Ironically, for a nation that has a reputation for not really liking or engaging with children, Britain produces the best children's books and literature, so there is a rich, untapped source for Hollywood to stake its claim on.
Two Irish writers in particular have created some fantastic series of fantasy stories aimed at contemporary teenagers; Eoin Colfer with his Artemis Fowl books and Darren Shan with his slightly darker, "autobiographical" vampire series of trilogies, the first of which have now been combined into a movie, CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT.
Following a misadventure Darren promises to become the vampire's assistant in order to save his best friend's life. And so the adventure begins.
This is very much an origins story to set up what Universal hopes will be a successful franchise. Very much like the pilot episode of a TV series, it sets up the premise, introduces the characters and creates the environment for the sequels.
Given the quality of the TV shows coming out of the US at the moment I was wondering if there is any solid logic in trying to establish a cinema/DVD franchise of this nature.
The story isn't really self-contained as a movie should be, leaving itself open for the sequel that does rely on the film doing well at the box-office or on DVD.
For example, Philip Pullman's brilliant His Dark Materials trilogy doesn't look like it will be completed any time soon, although the reasons for that is another discussion completely.
The original screenplay was by Brian Helgeland (A KNIGHT'S TALE, LA CONFIDENTIAL, MAN ON FIRE) and was co-written and directed by Paul Weitz, who produced the aforementioned GOLDEN COMPASS, and is the brother of Chris Weitz, who has just directed the other big vampire movie coming out soon, NEW MOON from the Twilight Saga. With such a good pedigree it should do well, I'm just not sure who it is going to appeal to, especially as it has to compete with New Moon, although that has the female audience pretty much tied up.
VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT is definitely more of a boy's movie, as the two male leads don't have the same appeal as NEW MOON's. I'm just not sure how much it will appeal to teenage boys, who are probably more interested in seeing JENNIFER'S BODY than Salma Hayek's beard (or at least the one on her face).
The VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT has humour, action, a little romance and plenty of weirdness but probably only enough to appeal to a fairly small demographic (now I'm sounding like a studio suit).
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT is on general release from Universal on October 23.
Visit the official website: www.bebo.com/vampiresassistant
To celebrate the release of Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant in cinemas October 23, Sci-Fi London has teamed up with Universal Pictures to offer 5 lucky people the chance to win a copy of the Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant book and film soundtrack! Click on the link below to enter the competition, which closes on November 17, 2009.
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
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