Buffy the Vampire Slayer VS Twilight

So I’ve been re-watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I think the first time I watched them, I wasn’t able to pay attention to the details. It was after all famous when the Internet didn’t have that much information and Piracy wasn’t as widespread so I watched it the old-fashioned way — once a week on network television. With commercial breaks. Anyway, now that it’s a bit easier to watch (though still not that easy since there are hardly any sites that stream old TV shows), I get to notice more details and understand the story better. Which is why I now ask the question:

Why in the world did Buffy not get as famous as Twilight?!

I mean, what? Are the teens of today just more obsessive than the teens of the time that Buffy was famous?

OK, first, I will tell you about my exposure to vampire literature before you all start to bite my head off and tell me how I don’t know vampire literature. I think the most famous vampire literature are Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Anne Rice novels? I mean, before the whole Twilight fiasco, yes? So, I only saw the movie for Dracula, the latest one with Winona Ryder, and have never read an Anne Rice book, but I think that’s fine since those are the more serious vampire literature. As for the new ones, which is impossible to know all about because suddenly about a thousand teen vampire stories have materialized in book stores (even Meg Cabot has a vampire book now, which makes me so disappointed in her because I really liked her Mediator series), I won’t talk about them either. This blog entry is about the only two vampire literature that I know — Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. Oh alright, I’ll throw Harry Potter into the mix as well even though it has nothing to do with vampires but inevitably always gets mentioned whenever Twilight is mentioned (or is it the other way around?).

Because here’s the thing I don’t get: Why do people always compare Harry Potter and Twilight? They even go so far as to compare the characters or the plots when… They’re so different that comparing them is like comparing pizza and ice cream. I guess it’s because their commercial success is comparable, in the sense that they both had people lining up in the bookstore to read the next book in their series, but that’s where their similarity ends. I mean, Twilight is dark fantasy and Harry Potter is just fantasy (albeit it gets darker as the series goes along). And, Twilight is a love story, while Harry Potter is more about a boy’s coming of age (which of course, includes a love story, too, but that’s not its focus unlike in Twilight). So really, to me, what people should be comparing Twilight to is something that it’s more similar to. Something that’s also about love between a vampire and a human girl in high school, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS).

Left: Buffy and Angel at prom, Right: Bella and Edward at prom

I remember when my mom first heard about Twilight and how she said that she didn’t understand why it was so popular when it’s nothing new. So a vampire falls in love with a human girl. “Isn’t that the story of Buffy?” she asked me. “I know, right?!” was my reply. But let’s look further/make more comparisons.

Bella VS Buffy

Apart from having five-letter names that start with B, they’re just completely different.

School

Bella is particularly bad at sports (or actually most physical activities like dancing, or sometimes even walking), but very smart when it comes to schoolwork, I guess, since she was able to match Edward’s intellect in Biology class (and I will assume that Edward knows the lessons in high school like the back of his hand since he’s apparently graduated from it several times). Meanwhile, Buffy needs tutoring from Willow just to pass her History test. But, she is very athletic. Even when she wasn’t a slayer yet — she was a cheerleader in her old high school, right (And yes, cheerleading is a sport now, so cheerleaders are athletes. What? You don’t watch Hellcats?)? So, I guess they get equal marks.

Bella is brainy but uncoordinated. Buffy is athletic, but not very academic.

Friends

“A slayer with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn’t in the brochure.” – Spike, School Hard (S2E3)

So, I’m not saying that Bella doesn’t care about her family and friends. But you know, she never really took the time to get to know her classmates in Forks. And the way she described them was like she was always annoyed by them or that she thought they were shallow. Granted, they pretty “shallow”, only caring about the prom or who’s got a crush on who, but can you really blame them? I mean, they were in high school. That’s what they’re supposed to care about. And, as for her parents, I’ve always been sort of disappointed with how Bella treats her dad. I mean, there he was, being all nice to her and all she wants to do is spend time with Edward. Maybe it’s just me but I think if she cared about them more, she really wouldn’t have been so willing to become a vampire. And OK, so maybe the Cullens were her real family and friends in the story, I mean, they’re the ones whom she liked spending time with and really talked to, but… I never got the sense that she ever worried about their well-being.

Meanwhile, Buffy hardly thinks of anything else but the well-being of her family and friends. Of course, because she’s the slayer, she’s actually required to care about them. But I noticed that even on her most selfish moments, even when all she wanted to do was be with her boyfriend, she never forgot about the people around her, friends or not. I mean, she killed Angel to save her friends (and the world, of course). And he was the person she loved the most. That’s totally the ultimate proof that she cared about her family and friends. And though she also cared about the prom and all that high school stuff, because it’s always clear that her duty as a slayer comes first, you can’t say at all that she’s shallow like Bella’s classmates supposedly are.

Point to Buffy then.

Edward VS Angel

Age

Edward is about a hundred years old. Angel is at least two hundred and forty one.

Personally, I don’t think that it’s pedophilia when these vampires fall for high school girls because one, maturity is relative, and two, I think when you become a vampire, even mentally, you kind of get stuck in the age when you died, hence Edward will always think like a 17-year-old (albeit a very wise one because he’s been 17 for a while), and Angel a 26-year-old, which I guess makes Angel “10 years older” than Buffy because he met her when she was 16, but she’s the slayer, and so was really not like any normal teenager (like Bella is). Still, points for not being a cradle snatcher, I guess? So Edward wins this round.

Good VS Evil

Edward was trained to be a “vegetarian” vampire, while Angel was cursed to have his soul. They’re both dangerous in the sense that if Edward loses control, he will for sure want Bella’s blood (its his own personal brand of heroin, don’t ‘ya know?), and if Angel becomes too happy, he loses his soul and returns to being a sadistic monster. I guess, points go to Edward because he learned to control/suppress the evilness of vampire inside him, while Angel is just good when he’s got his soul, and when he doesn’t he can’t really be accountable for being evil.

Then again, this really shows the difference in the two universes. Because in Twilight, vampires, despite not having souls can be good, while in BtVS once a person becomes a vampire (a default vampire–without a soul), then he/she is stripped of a conscience. As Giles put it, “You’re not looking at your friend. You’re looking at the thing that killed him.” (The Harvest, S1E2)

But… when Spike got a chip in his head that made him unable to harm humans, he did sort of fight on the good side. Except, that was mostly because he really just wanted to fight and since he could only hurt bad guys then he may as well fight with the good guys. Great. Now I’m really confused. You know what, let’s give points to both Edward and Angel since this is a technicality of their universes that I cannot comprehend.

Leaving

Both of them left Bella and Buffy at one point. The difference is that Angel stayed gone, and Edward came back. But their reasons for leaving were mostly the same. Or, no wait, they weren’t. Angel left because Buffy couldn’t ever have everything that she can with him around (“You deserve someone who can take you into the light.” – Angel, Prom, S3E20), while Edward left because Bella would be too much in danger if he was around. So… Angel left Buffy so she could have the best, Edward left Bella to protect her. This is a tough one… But I think the selfless award would have to go to Angel.

I mean, the whole reason why the love story of Buffy and Angel was so poignant was because you always knew from the beginning that they were doomed. I mean, that even if Angel had a soul, it would always be an issue that he was a vampire, and that Buffy wasn’t. In Twilight, this issue was “solved” turning Bella into a vampire. So, Edward only turned her into a vampire because the alternative was for her to die, and so maybe his actions are justified. Except, in BtVS, Buffy would totally sacrifice her life rather than become a vampire. Because in the universe of BtVS, they addressed the issue of Accept Inevitable Death VS Continue “Life” as a Vampire in Lie to Me (S2E7) — Buffy’s friend Ford (Jason Behr FTW!) had a brain tumor and 6-months left in his life and so he wanted to become a vampire so he would “die young, and stay pretty”. But Buffy explains, “That’s not how it works. You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it’s not you.”

So, again with the difference in universes!

I guess here’s my issue about Twilight (you know, other than my other many issues with it): The “vampire” stuff in it are so non-committal. Edward is a vampire, except he’s a good person and can control his bloodlust. Bella becomes a vampire, but she’s basically the same person she was when she was human, except that she’s stronger. Somewhere in their story, there are “vampires” who are evil, but it’s never actually them, and the story finds every way possible to make them tame, and to make the readers fall in love with vampires. Edward always says that he’s dangerous, but you never actually see him like that, so how are you to believe it? Angel, on the other hand, even before he turned evil in Season 2, you’d get glimpses of how horrific he was before he got a soul, like when he told the story of how it was he who made Drusilla crazy.

Lastly, Forks VS Sunnydale.

I don’t know, the people in both towns seem pretty dim for not noticing that vampires are about. The people in Sunnydale are weird because they still choose to live in Sunnydale despite it being a hellmouth (surely they must have noticed, what with the high mortality rate) but the people in Forks are equally weird for not knowing that the Cullens are vampires because it’s just not believable that they’ve lived there for as long as they have and that Bella is the first one to get curious about them. So I guess it’s a tie between these two towns.

Conclusion:

Bella – 1; Buffy – 2
Edward – 2; Angel – 2
Forks – 1; Sunnydale – 1

Twilight – 4; Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 5

Buffy wins! Not that it’s a surprise. This is my blog and I’m obviously very biased, but come on! Can’t Joss Whedon get as much love as Stephenie Meyer? Why did this whole vampire craze only start when Twilight came about? Where did BtVS go wrong?

P.S. David Boreanaz > Robert Pattinson any day!

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Sariling Atin

Look, the English term for “telenovela” is soap opera, OK? And what that they have in common, no matter what country they’re made in, it’s that they’re bad. People watch them because they’re so ridiculous that it’s entertaining. Hence, there is no point in having a critic who studied film in college, write a review about it. And there’s even less of a point to read those reviews. But why am I bringing it up?

Since I’m home most of the time now, I get to watch these cheesy telenovelas on local TV now. I’m still not hardcore (I don’t watch Magkaribal), and I’m actually only watching to see glimpses of Rico Blanco (This is another Rico Blanco fangirl entry! Oh, don’t look so surprised) in his show, Imortal. But because the time slots of shows in local TV is the same as “Filipino time”, meaning, when you say that something is on at 9:00, it’s more likely to be on at 9:10 or 8:55 or whatever, so I get to watch the last few scenes of the drama before Imortal, which is the Mara Clara remake.

Now, I know about Mara Clara because I was in grade school when the original version with Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes was shown. And because I was in the A.M. classes, naabutan ko pa siya kahit nung hindi pa siya prime time (and they only switched it to prime time anyway after a few years, para matapatan ang Marimar ng RPN 9 — oha! That’s local trivia for you! Hahaha! I can’t believe I actually know this.) Anyway, I just wanted to say that it’s really not that bad. Of course, it can’t compare to the original because Judy Ann Santos is just one of those actresses that you can’t replace, but the new version kind of grows on you, as do all other soap operas (in my opinion).

And so, I am now officially hooked on Imortal. Nevermind that I don’t know the back story because I never saw an episode of Lobo, or that it’s one of those shows that uses shoddy special effects/digital effects. The presence of Rico Blanco in it is enough for me to watch, and you know, the story’s so cheesy it’s entertaining. I mean, who hasn’t heard of vampires and werewolves building armies for a war, and in the middle are a girl and a guy, on opposite sides, but falling for each other anyway?

Why am I talking about this? Earlier when I was watching the show, my dad told me that the review for Imortal was that it was “a lazy version of Twilight.”

My response?

“Hello! Mas-maganda naman ang Imortal ng mga 20 times kesa sa Twilight, ‘no!”

Of course, I’m being ridiculous. Though I’m not a fan of Twilight, of course I will admit that their digital effects are far superior. But other than that, I don’t think they’re really supposed to be compared. After all, even though they both have vampires and werewolves as characters, Twilight is a book/movie. Imortal is a soap opera whose main purpose, let’s face it, is to have John Lloyd Cruz and Angel Locsin do a project together, and I guess, launch Rico Blanco’s TV career. So really, reviews be damned! Don’t criticize me for watching local TV. I know the stories are bad. Heck, I bet you the writers know themselves that the stories are bad/overdramatic/whatever. But like I said, they’re soap operas. They’re supposed to be that way.

John Lloyd > Edward Cullen !!!

Stephenie Meyer is Everything That’s Wrong with Literature

I really don’t want to be a hater, so this isn’t a post that’s going to be filled with stupid hate comments like “Stephenie Meyer is stupid”. But I am very very annoyed about the whole Twilight phenomenon and how people keep comparing it to Harry Potter.

In the interest of full disclosure, I too, once thought that Twilight was “the next Harry Potter“, but this was before I read the Twilight books. I based this thought simply on the reactions of people to the Twilight saga, that it was similar to people’s reactions to Harry Potter — long lines in the bookstore, throwing themed parties based on the books, big blockbuster movies… I really thought that Twilight was something great because everyone seemed to be raving about it, so at first I was really on Twilight‘s side. Until I actually read it. And then I realized that it was trash. No, actually, some trashy romance novels  are written better, honestly. But here’s what I really don’t like about Stephenie Meyer.

According to her in an interview, she never read about vampires or werewolves or did any research before she wrote the books. She only researched about vampires when she needed to write the part where Bella was researching vampires. But from what I can tell from her interview, it seems that her so-called research was limited to Googling the word “vampire”. Um, can somebody tell her that Googling is not what research for a book makes? But other than that, I just think it’s so arrogant of her to say something like “Part of the fun of writing is getting to create a world and if you’re writing fantasy, why should you be limited by someone else’s world?” as the justification for her having written about “sparkly vampires”. 🙄

It upsets me because yes, you’re allowed to break rules in writing and the more creative you are the better, so go ahead and make up beings that sparkle in the sunlight, but don’t dare call them vampires, because that’s not what they are. If you’re going to change the vampire myth so drastically, then it’s nothing short of arrogance to ride on the popularity of the vampire myth, when what you’ve written isn’t about vampires at all. If you hate so much being so “limited by someone else’s world”, then create a different world entirely, instead of ripping off bits and pieces of a myth such that it destroys said myth, call it your own, and then still think that you actually paid homage to it.

You can break rules, but not the basics. Any real writer will tell you (and these aren’t my words, because I’m not a real writer, these are things I’ve heard and read from real writers like Stephen King, etc.), that in order to be a good writer, you have to read and read and read and read. And then read some more. Because writers are supposed to wield words, and to do that, you have to know words, you have to live and breathe words. If you don’t read, if you don’t do your research, then you’re just writing gibberish.

The only reason Stephenie Meyer is “successful” is because sex sells. I’m not even going to say that “love sells”, because Bella and Edward’s is most definitely not a love story. How can it be a love story if the only reason Edward “loves” her is because she has the kind of blood that he likes?

Anyway, I mentioned Harry Potter earlier because I was watching interviews of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer on YouTube one after the other and something in particular in the Harry Potter-related interviews caught my attention.

Stephenie Meyer says that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream. She saw a girl and boy in a meadow, and he was sparkling underneath the sun. And because she wanted to know what happened to that boy and girl, she wrote their story, and continued to write their story based on her dreams and fantasies.

For J.K. Rowling, it was during a train ride that Harry Potter just popped into her head. And then she just couldn’t stop thinking about magic.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Stephen Fry, actor, comedian, journalist, director, voice actor, and just about everything else, said in an interview about Harry Potter:

“It’s the reality [of Harry Potter] that appealed to me. What’s woven into them is a true history of the English folklore and tradition of magic. She (J.K. Rowling) hasn’t made up a magic world, which is simply a great wish list of… “What if she had a dream and it’s gonna come true?” because Harry Potter doesn’t present a world like that.

It’s connected and it comes out of a whole fabric of English history and folklore and mythology. And I’m not in any way trying to push her into a higher literary genre that she herself I’m sure wouldn’t claim to belong to, it’s merely that that’s why it works because things don’t work if they’re a result of feeble-minded fantasy.”

Right. My point exactly.

MangaholiX ’09 and New Moon

I wish I had a more creative title, but I can’t think of any, so yeah, that’ll have to do.

Saturday! I went to the anime/comics/gaming convention at the World Trade Center’s East Pavillon. And it was COLD. Somebody should’ve told me to bring a jacket. Ok, somebody did. But somebody should’ve told me to definitely bring a jacket. Anyway, temperature issues aside, it was some kind of a lot of fun. 🙂

To those who aren’t privy to the geek world, what happens on these conventions is, there are booths selling comics, action figures, anime DVDs and other geeky stuff, there are some arcade games, and on stage there are bands performing, and maybe Q&A forums with renowned authors/artists, plus autograph sessions. There’s also cosplay, which explains why there are people who look like characters from anime/manga series or video games. Anyway, I’m saying this to let you know that all anime/comic/toy/whatever-related conventions here are like this. The differences are very small, e.g. if it’s a Toy Convention, there’s just going to be more abundant toys for sale, but the rest are pretty much the same, which is why, I think, one of my friends said that he’s sort of sick of going to these kinds of events and might stop going altogether. I told him that that’s why I only go once in a while (maximum of 3 times a year), so I wouldn’t easily get tired of all of it. Besides, the real reason I go there, is for the company.

The Kagaws at Mangaholix ’09

As if I haven’t mentioned it a million times before, I’m saying again that some of the people behind Mangaholix are my friends from high school. We’re really not that close anymore, I think one of them even hates me (as in really hates me — case in point: he deleted me as contact from Multiply and Friendster), but I still like to support them. I’m also friends with one of the bands that played at the event, The Kagaws, and one of the event hosts, and a bunch of volunteers/marshalls. Both my best friend E and my friend’s boyfriend A are marshalls. I spent most of my time with them, and The Kagaws’ girlfriends. So my attendance is really more of a social thing, than a hobby/interest thing. But I’m sure that most of the people who go to these things would tell you the same.

Anyway, like I said, I spent most of my time w/ A and E who were assigned to the door — to check if the people who went in had tickets. So yeah, we acted pretty much like bad guys, always asking to see everyone’s ticket, and having to check the ID of the VIP’s and exhibitors, etc. But you see, it’s because we found out (too late) that some exhibitors passed their IDs to their friends who weren’t exhibitors, so there was some hullabaloo regarding the ticket sales. But I think they eventually sorted it out.

Actually, the convention is for 2 days, but I didn’t get to go today because I woke up at 5:30PM. Yes, you read that right. I woke up at 5:30PM. And it’s all because of a movie, that I didn’t really want to watch, but what the heck.


Apparently, the tickets for this weekend at some cinemas (particularly the Ayala Cinemas) have been sold out since last Thursday, but E and I got to watch it at Mall of Asia. It still wasn’t that easy to watch it there, though.

Firstly, I checked on the internet to see the screening schedules and noted that the last was 9PM. We got to Mall of Asia at around 8:30PM and I thought that there would be plenty of time to buy tickets for 9PM showing, but when we got to the ticket counter, they announced that the only tickets left for Twilight (Yes, they didn’t make the distinction between Twilight and New Moon. Even the ticket said “Twilight”.) was for the 11:30PM screening. I think they actually only added that screening to accommodate the piles of people who still wanted to see it. Us included. So we bought tickets for the 11:30PM show (and they were quite expensive, too — P180 each), bought some popcorn, and was thinking about what to do for the next 2 hours when—

we saw that outside the Premier Cinema, there was already a line. It was 9:30PM and already people were lined up for the 11:30PM show. So it’s nothing as drastic as the people who camped outside cinemas in the U.S. to see Star Wars Episode I, but still, lining up that early just seems ridiculous. But, despite the ridiculousness of it all, we lined up as well, and just waited. We sat on the floor, because everyone was already sitting. By 10:30PM, the line was already up to the other side of the cinemas. And that’s saying a lot, considering that Mall of Asia is the 4th largest mall in the world.  Anyway, when the doors opened at 11PM, the people actually applauded and hooted and made other kinds of noise. From the excitement maybe, or they’re just thankful that we’ll finally get to sit on proper chairs. The cinema wasn’t full, but it was more than half full, which is really something, for a screening that wasn’t even supposed to happen. The movie ended at 1:30AM and it would’ve been really hard to get home if my dad hadn’t had a dinner that ran late and so was able to pick me up. Still, it’s an awful lot of trouble for something I didn’t even really want to see in the first place. Oh, who am I kidding? My curiosity trumps practicality all the time. And I have to admit, despite not really liking the Twilight series, it has made me curious enough, so I actually really did want to see it. I mean, it’s got a gazillion fans. Surely, there’s something that makes them love it, right?

Unfortunately, I still got bored with the movie. So Taylor Lautner was hot, but even his hotness could not save the movie. (Not like Matt Lanter in Cutting Edge 3 haha!) Anyway, here are some random thoughts:

  • Not enough Charlie Swan. – Really, he was my favorite character in Twilight, and I don’t know why they didn’t make use of him a lot in this one. Or okay, maybe he really doesn’t have much to do at this point, but, you know, I love Charlie Swan.
  • Too much Jacob Black. – Right. I’m not saying I didn’t like him. Truthfully, I like him more than Edward. Say what?!?! I don’t know, I just never really warmed up to the fact Edward only likes Bella for her blood. I mean sure, he says he loves her, but he’s never said why he loves her, he’s never said what little things about her that he likes, or what it is about her personality that he admires. On the other hand, with Jacob, you kind of see what he likes about Bella— because they have things in common (like the truck, and the motorcycle), and they have things they laugh about and stuff. But still, there was just too much of Taylor Lautner being shirtless, and all his shirtless friends. Oh, but the part where he first took his shirt off, actually surprised me so much that it kept me awake for the rest of the movie. So yeah, if it weren’t for Jacob, I might’ve slept through the whole thing. Thanks, Jacob! 🙂
  • Soundtrack was a bust. – I mean, the soundtrack was the only thing I really liked in the first movie, so how come there were hardly any songs in this one? 😐
  • Dakota Fanning! – I probably wouldn’t have watched this if it weren’t for her. Wala lang, I just really wanted to see how she would look and sound now that’s she’s no longer a “child star”. And her part was actually kind of cool. Although it was a bit too “pa-cool”, and so ended up being lame. Oh well. The entire Volturi thing is lame anyway.
  • Not enough people from Forks / School Stuff – I think one of the reasons Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell are great series because they juxtapose supernatural stuff with the normalcy of “high school life”. I mean, there are episodes where Buffy’s more worried about what she’s going to wear to a date, rather than what kind of monster is killing Sunnydale residents. So when Bella is alienated from everyone and is just in vampire/werewolf world, well, it just seems like she’s not going through a whole lot. And that makes the story boring.
  • First and last scene was WIN. – No spoilers here, but I have to say that the opening (even in the book) was actually pretty cool, which proves my theory, that the idea for the Twilight series, is actually really good. But the execution is just… Blah. I really wish Stephenie Meyer wasn’t such a bad writer (and same goes to whoever wrote the screenplay. I’m not even going to learn his/her name). Anyway, the last scene (or the last line of dialogue, I should say) was also WIN. And not just because it meant that the movie was over. Really, what Edward said, was the perfect way to end the movie, and to leave the audience wanting more.

My brother asked me if it was a good movie and I said that it’s sort of fine, except that the beginning was boring. And then I said, “And when I say beginning, I mean the first hour.” And he said, “Ha!? Isang oras ang boring? Ok, hindi na worth it panoorin.”

So, yeah… That’s it for my weekend. What about yours?