by Shannon Huebscher
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With the recent popularity of the Twilight series, the DVD release of Fallen is likely to attract attention of those within the same audience. Although Fallen doesn’t have any vampires like Twilight offers, there is the element of the supernatural, a love story, and a very attractive lead character who, coincidentally, portrays a vampire in the hit CW show called The Vampire Diaries. Built-in audience, yes indeed!
Originally published in 2003 as a novel for children ages 9-12, Fallen is the story of Aaron Corbett (played by Paul Wesley), who on his 18th birthday, slowly begins to realize that he isn’t like other kids his age. He can suddenly translate and speak foreign languages, he can slow time down at will, and can even communicate with his Labrador Retriever, named Gabriel. We are introduced to his family and learn that he was adopted only three years prior, and had been in the foster care system since birth and knows nothing about his biological parents. It isn’t until a strange encounter with a homeless man named Ezekiel (played by Tom Skerritt) that Aaron learns he is a Nephilim, or a half-breed between angel and human, and his journey to find out who he really is begins.
Fallen originally aired on ABC Family as a two-hour film, and then was followed up in 2007 with four mini-episodes, bringing the entire series into four hours. The DVD release this month is all on one DVD, and divided into Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. What’s frustrating about this DVD is that because the original release of Fallen was for television, there are fade-out breaks every 6-8 minutes, even though it wasn’t technically a series but a continuation of a made for television movie. There are also no bonus features on the DVD, which I imagine many young girls will be bummed about.
The story of Fallen is actually quite intriguing, and Paul Wesley portrays Aaron very convincingly. He shows teenage angst without being stereotypical, and his brooding eyes are certainly swoon-worthy. However, the remainder of the film leaves much to be desired. Without giving away too much, Aaron’s character discovers he is more than just half-angel/half-human, he was born with extra powers to give him the ability to redeem other fallen angels, and thus they are able to return to heaven for eternity rather than be confined to Earth. The twist is why he has these special powers, but this isn’t revealed until close to the end of the film, and isn’t much of a surprise even then. The theme of the Nephilim being both human and angel reveal that although being an angel has its benefits, it’s the power of humanity that gives them the advantage over other angels.
Surprisingly, there is very little chemistry between Aaron and Vilma (played by Fernanda Andrade), his crush from high school and later confidante. Their interactions have no fire power, so it’s hard to believe their relationship, particularly that of high schoolers, is real. Also, the special effects are mediocre, particularly when their wings pop out and fly around in the air - they look so obviously fake that it was comical.
The idea behind Fallen has the potential to be a great film, but unfortunately it only found an outlet on the small screen. Even though the effects are lackluster and the DVD is over four hours long, the story kept me entertained and can certainly see it finding a happy audience with many tweens and Twilight fans alike.
Shannon Huebscher Shannon Huebscher is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis.
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