A Catholic bishops-backed group rode on the popularity of the vampire-themed film "Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2" to highlight its pro-life stance amid lingering debates on the reproductive health bill.
The film rating and classification body of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) recommended for young Filipinos the last installment of the four-part vampire film series, and even the book from which it was based.
CBCP's Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation (Cinema) gave Breaking Dawn a "moral rating" of 3.5, which is between the score of 3 points or "acceptable" and 4 points or "wholesome."
"Cinema recommends both the novel and the movie for teenagers as it brings into focus the value of marriage, the need to protect life in the womb and the importance of family," the group said in its blog.
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The endorsement comes as the House of Representatives recently adopted a new version of the Reproductive Health bill, particularly targeting poor families.
Breaking Dawn 2, based on a story by Stephanie Meyer, concludes the story of Bella Swan, a "newborn" vampire, and her vampire lover Edward Cullen.
In the movie, Bella, while still human, gave birth to "half-mortal, half-immortal" Renesmee, whose birth threatens a ruling vampire trinity called the Volturi.
The Volturi sets out to kill Renesmee and the Cullen clan which they assumed had turned her into a vampire.
"If there is one thing Breaking Dawn 2 emphasizes it is the importance of family and how one's love for them would compel us to sacrifice, fight and risk everything for their sake," Cinema said.
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The Catholic group went on to say that "Breaking Dawn 2—and perhaps the entire Twilight series—is not a vampire story where the creatures kill or are hunted but a story about love, acceptance, family and sacrifice..."
Netizens expressed mixed views on the recommendation, with some calling it "a joke" and others slamming how Pinoys are again "ganging up on CBCP."
"Woke up to the ultimate proof of kabobohan and katangahan of the CBCP: They endorse the 'Twilight' series," popular online activist Carlos Celdran said via Twitter.
Commenting on Celdran's tweet, blogger Noemi Lerdizabal-Dado posted: "I thought it was a joke."
"'Pro-life' really? I do not dislike Twilight but hearing it from the church.. it sounds so inappropriate," a Twitter user said.
"CBCP is anti-feminist, loves women who would die for their men. Ugh," Twitter user Rae Ducut meanwhile said, referring to Bella's human "death" in order to be born as vampire.
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Some Pinoys rushed to CBCP's defense, however.
"If the CBCP is against a certain movie, negative comments from people. If the CBCP endorses a certain movie, negative pa din. #whereto," one Twitter user said.
Another user posted: "Geez. Now they're ganging up on CBCP again, this time for 'endorsing' Breaking Dawn 2. Kaya nga 3.5/5 stars lang ang moral assessment e!"
Other tweeps also seemed to make a good laugh of the matter, with one posting: "Hoy CBCP, endorse nyo rin ang Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Be fair. Hahahaha!"
Aside from commenting on the moral of the film, Cinema also commented on its technical aspect which it claimed is "remarkably clean and enjoyable."
"There is that seemless overlapping of real action and CGIs that audience can easily get lost inside the fantasy world," Cinema said.
"Storywise, it did stay faithful to the book but interpreted it a tad too slow and trite with too much sentimentality and MTV-moments," it added.