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Little Vampire

Shout Factory // PG // October 5, 2021
List Price: $22.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ryan Keefer | posted November 2, 2021 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

So apparently this 2020 animated version of Little Vampire is not, in fact, some Euro reboot of 2000's The Little Vampire starring Jonathan Lipnicki, but is actually a comic series in France that this film was based on. It's not necessarily that I was hoping for a Blu-ray of this film I either didn't know or forgot about when it first came out, but this is animated, and has things that resemble Halloween (and I watched it with my family on Halloween), so perhaps I was looking for something new, who knows?

Joann Sfar wrote the comics, co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Sandrina Jardel and directed the animated feature, telling the story of the Vampire, who has desires to be part of the human world. The vampire meets Michel, a boy living with his grandparents (following the death of his parents), and the two strike up a friendship.

Michel and the Vampire have a straightforward way to dealing with one another that becomes accessible for the viewer regardless of they're a Francophile or not, and allows younger viewers to get into a world they may not have encountered before. Once they're there, it does tend to be a little confusing at times, but the characters are allowed to own their space. The vampire's best friend is a red dog of sorts that sounds a lot like Lewis Black so at least grown-ups that are familiar with swear words can keep up to the film's story, which includes a guy with a crescent moon as a head and another guy who pilots a ship but can pull his face off to show a skull. Like an animated Pirates of the Caribbean, but with fewer one-liners.

I couldn't tell whether I liked or disliked Little Vampire at the end of the day, but I did respect the attempt to tell the story that it did, with characters that could be transferable to American audiences. It was tough to watch at times because, well, YOU try to nail a family of four down to watch something for 75 minutes! But it's worth the exploration for the smaller ones in the house to enjoy lots of different visual choices and styles in order to make for an entertaining experience.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

The film's 1.85:1 presentation on Blu-ray looks good, with faithful color reproduction without oversaturation, and consistent levels of black during the evening sequences. The animation is fine but nothing really vibrant or mindblowing, just loyal to the original source.

The Sound:

You get an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track by default, but there is also the original French track as well. Both sound fine, with decent channel panning and directional effects, and the score adds a nice layer of depth to the soundstage.

Extras:

A standard definition copy on a second disc and the trailer are the only goodies to speak of.

Final Thoughts:

Little Vampire owns the space it creates for itself, and the mythology already laid out by the comics shows a confidence in the characters that you wouldn't get from other relative first-time animated films. It may not and probably will not be for most audiences, but it's certainly worth an exploration for a unique portrait that is a diversion from the usual kids and family centric fare that you're used to, and it's not without some flaws, but it's worth taking a stroll on your own to make that decision.

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