Tag Archives: Vampires

Movie Review; Twilight…

Yes, I went and watched it…I actually watched it the first weekend it was out, I was just too sick to blog about it, but better late than never.  Ok, Twilight; background info, yes, I’ve read the book(s) up to book three, I’m waiting on the forth, so that will be my perspective as opposed to those who watched the movie without reading the book.  There are mild spoilers for the movie and the book…any major spoilers and I’ll warn ahead of time.

First let me say that I’m not a huge fan of the series, I find Stephenie Meyer’s writing to be very much akin to Mary Sue fanfiction.  I’m not knocking her at all, she’s made it to the best seller list and had a movie made after her book, so, she’s definitely an adequate writer.  Going into the movie I didn’t have huge expectations, because I didn’t have huge expectations of the book either, but the movie still managed to disappoint me.

For those of you who don’t know, Twilight is a story of girl-meets-vampire set in a high school-like environment (think of a storyline not quite Romeo and Juliet, but similar).  Of course the vampire the girl meets is a dreamboat knockout that is a “vegetarian” vampire…and belongs to a vegetarian vampire family – they only drink the blood of animals, not humans (one good moral taught; killing humans is a no-no).

The focus in the book is all about relationships, self-control, and setting up the main character of Bella…this focus is lacking in the movie.  Of course Hollywood has to be much more dramatic, and if one watches only the trailers for Twilight, one would assume it is an action-packed vampire flick, but that’s not so.  The movie makers obviously attempted a compromise between teen romance and action, the result of which is that both sides lose out.

As far as acting goes, the lead (Stewart as Bella, and Pattinson as Edward) and side actors did fine in the movie, but the characters portrayed didn’t match their book counterparts; for example, Bella fit in way too easy with her peers with her Hollywood good looks, and style.  Honestly, I can’t say that any one actor stood out to me, nor was there any Oscar winning performances, though their acting did not detract from the show either…meaning, basically, that they all did a professional job.

The special effects were really distracting, on the other hand.  Someone needs to show the director and/or producers how “speedsters” can be portrayed very realistically now; you know, speedsters, like Daphne on Heroes…people that can run really fast.  Edward lugging around Bella, and climbing trees came off really fakey-fakey…not to mention Edwards “diamond-like” skin in full sunlight.  The makeup and hairstyles were a bit over the top distracting at certain points as well.

This movie is one of those were I don’t recommend it either way; I don’t think people need to rush out and see it, nor do I think they should avoid it.  If you have two hours to spend on a winter day, go right on ahead and munch some popcorn and take it in, or if you’d rather wait for the DVD then by all means wait and save your money.  It’s worth it to see the movie or read the book just to keep up on pop culture, and what the crazy kids are all into now a days 😉 .

The vampire lore in this one is slightly different, though not completely original (one can sense Rice’s influence fairly easily).  For those that care about such things; there is one main scene of violence, and a dream sequence that may be considered a bit mature, no real nudity (though we do see Bella in her skivvies; another good moral; self-control, Edward style), very little profanity, and the movie is rated PG-13.  I suspect the only reason it earned that rating was for the violence that was present, and “scary” themes.

Some of the book’s content that I was hoping would be included on screen (but wasn’t) did touch upon Vampires and religion…though the second and third book delve into it a bit more.  I suppose I’ll have to save any of that conversation for a book series review.  For example, just as Rice’s vampires, these vamps don’t mind looking at/touching crosses in the least, and at least one of them has interesting ties to clergy, and hypotheses about whether or not vampires have souls and if they can make it to Heaven.

Anywho, average movie, nothing too theological to blog about either, though the book has more…ah, well, on to the next one…

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Movie Review; Lost Boys: The Tribe

Ok…first thing first, for any big fan of the original Lost Boys, you have got to already know that this movie will disappoint you.  It’s inevitable, isn’t it?  Even with that in mind, did I find it disappointing?  Yes.

Chris and Nicole Emerson have lost their parents; they died in a car accident.  They apparently have no one else in the world except a horrible aunt…so they relocate thinking she’ll help them out with a home, but no such luck.  Moving to Luna Bay, they quickly discover that the local surf scene is much more interesting than elsewhere; as the waves are ridden by a gang of blood suckers…one of which falls for Nicole.  “Hilarity” ensues.

There are good things about the movie, and bad things about it…one of the worst things is that if a few actors, and plot lines had been changed ever so slightly, it would have actually been a decent sequel.  First, the bad; it was as if the creators of the movie wished to gross everyone out.  That seemed to be the whole point of the movie.

Fake blood and guts galore.  Wonderful.  I can get that from any second rate horror flick out there; it is a disservice to the original that was all about a new and different story told with emphasis on characters and their relationships…and life, as well as a new take on the vampire myth.  Yes, the original had fake blood too, but the focus was not on the cheesy effects.  I didn’t like the overdone (and changed) makeup of the vampires in this one; the more subtle metamorphosis of the vampires’ features in the first was much more preferable.

The sex scenes.  Gratuitous.  They seemed to be inserted into the movie, not for any real plot device or any real reason…but just to try to get teenage boys to rent and watch the movie hoping for a glimpse of skin, which they would get plenty of.

The acting…I usually don’t like to say negative things about people’s acting, but they definitely could’ve gotten a different lead actress to play Nicole Emerson.  I don’t think it was entirely her fault, but I could not buy the sibling chemistry between Nicole and Chris in the movie.  Again, that chemistry pales in comparison with the original siblings of Michael and Sam.  Why do I place more “blame” on her?  Because, even in scenes with Angus Sutherland, I never lost sight of the fact that she was acting.  I saw her (Autumn Reeser) rather than her character, Nicole…to me, she seemed distinctly uncomfortable.

I suppose some would count this next bit as SPOILERS: Corey Feldman does make a return as Edgar Frog.  What upset me a bit about this was that with a few changes, the character of Edgar Frog could’ve really taken center stage and pulled the two movies together.  As it stands, it is almost as if the director just told Corey to act like he did in the first one.  The result?

Edgar Frog is now a man in a full grown adult body, but despite all the things he’s seen and done, he’s still acting and talking like an adolescent.  I get it; it was supposed to be funny…but the character could’ve really been surprising and fresh if he had indeed grown up in every sense of the word.  A good thing about Edgar’s character?  Corey Feldman himself did a great job stepping back up to the plate.

Now, other good things?  I did enjoy Tad Hilgenbrink as Chris Emerson; he fit the part, acted well, and really seem to get the “Emerson” vibe down, filling Michael’s shoes (Jason Patric from the first movie).  Also, Angus Sutherland, who is Kiefer Sutherland’s younger half-brother, did a wonderful job of helping the audience recall “David” from the original while giving us a whole new character of “Shane;” leader of the new generation of lost boys.

Shane’s character was definitely a high point…though his “tribe” was totally pathetic; which would lead to me questioning his fictional judgment.  Angus did a lovely job being “striking” in a totally different way than Kiefer was in the original…if you’ll recall Kiefer’s “David” had very very few lines, and was striking in sheer looks and attitude.  Angus has many more lines, and I enjoyed the manner in which he delivered those lines…his tone and inflections are what made Shane’s character striking. (I also enjoyed a secondary character; Evan played by Greyston Holt.)

Yes, the other boys in the tribe…who would want to live with their characters into eternity?  Bleh.  In the first movie, I got the distinct impression that the lost boys actually cared for one another, and enjoyed being together.  The new guys?  Apparently torturing each other, and being totally psychotic pigs was on the top of their lists.  They weren’t a group of guys you would even think of as “cool,” as the original ‘boys came off on screen.

Overall, you could skip this movie and not miss much; if you liked the original and don’t mind a bad sequel, wait ’til it gets really cheap to rent or comes on TV.  It does introduce new characters into the Lost Boys movieverse, and brings in old faces too…but as far as advancing any actual plot, it kind of fell flat (we are left to guess in the movie whether the Emerson siblings are Michael and Star’s children, or niece/nephew/cousins).  I do know that they released a “Frog Brothers” comic book that may enhance the story, and fill in some gaps.

For those who care about such things; this is indeed rated R for good reason; lots of blood and gore, nudity, sex scenes, profanity, etc…

If you do decide to watch it, make sure you watch into the credits for another “surprise” cameo…

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Mix lolcats with lolvamps:

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Vampires…

What it is that those fictional blood suckers have or do that draws everyone’s attention so?  I don’t exclude myself from those that are interested in a good vampire tale or two.

They drain regular folks of their blood to survive, they can’t walk in the daylight (in most stories), they can indeed be killed, but baring a steak through the heart, an inferno, or a lopping off of the head they live forever.  In our modern times, they also are always portrayed as suave, mysterious, sexy, protective, etc…

There is an odd fascination with the concept of immortality…but immortality with a price, if that immortality is gotten through nefarious means.  Their strength, youth, beauty, etc… all come with a hefty price tag.  Most of them walk around guilt ridden, and full of angsty brooding…that, and the insatiable hunger for human blood.

Buffy, Angel, Dracula 2000, Dracula: The Series, The Lost Boys, The Anne Rice novels, The Historian, Twilight, Stoker, True Blood, etc… Vampires are everywhere, and the different writers all like to add their own twists…but many times the themes are the same.

The concept of immortality is something quite interesting from my perspective.  I think that it is very significant that humans mull over the idea, and that it evokes such strong imagination.  I, of course, feel that it is a tacit acknowledgment by the human psyche that we are indeed immortal.  And, we “instinctively” know that immortality is a powerful, but sometimes dangerous concept.

In mainstream Christianity we have the belief that all humans are indeed immortal.  I loved CS Lewis’ thoughts on it, and he urged everyone to remember that when we deal with fellow humans, we are interacting with an immortal soul…it tends to change the way we look at, and interact with others (and think about ourselves).

Also, Vampires must shed blood, or choose to drink blood in order to live.  I always find it interesting that the Bible clearly teaches that the life of the soul resides in the blood, and that it is by the shed blood of Christ that we were purchased so that we could spend our immortality in God’s presence…but the vampire’s tale is a cautionary one; bad things can happen if you attempt to gain immortality in the wrong way.

In many of the older tales, and some of the new, vampires could not harm someone if they held a cross.  Religion has always played a role in vamp tales; even the ones that make the point that their vampires aren’t affected by religious objects or people.

Another set of themes within vamp tales that makes me think of religion are the themes of damnation and/or redemption.  A human curses God, so God curses them…or vamps as demons or soulless, that’s the damnation side of it.  A vampire who desires to abstain from harming humans and to make up for their past, or find a way to break the curse, that’s the redemptive side of it.  And these tales are very effective in communicating to us the very serious nature of both of those themes (Angel is one of my favorites, as far as redemption stories go).

I continue to maintain that the fascination with all of these themes points to the notion that humans tap into them because the underlying ideas are real in some form, if only metaphorical.  Immortality is literally real, that we gain life by the shedding of blood, though not in the drinking of it, is real…that life resides in the blood, that power is dangerous, that we have to be careful what we wish for, etc…  It’s one of the reasons I do indeed like a good vampire tale, and that I find the “sacred” in the “secular” even amidst a good vampire yarn.

Just some fangy-fun musings…I’ll have to use some specific examples in the future as they come up…or fang-out.

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