Amelia; I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant; Saw VI; Astro Boy
The other Weitz comes up short with a soul-sucking snoozefest
by Ian "ProfessorClumsy" Maddison
EXPECTATIONS: Twilight for boys -- three words that don't instill any kind of excitement in me. At best, this will be the G.I. Joe to Twilight's My Little Pony. At worst, it will be a pile of tosh aimed at self-centred little boys. My money is on the latter.
REALITY: Teen angst vampires are something of a phenomenon of late. I have no idea why youngsters who are bored with the blandness of normal life should wish to become vampires at the drop of a hat. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant has made me none-the-wiser.
Driven by his aforementioned boredom, Darren Shan feels compelled to go and see a freak show. Here, his friend Steve recognises one of the performers as a vampire from "one of his vampire books" and decides to appeal to him to become a vampire himself. Darren, on the other hand -- and this is going to sound goofy -- steals the vampire's rainbow-coloured spider and ends up becoming a half-vampire himself. The film then becomes an endless barrage of new sub-plots piled onto each other in an unstable fashion, as Darren falls in love with a monkey girl, gets embroiled in a war between good vampires and evil vampires, and has to fight his bloodlust.
John C. Reilly turns in a great performance as the vampire Larten Crepsley, even though he doesn't have a particularly imposing presence. You'd hardly imagine him being a figure of idolatry for two young boys, but he overcomes this all the same. However, his character lacks imagination, pulling super vampire powers out of his arse whenever it pleases him, like super vampire hypnotism and super vampire date-rape breath.
While The Vampire's Assistant starts fairly well, playing up the mundane world for laughs with bizarre hairstyles and clever dialogue, it doesn't really add up to an awful lot. I was praying for the film to stop long before it actually came to any kind of conclusion.Overall, this attempt to somewhat modernise the vampire mythos is lost in a crowded genre, not least of all because it's just a bit dull. I certainly don't hold out much hope for the future of the franchise.
RATING (OUT OF 5)