What is it about vampires?
From Angel to Edward to Mick St. John, we seem to be in a love affair of long standing with the whole “children of the night” genre.
Last night I got together with some girlfriends to go see the new movie, Twilight, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. It’s your basic teenage vampire-human love story, replete with adolescent angst, transcendent romance, and the dichotomy of good and evil as it applies to the somewhat reluctantly undead.
I liked it.
As always, the book was better–but overall I was happy with the casting and the plot progression in the movie. And the scenery was breathtaking, a lush vindication for those of us who choose to live in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. From Forks to Port Angeles, the movie did a good job of capturing the homegrown feeling of small town Washington.
Beyond that, I’ve been thinking about the movie’s romantic element. Perhaps it’s merely an embodiment of the classic “unavailable guy” mystique, or echoes of the star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, but I think there’s more to it than that. For one thing, the typical vampire half of the vampire-human romantic pairing is a “good” vampire, or one that battles his compulsion to…well, do what vampires do. He overcomes his inclinations, sacrificing his own needs for the sake of others. Knowing the awesome destruction within his power, we admire his restraint, his selflessness. Second, he has amazing abilities. Shades of the superhero: super speed, super hearing, super strength (and, of course, super great hair). He can do what we only wish we could, and when we have him in our corner, we, too, feel invincible, protected. And then there’s the epic love–a love that is not only drawing in idealistic teenage girls, but has grown women sighing in soulful yearning in bookstores and theaters across America. It is unconditional. It is everlastiing. It is unshakeable. Forever love.
I think there’s something in each of us that longs to be seen, known, and loved by someone (Someone?) greater than we are. I may be digging too deep for meaning here, but in the popularity of the Twilight books, in the acclaim of the Smallville and Roswell TV series, in the runaway success of a legion of superhero movies, I see yet another tiny reflection of our universal longing, our sehnsucht.
What do you think?