Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Castlevania Netflix Series

I just finished watching the four episode Season 1 of the Netflix Castlevania series. Seeing that it was written by Warren Ellis, who I've heard does good work in comics...I'm way out of the loop in American comics these days...and being a big fan of the video games (as you can tell from the title of the blog), can I add any more parentheticals or asides to this introductory paragraph? OK, I'll get down to it. I was hoping this would be a lot cooler than it turned out to be.

Don't get me wrong, there's some good stuff here. But I wasn't expecting it to be what it was, which is basically all setup. The entire four episode "season" is basically just all Act 1 of the drama. And because of that, it's a bit unfulfilling. I'll break it down episode by episode, but avoid spoilers as much as I can while doing so.

Episode 1 tells us of Dracula's motivation for unleashing his army of monsters on Wallachia.

Episode 2 introduces Trevor Belmont and explains his family's background.

Episode 3 introduces Sypha Belnades and explains why her people, the Seekers, want to help.

Episode 4 introduces Alucard and why he wants to defeat Dracula.

And that's it. There are some cliches from horror movies, some of which seem to contradict things in the video games a bit, but mostly it keeps the gothic horror vibe of the games. And Trevor teaming up with Sypha and Alucard (but no Grant Danasty) to defeat Dracula is what Castlevania III is all about.

The problems are that it's all set-up and no payoff (yet). I was expecting this to basically go from Dracula's army invades to Trevor defeats Dracula in four episodes. And I was expecting each episode to be an hour (or 45 minutes) long. They're about 20 minutes each. So it doesn't get very far in the tale.

I read on Wikipedia that originally it was set to be a feature length movie. The switch to a series was probably a good idea, but I guess it would have been nice if Netflix had had enough faith in this project to fund the whole thing in one 10 or

12 episode series, rather than split it up. Still, I hope it gets enough viewers that Netflix doesn't kill it. I think my opinion of it will go up if they can ramp up the action in the next season.

Basically, watch this so that they keep making it. But it will likely be more satisfying once the show is complete and you can binge-watch it from start to finish.

Oh, and before I sign off here, if you're a parent wondering if there's "cursing" in the show? Yes, quite a bit. And plenty of animated gore and dismemberment. It's a horror themed show based on a horror themed video game, after all. I won't be letting my older boy watch it for several years yet.