Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vamp revamp: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight

Vampires are fascinating, at least in literature and film (Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nosferatu, Interview with a Vampire). It is a pity that Stephenie Meyer had to write about them and that it has to be adapted to film. Here's why:

1. The Twilight series do not offer something new. Okay, so Edward and his family play baseball whenever a thunderstorm is in town, but I'm afraid my little sister could come up with something like that. Vegetarian vampires (an oxymoron) aren't also exactly what you'd call new. Consider The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (2001) which was made by HBO in 2007 into the hit series, True Blood. Twilight's only claim to originality perhaps would be its attempt to wed RL Stine and Sweet Valley High, which explains most of the hype.

2. The vampires' special powers (Edward's acute sense of hearing people's thoughts, Alice's clairvoyance) calls Heroes into mind. Never mind that Meyer's first book, Twilight, was first published in 2005 while Heroes premiered in 2006. It could only mean that Meyer traveled into the future to borrow ideas from the critically acclaimed TV series.

3. You could skip a few pages (or scenes, in the movie) and you wouldn't miss a lot. But then again we're dealing with something that panders to American preteens. It could be a great story. I only wish Meyer had been talented enough to tell it. I remember a review snippet on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy which says fans of Middle Earth do not adore Tolkien but his many gifts in showing Middle Earth to those who haven't been there.

4. The book is written in Bella's point of view. Which is fine, only I feel sorry for Bella's character, because there's too little said about her. I have only read the first book, and I know that if I want to find out more about Bella, I need to read the other books in the series. But I just am not curious enough to read more because Bella can be summed up in two words: "Edward's girlfriend."

5. Finally, if one is fond of witticisms in dialogues, one would be better off with Mean Girls ("One time, Regina George punched me in the face. It was awesome!"). There is a one-liner in Twilight that I haven't yet come around into liking: "I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen." Ho-hum. Perhaps one of my friends was correct in saying I do not own a heart.

I'm sure I missed more reasons why vampires might feel slighted by Twilight, but I leave that to Meyer's other, more passionate critics. I have a book to finish.

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