Volume 94, Issue 34
Tuesday, October 31, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Bloodsucking good time
Gazette File Photo
The Little Vampire
Starring: Jonathan Lipnicki, Rollo Weeks, Jim Carter, Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Uli Edel
By Jared Rochwerg
It just seems natural to release The Little Vampire during the week of Halloween. Unfortunately, it seems the brains behind this film spent a little too much time coming up with great marketing ideas when they could have been improving the script.
Adapted from the Angela Sommer-Bodenburg's novel of the same name, The Little Vampire is the story of Tony, played by Jerry Maguire's Jonathan Lipnicki. He moves from America to the Scottish countryside, where his parents (Pamel Gidley and Tommy Hinkley) have relocated so that Tony's dad can construct a golf resort on the estate of the snooty and eccentric Lord McAshton (John Wood).
Every night in his new house, Tony has horrible nightmares about vampires. He soon becomes absorbed by his dreams and begins studying every book he can find on the subject. He gets teased mercilessly at school about his vampire obsession, especially by Nigel and Flint, Lord McAshton's cruel nephews. Tony is a lovable character who is desperately lonely and in need of a friend in his new home.
His adventures begin when he befriends a child vampire named Rudolph (Rollo Weeks), who flies into Tony's window one night, mistaking Tony for one of his own kind. Rudolph flies Tony up into the sky where he meets Rudolph's family, who have spent an eternity seeking an elusive amulet that will help them escape their vampire fate.
The one evil character in the movie, Rookery (Jim Carter), is a vampire hunter whose purpose is to kill Rudolph and Tony the old fashioned way, with stakes through their hearts or with the missing stone they are searching for. When used in conjunction with another amulet, this stone will send them straight to Hell. Tony uses all of his efforts to do what he can to help Rudolph and his vampire family while they all try to avoid Rookery.
Jonathan Lipnicki does a commendable job as Tony. He hasn't grown out of his adorable role in Jerry Maguire, which was a great surprise. His quirky edginess and wonderful interaction with the other actors make him a treat to watch.
Conversely, Richard E. Grant portrays Rollo's father and looks absolutely miserable in this movie. It seems as though the only reason he's in this film is to collect his paycheque. His sub-par effort is truly a disappointment
The biggest problem with The Little Vampire is its seeming aimlessness. Throughout most of the script, writers Larry Wilson and Karey Kirkpatrick are undecided about the movie's purpose. It is as if they couldn't make up their minds about whether they wanted to write a kids' fantasy that may appeal to adults, or a film with more of an adult twist that would still be interesting to children.
Having said that, this is certainly not a bad movie. It offers great special effects, imagination, humour and maybe even some goosebumps. While the writing is not top notch, The Little Vampire is indeed an enjoyable movie.
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