A splash of ‘Blood,’ chunk of ‘Chocolate:’ recipe for disaster

Ally Melling

In the past, a lot of good movies have had their titles changed in the best interest of the film. Dancing About Architecture became Playing By Heart. Book of the Dead became Evil Dead.

So, who accidentally looked over Blood and Chocolate, a title whose book-to-film transition made audiences laugh out loud during the trailer?

What is the relevancy, you ask? The main character, Vivian, is a chocolatier who can change into a wolf. Let’s just be glad Vivian didn’t work at a pizzeria, though a “Blood and Mozzarella” title would have probably earned more opening-week dollars than Snakes on a Plane.

Vivian (Agnes Bruckner) is born into a clan of playboys who can change into wolves at will (not to be mistaken with werewolves). After a childhood tragedy robs her of her family, Vivian grows to adulthood in Bucharest, Romania, and is unwillingly promised to marry Gabriel (Unfaithful’s Olivier Martinez), the leader of her pack. Things go awry when Vivian falls in love with a human/graphic novelist named Aiden (Hugh Dancy). Soon, Vivian’s weaselly cousin Rafe (Bryan Dick), and the rest of her pack are hot on her tail to end the romance and dispatch her new, meaty boyfriend.

One can’t help but compare this film to 2002’s Queen of the Damned. Like disappointed Anne Rice readers, fans of the popular novel by Annette Curtis Klause agree Blood and Chocolate does the book no justice at all.

And the fans know who’s to blame when Blood and Chocolate actually advertises: “From the producers of Underworld.” Oh, if only this movie was up to even that level of quality.

Plot-wise, Blood and Chocolate combines an obvious Romeo and Juliet rip-off with that same, worn-out, “humans-are-merely-food-yadda-yadda-yadda” mentality Queen of the Damned and Blade coined years ago. What originality the book had is simply lost.

The film’s CGI transformations from human to wolf are embarrassing as well. Director Katja von Garnier spends more than half the film showing cheesy, slow motion shots of people swan diving through the air and wolves running through the woods. Not to say state-of-the-art morphing sequences would have saved the movie, but there needed to be something more than brief flashes of white light to make the transformations a little less laughable.

As if there weren’t enough flaws, the film has almost as much vocal consistency as The Man in the Iron Mask. Bruckner’s and Dancy’s explainable American drawls clash with Martinez’s French and Dick’s British accents.

But luckily, in Blood and Chocolate’s Bucharest, everyone speaks English as their first language anyway, so it doesn’t matter. The icing on this cake is a series of poignant lines from Dancy, such as “Creeks lead to rivers!” and “You have a name, don’t you?” Ouch.

Still, the actors deserve a little credit for doing what they can with the script. Everyone gets an “A” for effort for at least trying to be serious. This film is also pleasing to the eye because of the beautiful endowments of the city it’s set in.

Instead of spending the $8 to go see Blood and Chocolate, take the free advice to steer clear of it. You’d be better off at home eating Hershey’s Kisses and watching Animal Planet.

Contact ALL correspondent Ally Melling at [email protected].