The Little Vampire (2000)

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Released 5-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-See Spot Run
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 91:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Uli Edel
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jonathan Lipnicki
Rollo Weeks
Richard E. Grant
lice Krige
John Wood
Pamela Gidley
Tommy Hinkley
Jim Carter
Anna Popplewell
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music Nigel Clarke
Michael Csanyi-Wills


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I am in the process of reviewing two DVD titles about vampires. One takes vampires quite seriously, as a deadly danger, and manages to combine thrills with humour - I'm talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer - you'll find that review coming up soon. The other treats vampires rather lightly, and doesn't reach the levels in thrills or humour - this is The Little Vampire. Oh, I'm not saying that it is bad - it is just a bit bland compared to Buffy (and Sarah Michelle Gellar is much prettier than Jonathan Lipnicki...)

    The Little Vampire is intended as a kid's film. I suspect that the age range would be fairly restricted, because the younger kids could be frightened by the scary bits, while the older kids would find it a bit cloyingly sweet at points. This may explain why I can't even remember it getting a theatrical outing.

    Jonathan Lipnicki is an annoyingly "cute" kid who has been in a number of movies recently. Here he is Tony Thompson, an American 8 year-old transplanted into Scotland because his father is supervising the construction of a golf course for the local lord. He has been dreaming of vampires since arriving in Scotland, and is teased and bullied because of it. Under complicated circumstances, a vampire boy called Rudolph (Rollo Weeks) arrives in his bedroom. The boy mentions having been 9 years old for 300 years. They become friends, even though Rudolph's family don't approve - they've been hunted for centuries. 

    Rudolph's father (Richard E. Grant) is hunting for an amulet which could allow the vampires to become human, if used at the time of conjunction of a special comet with the moon. The vampire hunter Rookery (nothing like Buffy!) seeks the same amulet to create a weapon that will destroy all vampires. This gives us the rest of the plot - the search for the amulet.

    There are moments that are are intended to be funny, but they're a bit heavy-handed. When the kid expresses admiration of some of the things a vampire can do, Rudolph responds: "Membership does have its privileges" (does that count as product placement for American Express?). And when they get to "You know how to whistle, don't you?", it gets a bit hard to take.

    The cover claims that Rudolph is vegetarian, and hates the sight of blood. This is complete fabrication - I wonder if the advertising copywriters bothered watching the movie?

    There are some funny moments - the flying cows are quite entertaining, for example.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The picture is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced..

    The image is fairly sharp, and very clear in the daylight scenes. Shadow detail is reasonable. There are some night-time scenes (particularly around 18:49, 30:18, and 58:58), which look like they suffer from low-level noise, but I think it is really grain.

    Colour is excellent - daylight scenes are solidly coloured, with no trace of over-saturation or colour bleed. Most of the night-time scenes were filmed in blue-filtered "day for night", which distorts colours.

    There are no noticeable film artefacts. There is some grain (as I mentioned above). I noticed no significant aliasing, nor MPEG errors.

    The only subtitles are English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate. They use an attractive font, a serif font like Times, but a little wider.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is one soundtrack, English Dolby Digital 5.1. Not surprisingly, this is the soundtrack I listened to.

    The dialogue is easy to understand. There are some audio sync errors, but I think these are inherent in the source material - ADR errors. The worst is around 67:34.

    The score is OK, but is nothing special. Strangely, the music behind the closing credits doesn't fit in with the rest of the film.

    The 5.1 soundtrack has some minor surround effects, but none of them are memorable. The subwoofer doesn't get a lot to do, either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are static, with a little music.

Theatrical Trailer (2:17)

    This is an ordinary trailer.

Preview (2:01)

    This is just a trailer for See Spot Run - you can find our review for that movie here.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 seems to be identical, so I suggest you go with the Region 4 because it's cheaper, and in PAL.

Summary

    The Little Vampire is a movie of limited appeal, presented adequately on DVD.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, November 24, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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