Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures

The Twilight Saga

By - Nov 18th, 2011 04:00 am
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Joss Whedon, who re-introduced the vampire to popular culture in 1997 with the television series Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, once told me that the fun thing about writing and playing vampires was that you could make up your own rules. There are no ironclad rules about the world of vampires and you can’t be wrong because it is a totally fictional world. That may offend some diehards who cling to the idea that it all could exist somewhere, somehow. Those who think Nosferatu is a documentary. If it does, I am sorry.

The one thing that a literary person has to realize when they go about creating the vampire universe of their dreams is that whatever rules you chose need to be consistent and known to your audience. If not, then said audience will spend a lot of time confused.

Now, I am not familiar with the books of the Twilight Saga, so I don’t bring any foreknowledge to the table when I see this, the third in what seems to be an unending saga of man versus vampire versus werewolf and the other way around. All I know about these vampires is what I see and that seems to be fairly simple: They look pale and seem to be tortured a lot. Especially the lead one played by Robert Pattinson, he looks tortured no matter what is going on. He looks right, he looks left — everywhere is misery, and that is about all he is capable of.

Werewolves are simpler yet. They need to run and snarl and take their shirts off. However, they too seem to be tortured a lot. Stoic and tortured.

The main human is a wreck, even when she’s getting married, even when she’s on her honeymoon on a private island, and especially when she’s pregnant. None of that glow of imminent motherhood that has been made popular by much of western fantasy literature. The woman, barely played by Kristen Stewart, is frail, vulnerable and unable to finish a sentence when she is healthy, let alone when she is sick and pregnant. So when she really needs it, there is almost nowhere for her to go except back to make-up so that she can at least look more of a mess.

It is a conundrum to me why this woman’s child poses such a threat to werewolves and vampires alike, but she does. Everyone is very clear about how much they hate one another and the future baby, but vague as hell when it comes to what they want and why. Hating and fearing the baby seems to all the plot they could muster.

Butterfly McQueen as Prissy in Gone With the Wind has the famous line, “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies.”  Neither do these vampires when it’s time for the baby to claw it’s way out. The women either faint or run off. The cloying leading man stays to muster a smile and wipe away the blood. Or it could be gas. And the wound from the Caesarian section magically heals itself. That’s either the movies or another new “rule” of the vampire universe.

Categories: Movies

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