Only an Allusion?: Star Trek Into Darkness and the Death of Literary Literacy

I don’t get to see that many movies in the theater, although I do serve as our Hogwarts Film-Fancier in Chief. Now that we’re done with new Harry Potters and Twilight films (at least until the inevitable re-boots), I’m patiently waiting for Catching Fire this fall, but I did recently get to catch Star Trek into Darkness. I am an unabashed Star Trek fancier as well, having really enjoyed writing “Shakespeare (and the Rest of the Great Books) in the Original Klingon” for the newly released Star Trek and History. Though I enjoyed the film very much, I noticed that it was loaded with plenty of wonderful allusions to other pieces of the Star Trek universe, but somewhere along the way, had lost one of the most important features of that universe: its deft use of literary allusions. So join me in the transporter room as we beam around the beautiful and complex world of literary allusions and think about why it’s so troubling that we see them less and less these days, in both books and films, or that people don’t recognize them when they see them. Energize!
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Katniss and Bella Fight to the Death in Meadow!

And the bad news from Forks just keeps getting worse. The fourth fire since November has burnt down a building in the hometown of the Cullens and Swans, this one the big garage where they kept the fire truck… Between the deaths in the meadow at the start of the Hunger Games on the Olympic Peninsula, look for an exodus from Forks soon.

Hat tips to Dave for the Forks news and to Sharon for the video!

Fire In Forks: Life Imitating Art Finale? Aro’s Revenge?

A good friend who lives on the Olympic Peninsula wrote me late last year that they had a fire in the city of Forks:

BTW, did you hear that a fire in Forks destroyed the Dazzled by Twilight store there a few weeks ago?  The store had already closed in January and its Port Angeles branch the month before:

Fire Closes Schools, Destroys Two Buildings
Page to Premiere: Dazzled by Twilight Destroyed by Fire
Peninsula Daily News: Twilight Eatery Closes in Forks
TwiFans: ‘Dazzled’ Shuttered

I hadn’t heard about the Forks fire; an apt metaphor, alas, for the peaking to diminishing ardor of the Twihards? Big flame-out at finale? Or is this the revenge of Aro? I visited Forks for the ‘Summer School’ FanCon that was held there when I was writing Spotlight: The Artistry and Meaning of Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight Saga and I confess there was an unreal air about the community’s identification with and excitement about Bella and Edward’s love story.

What are your thoughts? Should we expect the same sort of unhappy ending, albeit in less dramatic fashion, for the Twilight fan base? Is Fifty Shades its future? Or will it re-invent itself now that the movies are done as Harry Potter fandom has post-Deathly Hallows publication and cinema treatment (or as Trekkies did after the first series was cancelled)?

Sharon Slade Jackson: The Final Meadow Scene of ‘Breaking Dawn 2’ Departs From and Resonates With Last Book’s Ending

The Twilight Saga Movie Ending: The Final Meadow Scene

By Sharon Slade Jackson

As Elizabeth Baird Hardy has already shown in her review of the final Twilight Saga movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2 stays fairly close to the last third of Breaking Dawn, with most changes being for the purpose of streamlining the story for the viewing audience. Some of the changes are large, but several tweaks appear minor at first – a different character says a particular line than says that line in the book, for example – yet when we examine them more closely, we see that they have a larger impact on the storyline than would first appear.

One such alteration was the setting of the final scene, where Bella is finally able to remove her mind shield and share her memories with Edward, revealing the depth of her love for him fully for the first time. In Breaking Dawn, this scene happens in Bella and Edward’s cottage; in the movie, it occurs in Edward’s meadow.

Before I examine the significance of this change, let me first explain why this scene is important. [Read more…]

The Break Down on Breaking Dawn Part 2: Best of Series

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say up front that this is not a movie review. I am not a film critic (a fact that I am sure is patently obvious to my friends who are film critics and scoff at my preference for Indiana Jones over Citizen Kane and The Princess Pride over Pulp Fiction). I am a literary critic, so what follows is actually a literary critic’s reaction to a film based on a book. In fact, before the film started, a well-meaning former student sitting in front of me asked me the trite “team affiliation ” question, to which I responded stiffly, ” I am Team Literary Unity,” prompting some head scratching from many of the people sitting around me.

In any case, this analysis breaks a number of rules one might see in a film review. Primarily, I will make no attempt whatsoever to keep secrets, so this is a post best suited for the readers who have no intention of seeing the film or for those who have also seen it and would like to join our thoughtful conversation about what works, what doesn’t, and why, on nearly every level, this is the best film of the five, despite some very troubling elements. So drag that rock over here, Emmett, because I am rolling up my sleeve and getting ready to rumble. [Read more…]