Monday, December 22, 2008

A Bite of Green Apple – Twilight

Most green apples have a flavor of mixture of sweet and sour, just like that of teenagers’ love. And the temptation of a beautiful green apple, is also like that of a healthy young girl to a … vampire, -- You just want to give it a bite.

At the first glimpse, “Twilight” looks not quite particular in a whole bunch of vampire movie recent years: It doesn’t have the all-star cast like “Interview with the Vampire”, nor does it have the terrific CG effects like “Van Helsing” and “Underworld”. Actually after I finished watching it, it somewhat reminds me the underrated “Queen of the Damned”. If the latter is like a rock song (they used a lot of rock songs in that movie indeed), the “Twilight” will be a “pure love” version.

The word “pure love” here is a word-to-word translation from a Japanese word “jun-ai” (“純愛” in Japanese and Chinese), which is used to described a type of books, movies, cartoons and music, where the theme is “true love can conquer everything”. The leading roles, normally the boy and the girl, always have some great obstacles in their way to the happy-ever-after ending, some are even taboos. The struggle of the couple, and the love shown during this struggle, is the major part, while the real world outside of them and the final endings, happy or not (actually most of the time is unhappy, with death of disease, death of accident, suicide, etc.), are relatively unimportant. This kind of theme is quite popular in East-Asian pop culture nowadays, where you can find a lot of related productions in Japan, Korea, China, etc.

Now you should see the connections between “Twilight” and “jun-ai”: High school boy and girl, teenagers’ love, great obstacles (vampire vs. human being), struggle, all these made it a typical “jun-ai” movie. In western cultures, ppl are used to sex, drugs and violence in high school, and it makes them quite “refreshed” to have a bite of green apple now.

The storyline is quite simple, and there are only a few scenes to demonstrate the mighty power of vampires (not even worthy to mention them once you’ve watched “Van Helsing” and “Underworld”). The huge success in the box office in U.S. has to come from the great acting of the two leading characters: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Rather fresh persons in the show business (the most remarkable roles for them before “Twilight”, is the dead senior of Harry Potter for Pattinson, and Jodie Foster’s daughter in “Panic Room” for Miss Stewart), both successfully portrayed the shy and lonely (sometimes even freak) teenagers. I particularly like the scenes when Edward tried to start a conversation with Bella with some awkward topics or techniques, and when Bella tried to talk to Edward with a stuttering voice. These scenes look so real, that sometimes I even thought Miss Stewart might really have a crush on Pattinson (maybe actually she does? ^_^).

The makeup of vampires, although already well defined in “Interview with the Vampire” and “Dracula”, looks more like a fake in “Twilight”. Seems they wanna use a mimic of Johnny Depp in “Edward the Scissorhands” (OK, they have the same first name at least), but ended up with a worn-out one. There have been a lot of reviews calling Pattinsom “beautiful”, and even more call him “over-aged”. To me the most remarkable thing in his outlook is his eyes: You can hardly miss them in the crowd. Luckily he got some real gift in acting to balance the outlook.

There’s nothing in “Twilight” that can get you “horror”. So what a young girl screamed in my cinema and tried to find a shelter in her boy friend’s chest, all audience turned back to watch this “show”…

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