Based on the children’s book by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg and the 2000 live action film, this animated version has its own charm but lacks in solid character development.
There is no denying that this film will not probably change the world for the better – but it is still pleasantly entertaining nevertheless with its gentle humour as well as the numerous action sequences which will keep children entertained.
For those who haven’t read the book or seen the original 2000 live action film, The Young Vampire follows the story of Tony as he attempts to save the lives of vampire Rudolph and his family from the ruthless vampire hunter Rookery.
Directed by Richard Claus and Karsten Killerich, this is a film that will probably be best enjoyed by younger audience members as there is nothing really sophisticated about the plot or script that will entertain adults as well. By keeping the plot and characters so simple, it can make the film slightly flat in tone and doesn’t offer anything new in terms of what animation films have already achieved for children.
Part of the problem is the script which keeps the characters very one dimensional, leading to the dialogue feeling slightly stilted in delivery by the cast, particularly in the opening scenes at Rudolph’s birthday party it seems that none of the cast have settled into their roles . There is no real personality or emotional engagement to keep children interested – despite having quite a few action sequences that are quite entertaining.
However, there are still a couple of lovely performances to enjoy – not least Jim Carter as Rookery, who is delightfully villainous – without it coming across as pantomime like. Miriam Margolyes and Graham Clarke also offer a couple of hilarious performances as Wulftrud and Otto retrospectively.
While the characterisations are slightly hit and miss, The Little Vampire has a strong message at the heart of it, celebrating people’s differences as well as working well with those who are different to help create a better world and to overcome prejudices.
The animation is clear and crisp, but feels as though it plays it slightly safe – which is how the whole film ends up feeling like. But it does pay particular attention to detail as the scenes set down by the lake and at the Bed and Breakfast show perfectly.
Overall, it is an entertaining film for children but for adults sitting with them at the cinema might grow slightly frustrated at the one-tone style in which the story unfolds. It is just slightly lacking in bite.
The Little Vampire will be released in cinemas from the 25th May.