then answers the phone and implies to Edward that Bella is dead. This guy sucks.

Alice tells Bella that Edward will go to the Volturi to kill himself. Jacob begs Bella not to go after him, but nobody cares. Bella and Alice set off to Italy. 

The Volturi would rather have Edward join them than die. This is the only way they can make friends, I suppose. Edward plans to step into the sunlight at noon and dazzle — literally dazzle and sparkle in the city center — so the Volturi will execute him. 

Bella runs through the crowd — hey, this is the opening scene — and tackles a shiny Edward back inside. He’s thrilled to see her; The Volturi are far less pleased. They consider killing Edward; they consider killing Bella, but Alice announces that she’s seen the future and that Bella will become a vampire. The Cullens and Bella leave with the promise that Bella will be turned soon.

Back in Forks, Washington, Bella wakes up from a nightmare to find Edward lurking on her bed, just like old times. Edward tells Bella they can keep the Volturi in the dark and not change her, but Bella disagrees, and, in the spirit of democracy, arranges a Cullen family vote on the matter. Vampire Bella wins. 

After a brief driving interruption from a werewolf in the road, Edward tells Bella he’ll change her himself on one condition: He marries her. She gasps, and we cut to black.

The credits feature Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox,” which contains lyrics that nod to Edward’s plan to reveal himself at noon in the sunlight:

Meet me on the Equinox /

Meet me halfway /

When the sun is perched at its highest peak /

In the middle of the day.”

This song is good, but it’s great if you have trouble remembering what noon is.

The soundtrack for this movie is, once again, so on the nose, so poignant, so indie vampire. I truly don’t think I would have it any other way.