Saturday, July 8, 2017

Now on Netflix: Castlevania (2017)

Castlevania (2017) - Directed by Sam Deats; Written by Warren Ellis; Starring Richard Armitage, Tony Amendola, James Callis, Matt Frewer, Graham McTavish, Alejandro Reynoso, Emily Swallow.

By Kenny Howell

Eight-year-old Kenny played the hell out of Castlevania on Nintendo.

Unfortunately, 37-year-old Kenny has lived a lot since then, and two small children have sucked all the memories out of my brain from my own childhood.

So, despite my history with the characters, I was kind of coming in a bit blind to the new animated series from Netflix. I was a little wary, because there was a bit about this that seemed like a cash grab. Castlevania was a big deal for people my age and younger, and some of them might dive right into this just based on the name alone. I did, and I was pleasantly surprised, despite being a video game adaptation, which almost never works, Castlevania isn't half bad.


It is essentially a movie, but it is cut into four half hour episodes. The run time of the first season is just 96 minutes, roughly the same as an average film these days. It makes it a quick watch, and probably only does what it should, not over staying its welcome, even though at the end it may seem to be cut off a bit in the middle of the story.

The hero of the video game, Trevor Belmont, we don't really meet until the second episode. The first episode deals with Dracula, the woman he would marry, and her execution by the church of Wallachia for witchcraft. Dracula, who was traveling at the time, comes home and threatens the people of Wallachia if they don't put things right within one year, he will unleash an army from Hell that will destroy every last human.

Unfortunately for the humans, the church doesn't follow his rules, and Dracula makes good on his promise. The demons come from Hell and unleash fury upon them, ripping the people apart (very graphically!), and moving on to the next town.

In the start of the second episode, we finally meet the last son of the Belmont family, the family of Vampire hunters who were excommunicated by the church. His name is Trevor, and after a skirmish with some bar patrons who blame his family for the mess, he sets out to battle the dark army.

Castlevania is definitely not Nintendo sanitized. It is graphically violent, entrails and all, and there is also quite a bit of language. So this is definitely not for kids, and that what is best about it. It has grown up with the people that played it as a kid, and doesn't seem silly like it absolutely could have been. It is put together quite well, the voice actors are solid, the animation is fairly slick, which makes this a nice trip down memory lane even if, like me, you don't really remember much about it.

The first season of Castlevania is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

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