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Kevin Krock, editor
DVD Review
The Little Vampire
(2000) | Approx. 94 Minutes | Rated PG | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

The Movie...

When I first heard about this movie, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. The premise seemed a bit odd to me - A cute American kid who's a fish out of water in Scotland, befriends a family of vampires and saves them... not the usual fare for a kidís movie.

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

I also have to admit that I wasn't aware of the history behind this film and its origin as a best-selling, 25-year-old series of children's novels by Angela Sommer- Bodenburg. My two- year- old son is just now getting into the Dr. Seuss stage, so children's novels are still a few years off. So, when I popped the disc in, I was prepared for another "kid-vid," but fortunately, I found a story that, while potentially a bit scary for young kids at times, makes an enjoyable movie.

Jonathan Lipnicki (Stuart Little, Jerry Maguire, The Jeff Foxworthy Show) stars as Tony Thompson, a young American boy who moves to Scotland with his parents, and who just doesn't fit in. He begins to have dreams about vampires but he doesn't know why - he just knows that he wants to be a vampire.

Promotional Artwork © New Line Home Video
Promotional Artwork © New Line Home Video
DVD Bio for Jonathan Lipnicki

Pretty soon, a young vampire trying to evade a vampire hunter ends up in Tony's room, and the two strike up a "no-bite guarantee" friendship. As Tony soon finds out, being a vampire is not as cool as he thought (being nine- years- old for 300 years gets a bit old...), as the vampires in town are actually just trying to become mortal again. However, time is running out before their last chance to do so, and Tony is the only one that can help.

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

The script, written by Larry Wilson (The Addams Family, Beetlejuice) and Karey Kirkpatrick (James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run), has just enough "mild peril" to keep the story interesting, yet there are plenty of humorous episodes to offset the tension. Most of the comic relief is along the lines of the other movies in the writer's credits, so if you are familiar with those movies, you have an idea of what to expect. For example, there are several jokes at the expense of the "evil" vampire hunter, and there is a pretty funny running gag with vampire cows that, while a bit weird, builds into a flying herd that helps to save the day.

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

The Goodies...

I was pleasantly surprised that this disc has a pretty good selection of goodies for a "kid" disc. All of them are focused on the kids, so parents may not find a lot that grabs their attention. There are three simple interactive games (Graveyard Golf, Find the Amulet, and Mix & Match) that may keep the kids occupied for a little while, but they'll probably grow tired of them because of their simplicity. The disc also has a collection of tried- and- true kid's vampire and monster jokes. There are also several "easy- to- make" recipes for caramel apples, Fudgy Bat Cookies, Jack-o-Lantern Pie, Blue Slime, and a Vampire's Blood Shake. They're all a bit complicated for kids to do by themselves, but should make for fun family activities. Finally, the disc contains the theatrical trailer and a filmography of cast and crew.

Promotional Artwork © New Line Home Video
Promotional Artwork © New Line Home Video
Find the Amulet game on the DVD

On top of the DVD player-accessible goodies, there are also a few notable DVD-ROM features. The original theatrical Web site is on the disc, as well as a flying vampire cow screensaver. You can also access the "Script- to- Screen" feature that allows you to jump from the script text to the scene in the movie.

The Video, Audio and Interface...

This disc has a lot going for it in the video department. The video is very clean, and looks great in either anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TVs) widescreen or full-frame versions. Since this is a vampire movie, most of the video is quite dark, yet the detail and clarity are excellent.

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

The audio is pretty straightforward. Depending on your system, you can either play the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track, or the Dolby 2.0 (stereo) surround track. While I have yet to upgrade to a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio decoding system, the stereo track sounded clear and perfect for a basic home theater. The 5.1 mix is usually more aurally immersive, but for most family viewing, the stereo surround sounds great.

Although the interface is basic, many of the menus are animated and have background audio loops, which I always like to see in a DVD. The selections are easy to read, and the hierarchy is laid out clearly. This makes moving around the disc and finding items of interest easy for all family members.

The Final Evaluation...

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

The Little Vampire is a fun movie that should appeal to the whole family - just keep in mind that there are a few scary scenes that may spook some of the younger kids. The disc itself has a decent audio, visual, and goodie package, and for a studio with only a couple of family- friendly DVDs, this title comes across as a strong attempt by New Line Home Video to provide a solid, family- oriented DVD. This one's definitely worth checking out.

Promotional Artwork © New Line
Promotional Artwork © New Line

DVD FEATURES

Goodies

  • Interactive Games
  • Easy-to-Make Recipes
  • Vampire and Monster Jokes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Cast and Crew Filmographies
  • DVD-ROM Content: Original Website, Script-to-Screen, Flying Vampire Cow Screensaver

Technical Specifications

anamorphicdvd.gif (2563 bytes)

  • Region 1 Encoded
  • Single-Sided, Dual-Layer
  • 20 Chapters
  • English 5.1 Dolby Digital 
  • English 2.0 Dolby Digital 
  • English Subtitles
  • Full-frame (1.33:1)
  • Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
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