Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movie: Daybreakers

This is one of those posts where I inflict my nerd on you guys. So...you've been warned. There is no substantive information in this post, aside from wild, dare I say it, 'academic' speculation.

For those who know nothing of this movie, the basic premise is that approximately ten years ago, there was an outbreak of a virus that turned the vast majority of the human race into vampires. Transmitted originally from a bat bite (we're not told *how* this bat got this mutated virus), it was thence transferred through the bits of humans-turned-vampire feeding, until the human population is 'endangered'. At the point in time when the movie opens, the remaining humans are kept in 'blood banks' and bled dry to feed the vampire population, and the 'free range' humans are being hunted down. The vampires have reached a critical point, where if they don't find a substitute for human blood (they can feed on animals, but the virus turns the animals into vampires, and so that population has been depleted as well) they will run out of blood in a month, and that's no good, because at that point the lack of blood begins to mutate them into these batlike monsters they call Subsiders (the hunger also drives them to feed on other vampires, which speeds up the mutation). So, there's the set up. Of course, there's a human resistance, and they find a vampire who doesn't want to be a vampire, who wants to help the humans, and they search for a cure, and there's lots of fighting and blood. All the things we need for a good vampire movie. That's not the point though. Here's the point:

Early in the movie, we see that the vampires don't have reflections. This is a common bit of vampire lore, that they cast no reflection. Now, most legends would say it's because they have no soul, what with them being damned reanimated corpses and all. However, let's be fair and say that, even in the legends, that makes not a bit of sense. I will accept the lack of reflection in mythologies where the vampires contain some sort of mystical factor. For instance, in those worlds where a vampire can turn into mist, bats, wolves, or any sort of animal for that matter, control peoples minds, etc. I can accept that there may be a magical reasoning behind the lack of reflection. However, in worlds where that is not the case, most authors give the vampires reflections. Why? Because they have solid forms, and therefore should, according to the laws of physics vis a vis light, cast reflections.

Have you figured out my problem yet?

In the world of 'Daybreakers', the vampires do not possess any sort of magical 'touch'. Everything that they are is a mutation caused by a virus. It's a 'scientific' universe. So why, pray tell, do the vampires not reflect?

A friend of mine, while we were discussing this on our walk, brought up the example of the Invisible Man, saying, perhaps, that there was some sort of chemical component to the mutated virus that caused light to refract around the vampires. I have to reject this theory based on the fact that the vampires were not, in point of fact, invisible. They could see and be seen. Just not in a mirror. She then brought up Superman's x-ray vision, asking if he could have seen the Invisible Man, and no, I'm not sure where she was going with this one, and I said yes, but now I wonder...depending on how the Invisible Man's ability worked, x-ray's may have bent around him too. Which begs the question, could Superman see Wonder Woman's invisible plane?

And...this is why I have no life. :)


  1. LOL I love that you noticed that. I can say this much: At least they dont sparkle :)

  2. LK,

    They made it perfectly obvious. I can suspend my disbelief in any way you want, but for the love of Pete, give me consistency within your universes rules! That's all I ask...

    The vampires did at least look right, and, *not sparkle*!

  3. Ha, ha...you are so funny! Sorry that I have no answers to this most-serious problem. It's too cute that you and your friend were discussing this. :)

  4. Susanne,

    The best part is that this discussion took us probably 15-20 minutes to have. She kept bringing up, 'well what about...' and I kept having to say, 'given what we're told about the way vampirism works in this universe..'

    Anyone who overheard us thinks we're nuts. Which isn't wrong...

  5. Yes, I'd say that's quite a question you have there. I think that's something we have in common - always asking for logic in theatrical storylines.

    I remember the last time I had an interesting debate with a friend when we saw Jurassic Park where these people were in a huge trailer-type vehicle and the T-rex was pushing them to the edge of a cliff. They were all struggling in that vehicle trying to save themselves. And just as that trailer fell off the edge, they managed to grab on to a rope.

    But I raised the question on the logic of that. Grabbing on to a rope when falling off a cliff, I'd imagine the rope would cut into the flesh, assuming that one has the strength to actually grip the rope. And so we had a debate of almost half an hour without finding a logical explanation, of course.

    Unfortunately, most movie makers have to satisfy the appetite of the audience as much as they can, even if they have to defy logic in the process. People fighting with one another can hit the face several times and the fight continues for a long time. But actually, having been involved in fist fights when I was a little boy, one punch in the face is enough to put down an opponent.

    So, yes, vampires should have reflections in the mirror, but there is nothing fascinating about that. Take away those reflections and people who're great fans of vampires won't fell cheated. But of course people like you and I wouldn't be entirely happy with that.

  6. Cornelius,

    Hah. I mean, is it really that hard for them to make sense? No, no it's not. It's just lazy is all.

    Oooohhh...I remember that scene. Yeah, assuming they all had the strength to grab the rope in the first place, and the blind luck to be in the right place to do so, they should have ripped the skin/flesh off their hands, the pain of which would likely have made them loose their grips anyway, and plummet to their dooms.

    And, for the most part, I let stuff like that go. I mean, it's a movie. I get that. I can suspend my logic, to a certain point. But when they establish rules, and then break them for 'artistic license' or whatever. Well, it's just sloppy, is all. :)

    I am a big vampire fan. Really, put a vampire in anything, and I'll at least give it a chance. And that's part of what makes me so critical of stuff like this. There's established precedence for this sort of thing. It's not even like they're breaking new ground with the concept of vampirism as a virus or mutation.

    *sigh* Okay. I'm done ranting. Promise. :)

  7. I have blogged about this. But please answer this one nerd to another...

    you get bitten by a vampire, ok, so now all of a sudden like the matrix you have been down loaded to know Kung Fu?

    Why is it that in all films containing vampires since 1980, do all vampires know karate?

    Blade never turns into mist? they always turned into mist... go figure

  8. Slice,

    Not only do they know karate, but they're *ninjas*. I don't know. I guess it just looks cool, but yeah. It's a problem. And it's not just movies. Almost anything with a vampire, they become a vampire, and they suddenly know how to fight. There're only a few I've come across where this just isn't so. I mean, sure, super strong - that doesn't mean you know how to throw a punch all of a sudden.


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