Tag Archives: Twilight

When People Love Vampires

I’ve been known to say that vampirism is informed by the quirkier subtexts of human nature. That is to say, vampires aren’t usually about vampires. Vampires are about foreigners and sex and dealing with our own baser urges. The very flexibility of vampirism as a trait is because of the pure variety of our own issues are. A specific movie or book may have vampires in it that are pretty clearly just what they appear to be, but as as genre (if it could be called a single genre) the experiences of fighting a vampire, killing a vampire or becoming a vampire is allegory for another human experience.

Because everything is layered in symbolism.

And lately vampires have been all about love. Twilight has seemingly taken the teeth out of vampires, but it wasn’t always so. There have been quite a few brave souls who dared to love vampires.

1. Happily Ever After

Seen where: Twilight, Mormonism?

This almost never happens. Twilight really broke the mold… or shoehorned the plot. This is basically the story version of plot immunity, except instead of a character being immune to death because of the plot, the plot is immune to logic because of the author. By all rights it shouldn’t work out this way, and I, honest to god, can’t think of an example outside of Twilight where it does. Does it count that the doctor at the end of the first Blade film didn’t die? Maybe Sookie from True Blood will beat those odds.

YUCK

YUCK

By my estimation, this didn’t even really happen in Twilight. The only reason their romance worked, a romance based on a girl whose boyfriend wants to absolutely kill her for the first 3 books, was because it had to. Not to mention all of the creepy cult-like behavior and stalking. No amount of public protesting could stop that loving story from reaching its destination while pretty much missing the point of vampires as a literary tool. I bet Stephanie Meyer feels foolish with all that egg on her face. No doubt her millions and millions of dollars do nothing to salve her shame.

2. Too Emotional/Murderer To Love

Seen where: Interview With The VampireThe Vampire Diaries, The Lost Boys, any high school relationship 

One of the great things about a short life-span is that it seems like love lasts forever. Not so for vampires. They just screw and fight and screw and fight until they eventually die. Even if it takes a couple thousand years to do it.

No. That's totally platonic.

No. That’s totally platonic.

The quintessential example of this is Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire. Lestat, lonely and unable to cope with modernity, turns Louie to use and abuse into the new era. While they don’t explicitly have a relationship, the overtones are there. And it’s not just Lestat. Vampires everywhere are looking for someone to use to get them through modernity.

For a more contemporary look, check out The Vampire Diaries. Every week it’s another betrayal and another dramatic twist. In these stories vampires are users that sometimes freak out and kill you.

3. Everything Turns Out Terrible

Seen where: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 30 Days Of Night, Bitten, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I Am Legend, Underworld: Evolution, any high school relationship

This is usually the natural conclusion to to the last section, but most stories stop before they get here. Look at this dialogue and guess where it comes from.

Guy: Listen. If we date, you and I both know one thing’s gonna lead to another.

Girl: One thing already has lead to another. You think it’s a little late to be reading me a warning label?

Guy: I’m just trying to protect you. This could get out of control.

Girl: Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Guy: This isn’t some fairy tale. When I kiss you, you don’t wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after.

Girl: When you kiss me I want to die. *runs off into the night*

Things have gone really shitty, and everyone knew it was going down that way. This kind of attitude – emotive, self-destructive, and a tad sexually confused – is damn near universal in vampire romance. Maybe the heroic, vampire-slaying ex-husband has accidentally contracted vampirism, and it’s now on the wife and only survivor to kill him. Or maybe your zombie virus turns everyone into night-walkers and now your evenings are haunted by the shade of your undead wife. Courting the dead is… well, it’s courting death.

Dating someone that constantly wants to beat you is stupid, but dating someone who constantly wants to kill is romantic. Oh, and that quote above is from supposedly ultra-feminist, 90’s cult phenom Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Which was doubly fuggled since the female lead is fated to die by any given vampire.

4. All The Other Stuff

Seen where: Vampire Hunter D

Just kidding. There is no other stuff. These are all the options and if you find a story that goes a different direction, they just haven’t gone far enough. The reason Vampire Hunter D is listed here is because, to my knowledge, he never tries to court anyone. He’s too dark, too androgynous, and enough of a hero to realize that he has to kill all the vampires on earth and then kill himself. He gets it. Vampires are a scourge on humanity, as well as a convenient plot device. If the romantic interest is the kind of hero we need (and we could probably use more than one in a world with actual vampires) then he should realize he’s a killing machine and not indulge in his baser urges with innocent people. And if he’s not that kind of hero, well then he’s just a killing machine that fancies someone. And those are the kinds of people we warn our daughters about.

But I’m being a tad too literal. Symbolically, vampire romance still carries the “other” stigma from traditional vampire lore. A lot of the warning protagonists get from their friends about dating vampires could have been overheard concerning interracial couples about 50 years prior. And since bloodlust often means sex lust (hey myself, redundant much?) and being devoured is a form of vampiric corruption, these romances are often also about ideas of purity and chastity. In short: vampires are bad = sex is bad.

Case in point, Buffy has sex with her vampire boyfriend and it, literally, pulls his soul out of his body. Because he was too happy. And then he turns evil and, literally, starts Armageddon. Yeah. If vampire sex is a metaphor for regular sex is it too on the nose?

Whatever symbolism you want to infer, vampires are supposed to kill you the same way I’m supposed to eat steak. Or, put another way, the reason so many of these stories end so badly is the same reason domestic violence ends so badly.

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The Cool Ship Watches: Breaking Dawn: Part 2

The latest and last installment of The Twilight Saga was released on Thursday night, and droves went to see it, waiting in lines, crying, and other such tomfoolery. Several The Cool Ship crew members braved the excitable crowds to see Breaking Dawn: Part 2. (They did it for Part 1, too.) Here’s what we thought (SPOILER ALERT!):

Gabrielle Johnston – The conclusion to The Twilight Saga fell with a decided thud. At least, it did in my theater. But, I know I may have been in a minority…since I respect myself, can do simple mathematics, and recognize that I don’t need a man to complete my soul.

Image courtesy of IMDB.

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 was a contrived piece of tripe that wavered between halfway amusing fake vampire-y antics (Look! Bella can beat the big dude at arm wrestling! Oooo! She sparkles, now!) and soul-crushing boredom in strained conversations. And can we talk about how Renesmee’s creepy CG face moved independently of her head? It was terrible!

The best part of this movie wasn’t even for real! But, for several minutes, I was prepared to sing its praises to the sky; it had redeemed itself by going off-book and throwing fans under the bus by killing Carlisle and Jasper. And it was done with such pizzazz not seen in any combination of  previous Twilights 1-4.

Heads were ripped off! Necks were broken! The freaking Earth was opened to what I have to assume was its very core! AND vampires and werewolves got chucked in to their fiery deaths! YES! It was a healthy dose of comeuppance sorely needed in this fantasy land where actions don’t matter all that much. Frankly, it was refreshing!

But, it was all a hoax (CRAP!), a vision that seer Alice showed head Volturi Aro to dissuade him from a battle that would have been infinitely more interesting than anything else that has ever happened in ANY of these movies.

Sigh!

When Alice’s vision was revealed, I was honestly disappointed. It wasn’t because I hate any of the characters; they each have their own harmless charm, I suppose. It was because we saw what this movie could have been! We saw what director Bill Condon WANTED to make it. But, he couldn’t, so he threw some of us a bone and made the best five minutes of the entire movie series.

I know I’m not the intended audience for this movie or any of the other Twilight movies, but good storytelling holds true across any divides. The fact is that this series, whether you’re talking about the books or the movies, is poorly conceived and written, with questionable themes and unhealthy obsessions. Even its star, Robert Pattinson, had issues with it!

But, I guess I can’t blame the movies totally. After all, they’re based on books. So, the blame is ultimately laid at the feet of Stephanie Meyer, a woman who had a dream about a sparkly hot guy.

John Calhoun – What’s left to say? (These movies are awful; so much so that their poor quality is practically iconic.)

The acting was painfully wooden –an incredible mystery when you consider the generally positive reviews that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart garner in their other films. The lighting was awful. Everything was too bright and too sunny in a place that’s supposed to lack sun so vampires can hide. I hate that I miss the tinted, blue look of the first film.

Dare to compare.

Smurftastic!

All the stuff people have always hated about these movies is still there, with an extra helping of CGI baby face. In short, this is the same movie we’ve been watching since New Moon.

But, it’s important to highlight the one thing Twilight 4.2 almost got right. I’ve read the books (though I am not a fan), and this movie is so close to achieving greatness in spite of how bad EVERY aspect was.

Gabrielle outlined Alice’s vision in her own section, but it deserves another mention since it’s the only good part of the movie.

After an hour of the standard conversation, conversation, funny remark, conversation formula, the climax of the series was a face off between the Cullen family and the Volturi. At the end of the books, the Cullen clan talk the Volturi out of killing them by pulling together a big group of allies and furnishing evidence that Ed and Bella’s daughter isn’t an immortal child. Both groups walk away without exchanging blows, and the Cullen family lives happily ever after.

So, imagine my surprise when father Cullen gets his head torn off and SET ON FIRE! And then, a huge fight ensues! People are just dying all over the place! I watched a teenager get his werewolf neck snapped and twitch to death.

I can only wonder what it was like for people that hadn’t read the books because the entire movie theatre freaked out. Everyone lost their shit and panicked as protagonist after protagonist got the ax, throwing Stephanie Myer’s final work aside for a more interesting conclusion.

For four beautiful minutes nothing was off the table. Anyone could die, and no one knew how this movie would end! Anything, anywhere was possible. Would Disney announce a reboot of Star Wars episodes 1-6? Would James Bond die in Skyfall? Would the movie industry finally release us from the iron cage of formulaic writing?

I was elated! I was shocked! I was ready to give this movie the best score of any review I’ve ever done!

And then, the realities of an industry’s obsequious politics set in. And yes, I’m ashamed that the movie tricked me. I’d give the movie 1 out of 5 for accomplishing that and nothing else.

Colleen Kiphart (Editor’s Note: Colleen didn’t actually see Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but she thought she could wing it. Let us know how it goes in the comments…)– As the editor has probably noted, I haven’t actually watched this movie. I really don’t see that as a problem. I’ve never let facts stand in the way of a good review!

Aren’t you jealous?

When this movie came out, I was honeymooning slightly to the left of the grid in Jamaica. But, I did watch part of Twilight while getting blitzed on local rum at a place called House of Bluez (Yes, I’m bragging at this point, but I’m back to reality, now.).

So, to the review!

Bella is a now a superhero/glitter bomb/ teen mom/ engaged and underage chimera. She’s deceiving Edward to save her magic vampire baby! How bad-ass! From what I can tell from the previews, she expresses this by wearing black leather, smiling twice (but making her regular “Who farted?” face the rest of the time), and stiffly hugging the preternaturally precocious child actor next to her in the manner of a great ape.

Edward alternately broods and smiles with his mouth permanently screwed like he’s trying to keep in his dentures. Wolfie never locates a shirt, but makes us all want to call Chris Hansen with the way he looks at Reneesemaybethiswasaterriblenameidea.

In conclusion, I will probably never see this movie, but I feel like I have. You’re welcome, Internet.

Rob Allyn – I’m gonna make this short and sweet, because I feel like phoning this one in. I mean, I am literally writing this on my phone, and it takes forever to do. I love and hate technology.

Anyway, unlike Colleen, I have seen this film. I was convinced by my girlfriend to go as a way to celebrate our anniversary since we didn’t get to on an actual date.

As a person who absolutely hates everything Twilight, this is difficult for me to say but… I liked this film. Don’t get me wrong, it did have some awful moments but for the most part, it was the most watchable of the series.

First, the bad: Kristen Stewart; the CGI face of the child throughout the film; the CGI of the vampires running throughout the film; the part where everything turns out to be a vision, and no one dies; and Kristen Stewart sharing the sappy memory montage with Robert Pattinson about how much she loves him.

Now, the good: Lee Pace playing a kick-ass vampire; Michael Sheen’s laugh when hears the little girl’s heart beating; and (the thing that redeemed the whole film) the EPIC final fight scene! Dear lord, that was sweet! Probably one the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. I was even cheering “Die bitch, Die!” when they went after Dakota Fanning’s character.

So freaking good. I’d watch the film again just to see that fight scene.

I still hate all of the others, but this one was pretty good.

And that’s my review.

 

((Featured image courtesy of breakingdawn-themovie.com and can be found at http://www.breakingdawn-themovie.com/.))

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The Week in Geek: Nov. 16, 2012

Colleen will be back next week. Until then, I have your back.

Twinkies maker Hostess is shutting down due to bankruptcy and a labor dispute. Hey Hostess, pot was just legalized in Colorado and Washington… so maybe you should’ve held out a few more months.

Popular Science has come up with a list of the 25 greatest innovations of the last 25 years.  Auto-tune didn’t make the list.

Google Fiber goes live in Kansas City. I was going to make a joke about being regular with fiber, but meh.

Time Magazine made a list of the 100 best video games of all time. I don’t really agree with their entries, but that’s like… their opinion, man.

Felicity wrote about Twilight and how Kstew and Rpatt’s relationship is probably super fake.

Xbox live turned 10 yesterday. That means it’s officially older than the majority of its audience. I kid, I kid.

Next week is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. So, here’s a crappy song about it. Colleen will be back next week! Yaaay!

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Rocking the Boat – Twilight and Trolls

With the release today of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, I’ve noticed two things.

1.) My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been blowing up with people who love Twilight.
2.) My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been blowing up with people who hate Twilight.

This guy is all over the internet. He might even be you.

It’s interesting to me that a book meant for young adults generates so much emotion. But so does everything that is popular. Especially in geek culture.

Go to nearly any message board that deals with Geekery. I bet that you’ll find at least one post within ten minutes that is full of pure vitriol for the given subject. And I’ve seen AWESOME things being hated on.

Zelda II. Batman Begins (after The Dark Knight came out). Hate over a video game review. Hate over a funny video someone posted. Hate over a previous message board post. Hate. Hate. Hate.

It even happens in my own house! My wife really hates Apple products. She doesn’t know why. I’m not sure if she’s even used an Apple product beyond playing Angry Birds on my iPhone, but she will insist vehemently that she hates Apple.

And that’s my biggest problem, I think. People are hating on things without reason. I was recently in a conversation with a friend who told me he hated Twilight. He hadn’t read the books, but had seen the third movie. How did he know he hated it?

I hated Harry Potter for awhile. I once started a novel about a boy who discovers he has magical powers, his parents die in a tragedy, etc. Then Harry Potter came out, and my dreams were pretty much dashed. I resented it for a long time. Until I read a couple of the books and watched the movies. I really, really liked it. I felt stupid for being such a troll hater.

I’m going to give you guys a tip. This is free advice, from a guy who has been on the internet for nearly two decades:

You know who else isn't courteous? This guy.

Use courtesy.

Listen, if you are going out of your way to post on message boards in order to vitriolically hate on something, stop. You’re not bettering yourself. You’re not bettering the conversation.

If you are posting Facebook messages about how stupid something is (and I’ve seen plenty of these with Twilight’s newest release), I want you to look in the mirror or turn on your webcam and look at yourself. Then, I want you to point at yourself and say these words.

“I’m a douchebag, and I need to stop.”

Listen, there are plenty of reasons to hate things. Call people stupid for liking things is, for lack of a better term, stupid. How about instead of going for an emotional appeal in your hatred, try instead going for a rational one. You’ll learn how arguments work, you’ll learn a bit about human nature, and you’ll be a better person for it.

So, let me say this.

I don’t like Twilight because it is written poorly. Here are a bunch of examples.

Isn’t that ultimately more satisfying?

You can be smart, courteous, and still hate Twilight!

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