Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lovesick Monsters

Two (Mostly) Good Vampire Flicks.

I'll not compare the two, despite their
obvious parallels, because they are still
two decidedly different genres.
We'll start out with something soft
and easy to chew on.

2008, Catherine Hardwicke

Oh Twilight. That which rabid teenagers love to scream about and viciously defend with poor grammar, and which bored intellectuals like to pick apart and scoff at to make themselves feel better. Happily, I fall into neither category, but nice and cozy in the middle. I won't get in depth about the series itself, what I like about it, what I loathe, feminism, love, and the amount of time I spent bashing my head against a wall after reading the name 'Renesmee'. This is about one book, and the film version of it. I'll make it quick!

Girl moves from Arizona to Washington State to live with her dad. Girl is quiet nerdy loner. Girl meets boy. Boy is vampire. Boy is a good vampire with nice good vampire family who don't eat people, but it gets tough. Other vampires DO eat people. Shenanegans abound!

I really liked this film. Taken for what it is, it's great. It's got fluff, it's got humor, it's got action, it's got romance, and the good guys kill the bad guy (but conveniently forget about his girlfriend, YAY villain for the sequel!). Sure some of the acting and dialogue is stale, but the leads have palpable chemistry. Sure some of the directing is melodramatic, but the attention to detail is amazing and makes for a beautiful setting.

And for me, frankly, I like it more than the book. There are two reasons for this, I think. One, the conflict is more pronounced, is not JUST about the fact that Edward is a tortured soul and Bella is in love with him anyway. The threat the nomads present is just there more, leaving you uneasy through almost the whole film. But much more than that, I actually LIKED Bella in the film, whereas at least in the first book, I got sick of her pretty quickly. I think this is entirely due to Kristen Stewart, who...I don't think she could play a helpless female character if her life were on the line, it doesn't seem like something she'd want to do, from what interviews I've seen. Instead of being in Bella's head listening to her whine for pages on end, we're presented with a self-sufficient, introverted, kinda bored and clearly very smart, well-adjusted teenage girl. I enjoy this fresh air, thank you.

Now I know there are a million things to pick apart about the series, as far as the messages it sends teenage girls, and I do agree with some of the criticism. I do wish our female lead wasn't SO dependent on her boyfriend, wasn't so weak, didn't have getting married and pregnant at 19 ridiculously romanticized, etc. and so forth (HUMAN GIRLS, your baby WON'T be a cute super-fast growing half-vampire, and you WON'T be able to take that cruise with your fabulously rich vampire husband, kay? You'll be changing diapers. Lots of 'em.). the grand scheme of messages that are being thrown at teenage girls from various sources (The Hills, Gossip Girl, 99% of the programming on MTV), which would you rather your little sister emulate? Your sexuality is a weapon, use it to manipulate or be manipulated, all that matters in life is money, clothes, and who you're with, etc? Or falling madly in love with one person, not just for the rest of your life but for eternity, being faithful only to them, through good times and bad...and having a sister-in-law with an amazing shoe collection?

Bella Swan might not ever come close to filling Elizabeth Darcy's shoes. But she can fill Rory Gilmore's. Rory had nice shoes.

Let The Right One In
2008, Tomas Alfredson

Now, this Swedish film? IS a horror film in the classic vampire tradition, and yet it is terribly original. Oskar is a fragile, lonely 12 year old boy who lives with his mother in an apartment complex. He is constantly bullied at school, and though he imagines himself standing up to his tormentors, when push comes to shove, he can only let them hurt him. Until a new girl named Eli moves in next door. She doesn't come out during the day, and she often forgets to wear shoes in the snow. She is a vampire, and she's been 12 years old for a very long time. The two fall into puppy love, which is adorable and innocent and sweet. Eli, however, is no Edward. She is still a monster, and it is horrific to see. In the end, she cannot stay in one place for very long...but she saves Oskar the only way she knows how.

This film is...fairly amazing, actually. It alternates seamlessly between sweetness, sadness, cuteness, and absolute horror. The filming itself is beautiful, drab sets shot through in places with bright color. This is a violent movie, not everyone's cup of tea, but the two leads are children...with a child's capacity for accepting people as they are, mixed with the dangerous fact that because of this, they may not realize what they're getting adds this amazing layer of innocence and empathy and, as I said, weird sweetness.

Personally, I loved it. The end, even though it's bright and the two characters are happy, had me crying because of what was implied...if you see the film, you'll know why. It is subtle, sweet, beautiful, and I will probably be having some really weird nightmares tonight!

Wardrobe Project: Simplicity

Some things, you do not have to add much to.

In the past, I have spent ages trying
to figure out ways to dress up this particular
Free People tunic. Finally, though, I
realized that it speaks just fine on it's own.

The same with my favorite LBD.
Sometimes all you need are the right shoes,
and the right necklace.
From Paraphernalia, of course :D

The Hoop that ate my free time!
Yes, most of it :D
And now, I require tea.

~ Amy


Anonymous Dylan Demasi said...

Let the Right One film of last year and even I got teary eyed.


2:07 PM  

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