Alternately titled; Don’t Judge

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Last week, I showed the first installment of the Twilight saga to my Aliens and Vampires in Literature class (yes, that’s a real class; I teach in an awesome high school where I get to teach classes like that).  Once they got over their “it’s cool to dis Twilight” bellyaching, the settled into the story quite well.

I showed it to them as part of an arc of vampire films – beginning with Nosferatu, moving through Braham Stoker’s Dracula and ending with Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Twilight – intended to investigate the evolution of the character of the vampire.  Somehow, I told them, we’ve managed to go from a hideous, asocial creature to a charming, handsome, integrated entity.  Somehow, I pointed out, we’ve moved from something associated with damnation and dirt and darkness to something concerned for his own and others’ souls, who lives among people and strives for a semblance of “normalcy.”  These things don’t happen by accident, and I am interested to see what the kids think are the reasons for the evolution.

I went home this weekend and watched the subsequent two films with 14-year-old Punkin’, and I have to say that, despite the “it’s cool to dis Twilight” campy-ness that sometimes made me shudder, I really enjoy these films.

Look; there’s a LOT about this story to discredit it.  I’m not going to bother going into the many, many shortcomings because people smarter and more observant than I have pretty much beaten them to death.  There’s something about the story, though, that appeals – and appeals greatly – and that’s what I’m interested in.

There’s something compelling – for me, at least – about the idea of entering into a relationship with the knowledge that it’s going to be forever; not just this lifetime, but forever.  I love the idea of chosen family that the story highlights and will admit to choking up a little during the scene in the first film where Rosalie is resisting helping Bella escape from James, Victoria, and Laurent.  Carlisle puts her in line by saying “Rosalie. Bella is with Edward. She’s part of the family now. We protect our family,” and she acquiesces without a second word.

The tag line in the films is When you can live forever, what do you live for?  The answer, at least for this story, is love.  I’m totally down with that.  I’m a sucker for a devoted love story.  For all the camp and strenuous work one has to do to suspend disbelief, I do not regret the time I’ve spent watching these films.


One Response to “Twilight”

  1. Kizz Says:

    You know how in evolution things go on the same, maybe a little change here and there, then a HUGE JUMP? For the way we write and talk about vampires that jump is Joss Whedon and Angel. In Buffy all the vampires are the soulless devils but, through long angst-ridden back story, Angel has a soul. He loses it and gets it back. Other vamps work to get theirs and there’s about 7 seasons of exploration into the pros and cons of eternal life with and without a soul. It’s very cool. With no back story it’s way less cool. For me anyway.

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