Recently, a movie came up on my Netflix recommendations. It was “The Little Vampire” and I was really excited. My sister and I loved that movie when we were younger. Rudolph Sackville-Bagg was one of my movie crushes. So I decided to rewatch the 2000 version and then watch the 2017 version to compare, contrast, and determine the better version.
In case you haven’t seen the 2000 classic of “The Little Vampire”, here’s the low-down. The Thompson family just moved from San Diego, California to Scotland because Mr. Thompson got a job offer as a contractor for a golf course. Since moving to the Scotland estate, nine-year-old Tony Thompson plagued with nightmares consisting of a beam of light casting down onto an amulet adorned and surrounded by vampires. Due to his passion for vampires, not only is he friendless, his parents are starting to worry as well. One night, Tony was visited by a vampire seeking shelter from the vampire hunter.
Rudolph Sackville-Bagg is similar in age and the two become fast friends since Tony saves Rudolph’s life. They fly, play on a blimp, Rudolph drinks some blood from a cow, and have a good time. Soon enough, Rudolph finds out Tony knows about the amulet and takes Tony to meet his family. They are interesting. Dad is protective, mom is endearing, sister is a total romantic (I’d say thirsty), and older bro seems a bit aggressive and rebellious. After saving the whole family from the vampire hunter, Tony is allowed to help in the vampire’s search for the amulet (dad and Tony share a vision showing them a clue where to look next). Do they find the locket? Yes. Are there some shenanigans before that? Yes but it’s all good fun.
The movie ends with the whole vampire clan gathering on a cliff under the comet and their ultimate wish of becoming human coming true. The last scene of the movie is the reunion of the Sackville-Baggs and the Thompsons. I always thought it was a bit of a sad ending since his friends didn’t recognize them at first, implying to me that they held no vampire memories but I don’t think it was meant to be taken that way
For the 2017 version, take the overarching amulet plot and the wish to become human and throw it out the window. 2 days before Rudolph’s birthday, (he’s going to be 13, again) the vampire hunter attacks trapping most of the clan (led by older bro Greggory) and separating Rudolph from his immediate family (who go to live temporarily with Aunt and Uncle who are dead in the 2000 version). Tony and his family are staying in an old castle on vacation. Rudolph runs into similarly aged Tony. It is Tony’s idea to feed Rudolph a cow (vs being more commonplace in the 2000 version). They sneak out during the night, meet the family, the sister tries to put a spell on Tony, and somehow end up rescuing the trapped vampires (but not really).
I like the 2000 version better. The 2017 version was ok, it did a lot of things right for a remake.
- A lot of the characters from the 2017 version look like animated versions of their counterparts (except Greggory and sis and those were for the better).
- The beginning which gave backstory to the vampire side of things was beautifully done.
- The artwork was stunning.
- I like the Manny addition to the 2017 version. It prevents Riggory from being as dark as he was in the 2000 version (even if it’s only obvious to adults).
That being said, I think it was a mistake to make this a sole vampire vs human movie. I think the vampire’s wish to be human and McGuffin amulet plotline should have been in there. Without it, it feels shallow and the ending was awful. Speaking of characters, let’s talk about that, shall we? Mainly Rudolph and Tony.
How could you do my boys dirty like that?
In the first movie, Rudolph is treated like a child but doesn’t act like one (in 2017 version he throws a temper tantrum, ew). He is protective of Tony, standing up to the bullies Tony faces at school. He certainly doesn’t drop him while flying (that happens in the 2017 version a lot because he is self-centered in that movie). 2017 Rudolph doesn’t seem to have had friends before. He’s kind of a jerk.
In the first movie, Tony is sweet, brave, and empathetic. He doesn’t lock his friend in a wardrobe. He wasn’t a coward or a liar to his parents. Tony didn’t back down from any of the challenges presented to him.
In the first movie, the parents aren’t oblivious and they join the fight to help the vampires (even punching Riggory the vampire hunter). In 2017, they are kind of just there or under mind control spells which is totally lame. There’s a running joke about the cows in the first movie that they halfway brought over for the second. It was funny in 2000 but less so in 2017.
Overall, both movies are good in their own ways, but to me the winner is clear. I don’t think I’m speaking from nostalgia, but I’ll let you be the judge. Just to be clear, I know these aren’t the best movies out there but I do enjoy them. Thank you for reading my take on “The Little Vampire 2000 vs 2017”, I appreciate you and I’ll see you in the next post! If you like movies for kids, may I recommend my review of “Mune: Guardian of the Moon”?