Cirque Du Freak The Vampire’s Assistant – Review
With this coming out next week on DVD and Blu Ray, I thought I’d post an earlier review.
Directed by Paul Weitz (American Pie & the upcoming Fockers sequel), Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is yet another film based on a set of children’s novels (12 books in the series). In order to save his best friend’s life, a young boy (Josh Hutcherson) agrees to become a half vampire, and assistant to Larten Crepsley (John C Reilly). In doing so, he entangles himself in a conspiracy to launch the next vampiric war. Without getting into too much detail, the film has a lot going on, so much so that it has a lot of problems focussing. There are so many interesting things in this story, but most are just lightly tapped upon. From what I’ve read, the first film is made up of the first 3 novels of the series. That’s a lot of story to cram into 105 minutes. This also caused a lot of pacing issues, which honestly almost caused me to nod off somewhere in the middle.
The acting is a mixed bag, some good, some bad. Performances from bigger name actors like Willem Dafoe and Salma Hayek are passible, but limited, while John C Reilly (who I usually can’t stand) actually delivers one of the better performances of his career. The scripting though, is probably the weakest part of the film, delivering often times dry and unatural dialogue. The effects are mediocre with a blend of digital and practical. The werewolf in particular looks stupid, but then again, the film’s target audience is pre-early teen. Overall though, I can’t help but to feel that Cirque Du Freak, with all it’s problems, could have been a much better film if just a little more care was taken with the source material. And in the end, we have a mediocre, if not watchable film based on (from what I’ve heard) a fantastic (and hard to find) set of books. Just keep in mind, I’m only recommending this to a younger audience. And for those interested, the film ends setting up the second trilogy of books as a sequel…