Despite the recent activity on this blog suggesting otherwise, one of the topics I sometimes cover is books. At the moment I’m worming my way through “The Hell of it All” by Charlie Brooker, a delightfully despondent columnist and TV critic for The Guardian and presenter of BBC Four shows that end in ‘wipe’ – cases in point, screenwipe, newswipe and gameswipe. His books generally consist 300 pages of his regurgitated publishings of the past few years, the one I am reading at the moment covers TV and other topics that Brooker has written about over since 2007 and I am attempting to blend some of his sardonic humour and insults into my own writings, though I’m probably failing……..you prick. In any case, Brooker’s Channel 4 show ‘You Have Been Watching’ returns tonight at 10pm on the aforementioned channel, I highly recommend it.
Are there no ideas any more? I can’t help being a little put out hearing about each and every latest smash hit TV show or book without being disappointed at how similar they all are to old film or television concepts, or worse yet classic literature. A quick example is Glee, a show which I love, but is so much like High School Musical, which is in turn simply a modern reimagining and Frankenstein-esque merging of Grease and Footloose, that I keep expecting them to announce some weird crossover.
At the moment, vampires are the main source for balls-out rippoffery, I have been subjected to both Twilight films – which use the concept of vampires but, in a feat of deformity worthy of the Saw franchise, twist them to fit the mould of the modern drama. Firstly, I know Twilight is originally a book series, but as far as I can reason (albeit by making the bold assertion that the themes of the books have been accurately portrayed on screen) the Twilight series, in all it’s forms, is simply seeding the shallow, generic childhood fantasies into another generation o young girls by a combination of “white horse” stereotypes and familiar backdrops, with a female protagonist so passive Emily Davison must be spinning in her grave, who was killed by a horse if anyone’s interested in dark symbolism. Twilight is offensive to men on every level, apart from it perpetuating a delusion about romantic encounters onto young women, each film (and, from narrative, each book) lack any satisfactory conclusion: there are practically no action scenes or nudity, the two things men want from a film (and any man who says otherwise is a lying bastard) – upon mentioning this (the lack of action sequences, at least) to the people I saw it with, they (the girls anyway) insisted that it was part of the setup for the next film…
No. When Sherlock Holmes heard the name Moriarty, that was setting up for the next film. When Commissioner Gordon hands Batman the Joker playing card, that was setting up for the next film. When Harry Osbourne found his late father’s Green Goblin gear, THAT was setting up for the next film. All of these were preceded by a whole other storyline that came to a close after a FUCKING BATTLE! Having a pissy little vision of the future and the film’s antagonist letting them go does not count as a set up, it’s not even a cop out. It’s nothing. What’s worse is that, having skimmed the Wikipedia plot summaries of the books that haven’t yet been made into films, there is no final battle sequence – and the antagonists simply change their minds and go, there I’ve just saved you time otherwise wasted reading the books. Yeah, I’m a book fan advising you not to read something – what of it?
Anybody see a fucking difference here!
This is turning into a Twilight rant so I’ll make some comparisons, I am just starting Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ – the best known fictional work involving the concept of Vampires, haemovoric creatures of folklore. A good comparison is the ability of Stephenie Meyer’s “vampires” to go out in daylight, providing they take sufficient measures to stop normal people noticing that their skin sparkles like a drunk tinkerbell. As far as my baffled comprehension of the Twilight series can tell, this makes the “vampires” essentially immortal, which makes me wonder why Meyer didn’t just kick Stoker’s corpse in the balls and have done with it. In “Dracula”, the fact that sunlight is lethal to the antagonist character is a revelation, it takes this previously powerful and apparentely indestructable character and unveils his flaws, a literary staple that prevents weak endings by authors who have made a villain too powerful to feasibly stop. Meyer is a terrible writer because she avoids this, spending all of her time building up these immensely powerful supernatural characters, leaving the characterisation and plot so desolate you can hear my imagination echoing in the wasteland. Hence we end up with these one-dimensional characters and pathetically weak endings to each book and the overarching series simply because Meyer spent all her time going “look at these vampires and these werewolves, aren’t they cool!” before hastily adding “oh and someone did a thing, the end” when the now too-powerful villains agrees to let them go, simply because Meyer spent too much time on the character’s power and romantic stereotypes and not enough on story.
A quick note to any trigger-happy commenters who are bound to say something about me not being in a position to comment on the Twilight series having never read the books in full – and that may be true. But then again, I’ve never shot myself in the head but I have a notion that it’s a pretty bad idea, maybe you should try it, let me know.
I love sounding angry in blog posts.