OK, look. I understand that I may have sounded like a snob with my Earthsea movie review. I understand that things need to changed in the movie version because what works in print doesn’t work on screen. All I’m asking is that when there is a movie version of a book, don’t change it so it’s unrecognizable to the book and for the love of god don’t make it crappy.
Though not as bad as the Earthsea debacle, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is not just a bad adaptation, it’s a bad movie period.
The movie follows the plot of the first two books: A Living Nightmare and The Vampire’s Assistant. Dareen Shan finds Larten Crepsley, Crepsley turns Darren into a half vampire and they spend time at the Cirque du Freak.
The first half of the movie is like the book, but the second half tapers off somewhat. One of the first ways it tappers off is that they introduce the Monkey Girl. She’s nothing more than a shoehorned love interest. She’s not at all interesting. Hell, can anybody name her without looking at IMDB.com? Look at the book’s love interest, Debbie. She is a much more interesting character, much better fleshed out and her existence makes sense. She’s there to show one of the downfalls of Darren losing his humanity. He falls in love with her, but he can’t be with her becuase of what he is. Him being a vampire will also put Debbie in danger and she can’t protect herself. The Monkey girl is devoid of all that.
Not to mention the ending is insanely rushed. They basically wanted to show Darren and Steve go at each other when they don’t even see each other again until book 8 (Allies of the Night.) Not to mention the fight looks like two cartoon characters fighting in a cloud. It’s one of the most ridiculous things ever.
As for the acting, well, John C. Reilly is a decent Crepsley despite him looking like Carrot Top on crack. Chris Massoglia as Darren is boring. He doesn’t put any effort into his role whatsoever. It’s like watching a Disney Channel teen sitcom. Michael Cerveris did play a convincing Mr. Tiny, but why did they make a character who can CHANGE THE UNIVERSE TO WHATEVER HE WANTS IT TO BE into a joke at the end? The real Mr. Tiny would’ve stepped in and changed the outcome of the final fight.
Also, Darren would never sleep in a coffin. He CONSTANTLY says in the books he prefers his hammock. Seeing him sleep in a coffin at the end just shows that the filmmakers stopped caring midway. Why change a character’s personal preference just to make him look more badass? Darren is not supposed to be badass, he’s supposed to be a teenager facing new challenges that he may or may not be able to do. He even gets permanently scarred in Trials of Death. That’s interesting and makes the character not look like he’s indestructible.
So, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is one of many movie adaptations that failed. Not being 100% true to the source material and throwing in bad acting and not interesting characters. Not to say all movie adaptations of books are bad. I for one loved the Lord of the Rings movies and hated the books.