THE LITTLE VAMPIRE
Although it's supposed to be a kidís movie, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE ($25) is one of the most enjoyable surprises that I've popped into my DVD player in quite some time. THE LITTLE VAMPIRE is a genuine delight that will appeal to school age kids, as well as their parents, which provides a whole lot of laughs and some creepy cool horror movie inspired atmosphere. Even the CGI special effects are very good, with computer generated vampire cows being one of the most inspired and amusing uses of the technology that I've seen. The vampire cows give the movie's imagery just the right amount of comic fairy tale charm, thanks to the fact that the effects never push for stark realism. My only reservation about THE LITTLE VAMPIRE is for the smaller tykes, who may become frightened during a couple of scenes in which the creatures of the night bare their fangs.
THE LITTLE VAMPIRE is based upon the books by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg and tells the story of an American boy Tony Thompson (Jonathan Lipnicki) who has moved to Scotland with his parents, after his father takes on the job of designing a new golf resort. Because he is an American, Tony is something of an outcast with the local children, however his wild tales about his vampire nightmares make him a regular target for the class bullies. As you might expect, Tony's parents are concerned about his nightmares and his inability to make new friends, but the situation changes when Tony's vampire games attract the attention of a real vampire boy named Rudolph (Rollo Weeks). Although initially afraid, Tony befriends Rudolph when he learns that he and his vampire family don't dine on people, but subsist on the blood of cows. Through his friendship with Rudolph, Tony develops the courage to help protect his new friends from an obsessed vampire hunter, while helping them locate a magic amulet that may be able to make them all human again. As I stated above, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE is a very funny movie that benefits from jokes, slapstick, amusing visuals and solid performances that don't play down to a juvenile level. The cast of THE LITTLE VAMPIRE also features Richard E. Grant, Jim Carter, Alice Krige, Pamela Gidley, Tommy Hinkley, Anna Popplewell, Dean Cook, John Wood, Ed Stoppard Jake D'Arcy, Iain De Caestecker, Scott Fletcher and. Johnny Meres.
As usual, New Line Home Video has done a standout job with the presentation of THE LITTLE VAMPIRE on DVD. The dual layer DVD offers a choice of full screen and wide screen versions, but I'll confine my comments to the 16:9 enhanced presentation. Framed at 1.85:1, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE really looks terrific on DVD. The image is sharp, crystal clear and beautifully detailed. There are occasional soft shots, but there is nothing to really complain about. Although the movie has a lot of dark sequences, there is very little appreciable film grain present. Colors tend to be fully saturated, with natural looking flesh tones for all but the undead characters in the film. Blue and red lighting is effectively used in key scenes, however none of the intense hues cause any problems with chromatic distortion or bleeding. Blacks are accurately rendered, with the picture displaying excellent shadow detail and depth.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack provides a good level of ambient atmosphere, as well as some nicely deployed directional effects that do make use of the split surrounds. Channel separation is quite good across the forward sound stage and dialogue reproduction is clean, natural and fully intelligible. The bass channel lays a solid foundation that enhances the sound effects, although it never becomes artificially boomy. Overall, this is a very good soundtrack that parents will appreciate more than their kids. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound all serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menu system, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extras geared towards the kids. There are three interactive games, jokes and recipes that the kids will enjoy after watching the movie. A theatrical trailer and cast filmographies will appeal to the older viewers. THE LITTLE VAMPIRE is also DVD-ROM enabled, offering access to the original screenplay, theatrical website and web links.
THE LITTLE VAMPIRE proved to be rib-tickling fun that plays well with both kids and parents. Once again, New Line delivers the goods with a first rate DVD presentation. If you are going to pick up THE LITTLE VAMPIRE for the kids anyway, make sure you are picking up the DVD for yourself.
DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE
CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written
consent of the publisher.
reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.