First and foremost, I just want to say that I’m not a Twilight-hater. Mariela and I spent hours huddled under an Edward & Bella blanked waiting in line to see a midnight premiere of New Moon. As I get older though it’s getting harder and harder to turn off my critical lens when I watch a film like New Moon. And to be clear: this is a critique of the film New Moon and not the book.
-Representin’: Christian Serratos as Angela Weber. While the character of Angela isn’t Latina, Serratos is Mexican-American. Sadly she gets less screen time in New Moon than she does in Twilight.
-Disputed: Taylor Lautner’s ethnic makeup. I have found nothing but contradicting reports and fierce debate on the internet about how (if at all) indigenous he is. Is Taylor Lautner Latino? Partially something that could justify his casting? Good luck on trying to find a definitive answer.
-Gone: Honduran actor Jose Zuniga as Mr. Molina. I was actually relieved not to see this character return. It irritated me that the one Latino character in the first Twilight film was so cheesy and corny. Instead we are left with, uh, no Latino characters.
-Gone: Gregory Tyree Boyce as Tyler Crowley. Tyler was mainly used as comic relief in the first Twilight film and sets up the plot device of Edward rescuing Bella from being hit by a car. All of Bella’s other school friends are back but they decide to dump the one friend that happens to be Black?
-Speaking of which: Let me get this straight, there’s only one Black character in the entire film AND HE GETS KILLED?…For threatening a White woman no less. That shit is ridiculous.
–Face Punch the fake movie-within-a-movie features its characters engaged in a Mexican standoff. Does that count for anything?
-What the fuck is up with Gil Birmingham as Billy Black? In the first Twilight film he broke the stereotype of older indigenous men being stoic and sage and turned the character of Billy Black into a wise-cracking dirty old man. In New Moon he loses all his charm and is back to being stonefaced and stoic for the 30-seconds he is on screen. A damn shame.
-There’s a lot to be said about the different relationship models presented in New Moon. Of all the questionable shit that goes down in New Moon I was most disturbed that the various acts of patriarchal relationship violence were explained away as being motivated by supernatural urges. Edward being compelled to kill Bella, Sam disfiguring Emily, and Jacob menacing Mike and Bella were all justified as things that come with being a vampire or werewolf. I hella call bullshit; an abusive boyfriend is an abusive boyfriend even if he can turn into a wolf or suck blood. Don’t get it twisted.
-Conclusion: New Moon was a more competently made film than Twilight but a definite step back for Black and Brown peoples alike. I am stunned that Director Chris Weitz violently cleaned house of the only two Black characters without adding anyone to fill the void. I’m not saying it was racist…of fuck it, that shit was super-racist. I said it.
No amount of blatant social injustice will keep people from seeing New Moon or its inevitable sequels. I know I’ll probably be back for Eclipse, if only I didn’t have to look the other way on so many things. Christian Serratos, you’re my beacon of hope, don’t let me down.