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Posts Tagged ‘edward cullen’

Given the vampire movies, and books beyond the insane over the past 20-30 years with a focus on vampires as either the cool guys, Dr Evil types obsessed with world domination, gang members, or emo teens, this book was not even close to what I expected. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had wanted to read the original, this 1896 masterpiece, but I still did not have a clue as to what to expect. Forget all that you have ever seen in a vampire movie or book in our lifetime, Stoker’s Dracula does not compare.

Dracula as a powerful and mysterious evil

The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command; he is brute, and more than brute; he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not; he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small; and he can at times vanish and come unknown.

Dracula is written as a series of letters from one character to another or as a character’s journal entry. It makes for change from the norm as you get each character’s perspective as they walk through these events and their eventual quest to defeat Dracula. This perspective only adds to the evil and mystery of Count Dracula. He is no joke and barely even human in this book. You get to know him first through the eyes of Jonathan Harker but from that point on, he is more of a dark foreboding shadow. He is everywhere and he is nowhere. He is cunning and powerful and yet limited by his condition. How did he come to be? How old is he? We’re never certain. But he is a sheer force of relentless and remorseless evil, more of a demon or beast than a man. Dracula is no Edward or Louis or even Lestat for that matter. Once certain things happen and the professor, Dr. Van Helsing, connects the pieces of who and what Dracula is, there is only one choice – to find a way to destroy him.

He [Dracula] can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell.

Men being men and women being women

“And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are.” All the men, even Jonathan, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me. – Mina Harker

I went with the party to the search with an easy mind, for I think I never saw Mina so absolutely strong and well. I am so glad that she consented to hold back and let us men do the work. Somehow, it was a dread to me that she was in this fearful business at all, but now that her work is done, and that it is due to her energy and brains and foresight that the whole story is put together in such a way that every point tells, she may well feel that her part is finished, and that she can henceforth leave the rest to us. – Jonathan Harker

Count Dracula is really not even the central focus of this book. The central focus on the book is the group of men and women who band together to destroy him; risking their lives, their own humanity, their loved ones, and their sanity. Men being noble, fighting, wise, empathetic, courageous risk takers honoring and protecting wise, beautiful, sweet, nurturing, supportive, trusting, fighting, courageous, and submissive yet not passive women. This is a fantastic story in how Stoker does not water down evil nor water down courage & goodness. I loved it. After finishing reading this book, I watched the trailer for the 1992 Hollywood version of Dracula based on this book as well reading some reviews. I was not surprised. They seem to just take out the genuine love and nobility of these characters. The 1992 movie makes Dracula the main focus and tries to give him motivation and make him more human and humane. Dracula in Stoker’s book made my hair stand up. I doubt I would feel that way seeing the movie version. On top of that, it looks like they just added a ton of sex and innuendo that’s not even in the book apart from the simple metaphor. Lucy, Mina, Jonathan, Van Helsing, Godalming, Quincey, and Seward are characters you are rooting for, and pulling for. You feel their loss. You feel their sacrifice and reasonable fear. You feel the darkness pressing in as they do.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the theme of a sovereign God in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and show my favorite passage.

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December brings a whole host of DVD releases as Hollywood tries to get as many into stores as possible prior to Christmas. Check out my thoughts on the movies I’ve seen or had reliable recommendations on. Again, if you want to know how I evaluate movies and media, check my Film & TV Mini-Manifesto.

Eclipse (Dec 4)


Twihards and TwilightMOMs will be stoked for this release in the battle of Team Jacob vs Team Edward with a nice battle tossed in at the end for the dudes including some dismembering and decapitation of various unnamed vampires. Definitely the best film of the series (yes, I’ve seen all 3) and probably the most fast-paced and least painful for bros. You know my thoughts on Twilight overall from “The Edwardian Conflict” and The Gospel According to Twilight” and, again, the movies can barely do the books justice. Look for the picture of glorified divinity in the good vampires and the concept of the eternal family. Ultimately, Team Jacob can only offer a finite relationship while Team Edward represents eternity and glory. Let’s move on.

Inception (Dec 7)


This is easily the best movie I’ve seen all year in a year of some really good ones (Shutter Island, Get Low, Crazy Heart). It’s a tour de force that you’ll have to watch multiple times. Nolan is simply phenomenal in how he doesn’t settle for some action flick with an original concept but pushes into the heart of man. I can’t speak highly enough of this film and how I see the gospel woven into the very framework. My post on the father themes in this movie is the most popular post by far of my blog (1/3 of the total hits in November!). Read it here. Read here for a fuller preview prior to viewing.

24: Season 8 (Dec 7)


I had to call this release out. Is this Jack’s last hurrah? Is it just a prequel for a big release movie? Season 8 became fascinating to me once I connected the dots that this was the final season of the series. No one is safe. No line is too far for Jack Bauer. I hated how it finished but I really loved it once I had a chance to think about it. Jack Bauer represents who we want to be while at the same time manifesting the darkness inside of us that we all know is there. My reflection on the series and finale are here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Salt (Dec 7)


I have not seen this film but felt like I should plug it simply because I have not heard a bad thing about it. The previews only show scenes from the first half of the movie and it looks like the previews way overplay the sex – from what I can tell it’s a very clean movie but for language. Watch James Harleman’s thoughts on the film below. I look forward to seeing this movie.

Other releases include the final installment (hopefully) of the Shrek saga (Dec 7), the highly rated (97% on Rotten Tomatoes!) war documentary Restrepo (Dec 7), the looks-disappointing A-Team (Dec 14), the heavily recommended
Despicable Me (Dec 14), and Wall Street 2: Greed Again? (Dec 21. The original was one of my dad’s favorite flicks).

UPDATE (1/3/11)

Salt: My wife and I enjoyed this film. By the middle of the film, I had no idea what to expect. I loved the husband and his humble confidence as well as his relentless pursuit after her to win her.  I loved how everything wasn’t necessarily tidied up at the end.

Restrepo: Simply incredible documentary that will enthrall you and break you. It follows a platoon of soldiers deployed in the insanely intense Korengal Valley of Afghanistan for a year. The scene in which one soldier is killed (off camera) and seeing the response of the other soldiers will change how you think about war. This is a must see documentary, very well done, very objective, and will increase your respect and honor for what our soldiers endure. Beware of the language if you’re sensitive to that, I’m not sure if I’ve heard more f-words in any movie (even Tarantino’s films) ever. This film is worth watching though, I highly recommend it.

Update (1/28/11)

Despicable Me: I enjoyed and laughed frequently in this movie. Steve Carell is so funny as Gru and Jason Segel is so over the top as Vector I laughed whenever he came on screen. The end is predictable and I appreciate how they don’t even try to explain the origin of the minions.

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In my previous post, I more or less introduced the Twilight series and tried to give a decent overview for you, including some foreshadowing of some Gospel themes. In this post, I’d like to dig into some Gospel themes and engage spiritually with this series.

Let’s get one issue straight first. I am primarily discussing the books, not the movies. The movies are what they are; the themes are there but, as with any movie, they don’t have the depth or the emotional engagement of the book. The movies are pretty harmless, a little scary, but extremely cheesy and watered down.

A key reference for my thoughts is a talk given by James Harleman, a pastor for Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Download or listen to his talk on Twilight, as part of their Film and Theology series: here.

The Gospel of Twilight?

I alluded to a few things in my first post. The vampire motif is turned on its head by Stephanie Meyer. In the past, vampirism has been used as a picture of our sinful nature and slavery to it. See Louis in “Interview with a Vampire” or Morbius in the Spiderman comics and you understand the”Why do I do what I don’t want to do?” picture of vampirism.  It’s a curse with seemingly no way out. The vampire, whether they like it or not, is a danger to those around them and literally sucks the life out of them. Their very core is broken and cursed – just like our sinful nature.  You see some of that in this series, but it’s not the intent. Meyer’s intent seems to be to use vampirism as a picture of divinity.  Edward and his family have an ideal Bella wants–divinity and eternity added to her love for Edward so their love will not end. Some from the Cullen family wrestle with their vampirism, wondering what will happen if they die (they can be killed) and if it’s a curse. Edward wonders if you lose your soul. Carlisle has confidence and optimism in their goodness. However, in all this wrestling, the end reveals Meyer’s intent: the vampire is a picture of divinity and eternity and is the key to eternal happiness. Once Bella is changed, everything goes well and she is ultimately satisfied (once they’re safe and free at least). This is where Meyer’s Mormonism can be seen.  God is a side note, with little relevance in the story. The ultimate ending is a divine family, living happily ever after for all of eternity. For the Cullens, eternity is not complete without their daughter–eternal divine family is the satisfaction.

The Key: Viewpoint of the Story

So where is the Gospel of the Bible? The true attractiveness of the story lies in the narration of the story. Outside of a small portion of Breaking Dawn, we are given a first person account of Bella and Edward’s love story as it is told from Bella’s perspective.  Is Bella missing something before she meets Edward? Yes. Is she lost? Yes. Is she satisfied? No. Is she divine and eternal? No. Each storyline is threaded with her need for Edward. Part of the danger of this series is that Bella and Edward’s relationship is not simply codependent, it’s necessary and glorified! Their codependency is elevated beyond the codependency itself. Once she gives her heart to him, she needs him and is sold out, given only to him. But he is dangerous to her unless she is changed and until they are united in a covenant relationship. Bella is transformed into her glorious vampire body and they fully experience their love for one another for eternity.

Do you see something there? This is beyond a typical love story. There are plenty of love stories out there but why does this one tend to grip women’s hearts so much? Because it is otherworldly and because only Jesus can play the part of Edward! Why do guys hate this series?  Because they’ll never be the noble, perfectly handsome, infinitely strong, wise Edward of the book. Women get sucked in because there is nothing like this in the world. Or is there? We as Christians know there is. This story is Christ and the Church. Jesus loves us like this. Jesus will one day give us glorified bodies in heaven. Jesus is God – He never tires, never sleeps, never forgets, never changes in his love for us. Jesus in TRUTH has an otherworldly love for us.

But Jesus has at least one major difference from Edward. Jesus suffered for relationship with us. Jesus chose to yield his divine nature, become human to get us, to pursue us, and ultimately to pay the price for our transformation. Unlike Edward, Jesus doesn’t need us. Jesus is fulfilled within the love of the Trinity. However, His love overflowed toward us. He was willing to die for us and did it joyfully.  He chose the worst way ever devised to die and to demonstrate His love for us, so we would never doubt his love ever again.

Do you want love like what Bella and Edward share, a passionate, otherworldly, divine, eternal love? Don’t despair or try to escape into a world of fantasy like Twilight. Truthfully there is a love like that for you–in Jesus.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11 ESV)

As Harleman says at the end of his message about Twilight: Forget Team Jacob or Team Edward. How about Team Jesus?

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Before I dig in to this to far (as in, a dude discussing Twilight), let’s get the facts straight:

1. I read all 4 books in the Twilight series. I read them for a few reasons: to be a student of my wife (who read the series), to connect and process them with  her, and to try to figure out exactly why this series has been so insanely popular.

2. I have 4 daughters age 4 and under. Translation: people don’t hesitate to remind me that someday my girls will all be teenagers. So let’s just say I have a vested interest in understanding women as best I can and the way most teen girls think!

3. I would not recommend the reading of these books to my teen or preteen daughter (if I had one). In fact, I would hesitate to recommend this series to most of the single women I know who love Jesus. The truth is that these books can definitely act as emotional porn for women – the ideal man, the ideal love story, how Bella is fought for, it can be engrossing for the female mind.

Now let’s dig in. This series has been immensely popular. Many wives I know have all read the entire series. The movies and books have made a ton of coin. Locally there were around 10 midnight showings opening night, and I bet all of them were packed. The fans of the series can be obsessive. From teen girls that have read the books 20 times, to fans visiting the actual town of Forks, to everyday moms, obsessive might be too light of a description. This book has genuinely struck a chord with women and that cannot be denied. Outside of the Twihards, many others mock the series and parody it like crazy, men detest it, feminists deplore the themes, movie critics absolutely destroy it, and Christians have strong responses and concerns about the connection with the occult as well genuine worry about their teen daughters. So what is the deal? Why so obsessed? Why so fired up? Why so revolted? Everybody seems to have an opinion.  To close this post, I’ll touch on a few key themes and then in Part 2 hit upon the gospel themes and where I think Stephanie Meyer’s Mormonism comes into play.

Key Themes

The Feminine Question. Why do women like this story? [SPOILER ALERT] Bella is an unassuming, not so confident, pretty innocent, non-supermodel, teen girl who is swept off her feet by an older, wiser, chaste, extremely strong, extremely handsome, emotionally deep (in the books as least) Edward. He fights for her, protects her, goes to all lengths for her. He even fights for her purity and understands his limits and the depth of his own evil within. He has the capability to do all of this. He falls short in practically nothing. He woos her, seeks to win her heart, marries her, becomes a caring father, saves her life, and they live happily as a divine-like family in love for eternity. Like an arrow, this is straight to the heart of the questions that, in general, women wrestle with: Am I beautiful? Am I worth someone fighting for? Am I lovely?

Non-Traditional Vampires and Werewolves. In this movie, the vampire theme is distorted from the historical legacy. Yes, they need blood to survive. Yes, they are eternal beings who can be killed. Yes, they are extremely powerful. However, the main vampire “family” (the Cullens) in Twilight are like vegetarians, seeing their human blood lust as an evil they must live with but can abstain. Each vampire has a special ability of some sorts – compassion, mood control, reading minds, and even seeing the future. The vampire motif in this series is sort of a like a fallen divineness – changed, made eternal, given a new ability, yet still very flawed and still very dangerous.

Finally, the werewolves are the antithesis to the vampires. They spawn as a counter to the vampire to protect humans. They have extremely hot body temperatures as opposed to the ice cold bodies of the vampires. They are built to kill vampires and have an innate hatred for the “blood suckers”. These werewolves are the “good guys” and are not made from getting bit by a werewolf but from birth.

The Big Picture and Family. The love story begins when Bella and Edward meet, the human killing vampires bring the conflict, the werewolves rise up, more vampires try to destroy what the Cullens have in their family, marriage and parenthood happen, and one final confrontation arises to bring about freedom and eternal happiness as a family. This story is about more than just Edward and Bella but also family and how happiness is ultimately rooted in a family.

In Part 2, we’ll dig a little deeper. What about this story repulses and yet is so attractive? Where is the gospel in all this? Where are the dangers?

Twilight Part 2: The Gospel According to Twilight?

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