Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

"Actually, the trick totrying to stay awake falling asleep is ."

Two friends looking for something interesting accidently stumble into a supernatural freak show, and brewing vampire civil war.

In my review of Pandorum I said that I had trouble writing it because the movie left me unsure how I felt about it. With The Vampire's Assistant, it's not that I'm not sure how to feel-it's that I don't feel anything at all. I cannot remember another time- though I'm sure one exists- that I had such a ho-hum movie theater experience. When it comes to my thoughts, my mental word processor is almost always set to bold. Whatever I'm feeling be it love, hate, or even confusion, I feel it through and through. With this movie I felt complete indifference.
Performances in the Vampire's Assistant all run Luke warm. They have their peaks and valleys but maintain a pretty even keel. John C. Reilly leads his humdrum army with not a roar, but a passive-aggressive growl. In some moments -particularly when Larten Crepsley is being a bit of a jerk- he is believable at best, but in most he squeezes just barely into the role like a pair of pants one size too small.
The story also adheres strictly to this law of averages. For every interesting thought thrown out (a seer who can't hear her own predictions) there is another that is so done to death that it smells funny in the theater when the characters mention it (there are two vampire sects: The fluffy human friendly ones, and the kill loving mean ones). The only thing this movie really did to surprise me was find a way to somehow make a giant spider adorable- which may not sound like much to you but realize that it's being said by an admitted arachnophobe. It's not much, but it's something.
And then there's the pacing. By no means is a movie required to go slow. To the contrary, too much down time can be a death sentence to certain films. But that said, I could have used a breath in the middle of this one. The Vampire's Assistant races along like it's got something really important to show you, but unless that something is the credits- it's just racing to race. Maybe it's just really excited to show us it's cliffhanger ending! I mean, why bother just making a movie when you can start a trilogy right?
I've heard fans of the books express fears that their beloved series will be lost in the vampire (ahem) revival that pop culture has going right now, or in the undead whirlwind that the Twilight series has kicked up. Well, I'm here to put those fears to rest. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant will not be lost in the shuffle because of Twilight. It will be lost in the shuffle because there's absolutely nothing that makes it stand out.

Watcher X says: "On the movie tickets the title is abreiviated as 'The Vampire's Ass'. Foreshadowing anyone?"

Reel Deal Recommends:
Anything else John C. Reilly has been in, even Talladega Nights.

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