Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Vampire stories sell. Whether they are in the form of a literary classic like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, film adaptation like Anne Rice’ Interview with the Vampire, or hero figure like Blade, tales of bloodsuckers spark the interest of people with irrepresible penchant for horror.
Twilight falls under this category, and more. The cinematic version of Stephenie Meyer’s first of her four-novel saga is not only a vampire story but also a teen flick and a romance rolled into one. For such a formula, the movie is expected to mimic its novel basis in becoming a bestseller. In fact, even before its recent release, the movie is already a hit for its well-hyped trailer and its popular soundtrack.
Truth to tell, the plot is nothing out of the usual supernatural movies in which the creature’s secret is just waiting to be revealed. Twilight sees 17-year-old Bella Swan’s (played by Kristen Stewart) homecoming to the sleepy town of Forks, Washington to rejoin her father Charlie (Billy Burke). She has no problem adjusting to her new academic environment, but her challenge comes in the form of her mysterious schoolmate Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) who rescues her from a running truck which he halts with his fist. When she and her handsome classmate become closer, she discovers his family’s secret: that they are vampires. However, his family’s bloodsucking characteristic does not stop her from falling in love with him.
Movies with characters who try so hard to fit in a world that rejects them are comparable to real-life experiences in which certain people are shunned no matter how they exert efforts to blend in the society. History is a living witness to the continuous discrimination on the basis of race, class, sex, creed or whatever else. These marginalized sectors are represented in the movie by the vampires whose true identities had to be repressed for the sake of not being ostracized by the community. They had to make their respective personal sacrifices if only to integrate themselves in the mainstream. Often, life is not even enough to gain a fuller access into the society, because the sacrifice cannot overcome the social bias. Such is the sad case of vampires who cannot be fully normal, or of discriminated people who remain second-class citizens vis-a-vis the society’s dominant groups.
Respect for and acceptance of people of all sorts may be the key to addressing the problem of social injustice that is encountered in real life and that is, in a way, symbolized by the kind of regulated living of the vampires in Twilight. It takes more than one Bella to do the respecting and accepting—it takes every one of us to work for the realization of social justice.