3 May 2013

Sci-Fi London Opening Night: Screening of Byzantium

I was most graciously invited to the opening night of Sci-Fi London 2013 by Frank of E2Hub fame to see Byzantium. I'd been holed up for the last few weeks making sure I was writing everyday after work, so I guess I didn't mind breaking the routine. So I dragged myself out to remedy my deprived social quota (like when you play The Sims  and your sim's social meter is in the red?)

I have good hair* and also I'm having fun...right?
(*colour tones may differ from actual hair colour)
Obligatory Storm Troopers at a Sci-Fi event
So, about the movie: Byzantium. It's brought to us by the director of 'Interview with a Vampire' which I can't really remember, other than realising that little girl in there was Kristen Dunst. Byzantium benefits from having a strong cast, (if you disregard how utterly ridiculous our Gemma Arterton was in Prince of Persia) but alas, the union of good director and cast does not a strong film make.

Obligatory Red Riding Hood hood needed to denote alternative gothicness
Courtesy of http://theartsyfilmblog.com/

You are now entering the domain of *SPOILER ALERTS* Sam

1. I appreciate that it was a completely different take on the vampire story and mythos and it focused on a mother-daughter dynamic. So, it's not what you expect at all, which is so refreshing because let's face it, vamp stuff is so overdone right now; we're continually force-fed blackened and charred fodder and forced to nod our heads. (Also, it wasn't what I would call your typical sci-fi - if it hadn't been screened at the Sci-Fi London, I wouldn't have tagged it sci-fi. But then the genre is hard to pin, sort of gothic-esque? - good or no? Not sure...)
2. The opening chase scene was pretty riveting - this wasn't Daniel Craig leaping about doing parkour shit or whatever but a prozzie running through buildings, in her trainers! +10 points. 
3. The cast - everyone played their parts very solidly. 
4. Pretty scenery and sets - I know I should elaborate here also but yeh...

1. It was tres slow and lacked any real sense of pacing. It was as if the movie was a dying a slow death after that one chase scene. There were too many lingering shots of Saoirse Ronan - she's got that interessant face but please, there's only so much of her vacant stares you can handle.
2. Confusing jumps between times - this essentially just makes you realise it's a movie about unveiling the origin of our MCs' predicament, slowly and achingly drip fed. It did relay the sense of elongated time as vampires who now live 'forever' - unless someone machetes your head off with a Byzantium blade - or wire/floss?
3. Over cooked moments - the blood waterfalls for example and the 'telling' of how becoming a vamp gives you a new vision through new eyes but not really showing that? I think the filmmakers thought mystery and prolonged anticipation (and heavy handed voice over) makes up for lack of clear story and motivations of characters.
4. General plot or character choices... leading to:

What the hay..?! moment:
Why, if you were a prozzie all your 'mortal' life til the point of near death, would you choose to remain in said profession after being given the gift of eternal life? Really, truly, there has to be a better way.

Why I'll never get vamp flicks:
When are people, sorry badly written characters going to GET over themselves? The end, in which lanky dying boy is taken to Isla de Muerta (I've named it that because so many questions are just gleaned over in the movie) to become a 'sucrient' - why does everyone relinquish humanity?!! You're going to need to drink blood - one drink, one drink - for the rest of endless time. Reconsider my friend, reconsider. (sure I get it's like drinking water after an insane thirst but still...after 100 years, it'll get old...) Also, think about your parents!
And why don't modern vampires just raid some blood banks? Or do they need it warm, 'fresh'? They can warm it up themselves, non? Have mulled blood? *shudder* Just got an image of a flamboyant vamp swirling a wine glass filled with blood, sniffing it. "Vintage blood from the Bordeaux region? Excellent."Or perhaps to break from the mundanity of how he consumes his 'aqua vitae', he makes a blood sorbet?


Lesson to be learned: Don't go out to fill up your social quota, chose writing every time :P

So not appropriate but what the hay! The Sims 3 Music


  1. Sir, clearly you misunderstood the reason why Vampires "drink blood"... The "trust/hunger" is not for liquid nor food, but for "life". "Blood is life", which corresponds to both all belief system/ doctrine. Good day.

  2. I don't misunderstand the reason vampires drink blood, I can't comprehend why anyone would choose to become a vampire of their own free will and subscribe to that willingly.

    And seeing as I can't know your gender from your title, I won't presume to call you 'Sir' or 'Madam'. But I certainly am not a 'sir'. Good day to you too :)