The Poor Moral Lessons of the Film Eclipse

Having recently watched the film Eclipse in order to craft a drinking game based around it, I had the opportunity to notice something peculiar about the characters' arc over the course of the film. Namely, that the inaction of the Cullen family reveal them all to be fairly horrible people. Even for vampires.

Okay, I suppose that's a bit of an exaggeration - vampires are supposed to be horrible, and it's not like the Cullens are as bad as the throat-rippers from Near Dark. They're not a whole lot better, though, is the thing.

No, while we're told time and again that the Cullen clan is supposedly noble and pure and decent and everything you'd want from an adoptive family, their actions paint a completely different picture. While they appear pretty, polite, and positive, they demonstrate no characteristics that anyone could consider 'heroic' or even 'admirable', and through their self-centered inaction, they allow dozens of people to be murdered.

Let's examine it chronologically-

There are a series of mysterious disappearances in Seattle.
Victoria is back in town. The Cullens assume these two things are linked, but don't bother looking into it, because it doesn't effect them directly. Even though a mystery vampire is recruiting plenty of vampires, and a vampire that hates them is hanging around. You'd think that this would be a perfect time to get pro-active, but instead, they do literally nothing.

So they're not the kind of people who'd help strangers because they have the ability to do so - that doesn't make them necessarily bad people, but it's not a check in the 'moral' column, either. Now let's look at the part of the plot that establishes them as full-on horrible people.

Do the Cullens have a duty to save human lives by dealing with evil vampires in Seattle? No, but going above the bare minimum of helping other people is what makes you good, so they might want to look into it.
This is one of the vampires that Victoria made in the hopes of bolstering her army of killers. You can question the sanity of transforming a barely five-foot, under 100 pounds, teenage girl for what's going to be a fistfight, but that's not why we're here. There's something far more important to discuss.
During the fight, she comes to an unspoken agreement with Doctor Vampire and Vampmom. She'll sit the battle out, and they won't kill her. At this point, she becomes, essentially, the ward of the Cullens, a de facto member of their 'clan'. Or 'cult', if you will.
This is bolstered by their behaviour when the goths arrive, and the family stand protectively in front of her. The goths demand that the girl be turned over because 'they don't give second chances'. Setting aside the fact she hasn't actually used a chance - since she didn't choose to be turned into a vampire, nor did she take up arms against another vampire - on principle alone, since they've taken her in, the family should be willing to fight to defend her.
Instead of doing that, however, the family turns her over to be brutally murdered, because it's more convenient than putting themselves at risk. Also, presumably, because she wasn't dating one of their other children, and they only really care about people in their quasi-incestuous 'family'.

Strangers in Seattle being murdered by a vampire that they don't like? Not exemplary, but not evil. Doing nothing while a woman that they'd offered to protect being torn limb-from-limb in front of their eyes? That's them looking after their own skin in a cowardly fashion while ignoring their obligations. Which is basically the polar opposite of being heroic.

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