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Loosely adapted from the book by Annette Curtis Klause, the film versions of BLOOD & CHOCOLATE ($27) leaves its viewers with a sense that they’ve seen this particular movie plot about a thousand times before. BLOOD & CHOCOLATE was produced by the same folks who were responsible for UNDERWORLD, who obviously don’t want to mess with their formula for success on this film, so they trot out the old Romeo and Juliet motif of innocent young love and doomed romance to tell its tale of a werewolf and a human falling in love, instead of a werewolf and a vampire. In the film’s favor is director Katja von Garnier, who brings a great deal of visual interest and style to what would otherwise be very pedestrian PG-13 proceedings.

BLOOD & CHOCOLATE tells the story of Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) an American werewolf in Bucharest, who lives with her aunt Astrid (Katja Riemann) in the aftermath of her immediate family being killed. Destined to be the next bride of Gabriel (Olivier Martinez), the werewolf leader of the pack, Vivian instead falls in love with Aiden (Hugh Dancy), an American graphic artist, who is studying the local folklore about werewolves for his latest project. Of course, Vivian’s family tries to come between her and true love, which leads to the typical tragic circumstances and much bloodshed. The cast of BLOOD & CHOCOLATE also features Bryan Dick, Chris Geere, Tom Harper, John Kerr, Jack Wilson, Vitalie Ursu, Bogdan Voda, and Kata Dobó.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made BLOOD & CHOCOLATE available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. A fullscreen presentation is also available on the disc, but the comments in this review will pertain to the wide screen version of the film. The widescreen presentation produces a sharp and nicely defined image. Colors tend to be strongly rendered, but the nighttime sequences do take on a more subdued palette. Blacks appear pure, whites are clean, and the picture produces fairly smooth contrast and good shadow detail. The film element used for the transfer appears virtually pristine, while the grain structure remains at a fairly modest level for a dark movie. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

BLOOD & CHOCOLATE comes with a well-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Much of the time, the sound design isn't particularly aggressive, but it all comes together rather nicely during key moments. For the most part, the track is atmospheric, with the outlying channels adding mild active effects, ambience and musical fill. Fidelity is quite strong; the music has an excellent sense of presence and the sound effect being genuinely convincing. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains good intelligibility. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Director Katja Von Garnier and actor Olivier Martinez are on hand for a running Audio Commentary. Fifteen Deleted Scenes are also present.

BLOOD & CHOCOLATE certainly has a sense of visual style; I only wish the film’s screenplay offered director Katja Von Garnier something more to work with. Sony’s DVD looks and sounds great. If you are interested in seeing Romeo and Juliet played out with werewolves, BLOOD & CHOCOLATE isn’t a bad way to kill an evening.



Blood & Chocolate (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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