I always had a soft spot for monsters in novels and films. If there is a mummy, zombie, vampire, Frankenstein, or werewolf somewhere in the mix you can bet that I'll probably check it out at some point or another. After watching this movie I started thinking that maybe I should revise that particular policy.
About ten years ago Annette Curtis Klause released a young-adult book entitled "Blood and Chocolate". It was a light and enjoyable read that offered an interesting story with memorable characters. Featuring a tale of tragic love between a human and a loup-garoux (werewolf) the story was captivating enough to leave an impression. Unfortunately the movie by the same name just doesn't resonate in similar fashion.
I suppose that's one of the problems with bringing a novel to the big screen; you're going to be judged based upon your origin. If the movie is not as good as or better than the book then it will be looked upon as a failure. After watching it, I have to say that while Blood and Chocolate may not be a total loss (though it mostly is) it is certainly nowhere near as good as Klause's work, or other werewolf/romantic drama films for that matter.
The problems started for Blood and Chocolate right from the beginning, before the filming even took place. The bigwigs upstairs decided to take the quality and intrigue out of Klause's story and turn it into a watered down tween love horror flick without the horror. Ok, I get that this is supposed to be some twisted kind of date movie for werewolf freaks but even date movies need to have a meaningful plot. The soul of the film was taken out and all we're left with is a hollow love plot filled with people who can turn into wolves.
If you thought other tween horror flicks like The Covenant were lame wait until you see a bunch of pretentious youths strutting around on screen doing extreme things like jumping off a wall for no reason. While watching Blood and Chocolate I was reminded of some emo music video from MTV where everyone is afflicted with teenage angst. Then again if I was able to turn into a puppy I'd be pretty frumpy too, what with all those rabies shots and everything.
While most things have been altered from Klause's novel the core tale about the forbidden love between man and loup-garoux remains the focal point. The movie follows the life of Vivian, who is heir to a long and noble bloodline. Sure she may be a teenage hottie but when she was younger her whole family was killed because of what they were. Now she lives in Romania with her fellow wolves where they are ruled by a guy named Gabriel.
During the day she delivers chocolates and at night she runs for the sake of running. Shortly before she is to be mated with Gabriel she bumps into a starving artist type who is trying too hard to look like Orlando Bloom. It's basically love at first sight and the two begin a dangerous courtship. Considering he's generally what would be served instead of kibbles and bits it's only natural that Vivian gets some flack from the rest of her kind.
From this point the movie follows the two through their courtship as it constantly, and weakly, tries thrusting a lycanthropic wedge in between them. Queue up some lame fight scenes and a few hormonal spats and you have the makings of a very boring affair. Honestly though, Blood and Chocolate is supposed to be a romantic horror movie and in both regards it fails considerably. I found myself laughing through most of it and that's a sad statement because this is by no means a comedy. There were a few moments in between the blah where some promise was shown but those were fleeting to say the least. If you're really curious I suppose you could always rent Blood and Chocolate but my advice is to skip it all together.
Presented on a 25 GB single layer disc, Blood and Chocolate comes with a 2:35:1 widescreen transfer and 1080p output with MPEG-2 codec. Ironically even though the film isn't a worthwhile watch, the transfer here is quite stunning. It's a sad statement really but it's nice to know that if you happen to check the movie out on Blu-ray you're at least in for a treat.
The disc offers a clean, vibrant image that is appropriately saturated for the films material. There is a certain glossy effect to many scenes and in the "scary" bits (or at least the parts that are supposed to be) things become noticeably grittier. It's an effect that works well and you have to hand it to the cinematographer Brendan Galvin for his artistic vision. If I have any complaint regarding the picture quality in Blood and Chocolate it would be that the sharpness isn't quite up to high definition standards. Overall the transfer here is very good and even though the film disappoints at least the video quality is superb.
The audio quality in Blood and Chocolate isn't quite as impressive as the video but it's acceptable enough for the style of film this is. This release offers 5.1 audio tracks for English and French which are essentially what you'd find on the Standard Definition version.
The Blu-ray steps things up a bit with a PCM 5.1 Uncompressed English track that is slightly better in quality when compared to the other inclusions on the disc. Even so, the volume balance isn't quite as handled as one might expect. Background noises and music tend to overshadow dialogue which can obviously be a bit of a pain. The channel mix is also not as potent as it could have been with the rear speakers kicking in only at points where action is concerned. Ambient noise, dialogue, and sounds effects are a little too subtle on the rear channels when compared to other films. The overall quality is decent but it's not entirely impressive.
The Blu-ray release for Blood and Chocolate receives a few snippets of bonus material but nothing really groundbreaking. Apart from some trailers for other films there are some (15) Deleted Scenes available here that truly add little to the experience. The only real attraction to the special features menu is the commentary with Director Katja Von Garnier and Actor Olivier Martinez (Gabriel). For the most part both commentators discuss the happenings on screen though Garnier chimes in significantly more than Martinez does. Honestly though, neither adds much to the film by talking about it and there are many spots during the commentary that there is dead silence.
As a lover of werewolf films and b-movies I wanted to enjoy Blood and Chocolate. Unfortunately the film is merely a shadow of Klause's novel that bears similarity in namesake alone. In so many ways this movie was boring, uninspired, and poorly executed. The main elements (romance and horror) do not mix well and neither is good enough to stand on its own. It's easy to see why this film failed in theaters and on Blu-ray it's a release that can easily be skipped.
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