Saturday, March 28, 2009

Drink His Blood and Live Forever

Me and the missus watched Twilight last night, despite the fact that neither one of us is currently a bookish 15 year old girl.

It was generally well done, with solid acting and only the occasional drift into mawkish hyperemotive teen goonyness. That piano scene really did hurt a little bit to watch. Backlighting! Moodiness! Schmaltzy Keyboard Stylings!

And the high-speed scampering somehow failed to convey a realistic sense of superhuman power. More a sense of "being zipped along waggling your legs while suspended in the air," and not even in the cool Hong Kong chop-socky wirefighting way. I kept thinking about that hysterically funny chase scene from Kung Fu Hustle, which didn't exactly lend itself to the seriousness of the moment.

Outside of it's conflation of the restraint of vampiric hunger with the restraint of sexual desire, the film offered up yet another opportunity to muse on the whole concept of immortality. What strikes me most whenever I watch these films is what a stunted view of what it means to live forever.

What baffles me is the temptation that invariably surfaces in these films, that "golly-wouldn't-it-be-cool-to-be-immortal" sub-thread that weaves it's way through films about the children of the night. That desire for power over life and death...and, by extension, power over others...has created a peculiar subculture within the already peculiar goth community. There are folks whose fascination with the idea of vampirism has extended into actually practicing it. Besides being eccentric and more than a widdle biddy bit on the pretentious side, it's also kinda narsty. Yeah, I know, as a good liberal I should be totally fine with folks cutting one another and drinking each other's blood. Free to eat you and me, and all that. But for some reason, it strikes me as willfully and unnecessarily dysfunctional. Ah well.

It also seems strangely unnecessary.

We all do live forever, at least if you take Christian faith as the ground for your understanding of being. The nature of that eternity depends entirely on how we live...but eternal existence is an inescapable part of the way Christians view ourselves.

Whenever I watch movies like Twilight, and the peculiar promise of temporal immortality that they dangle in front of us, I find myself thinking...why would that be even vaguely tempting? We've already got something better than that.