Saturday, 27 October 2018

Monster Family

I've got a bit of an admission to make.
Recently, I've been watching some foreign kids CGI movies. 
And I've been liking them.
Sure, the effects aren't always decent and the plots can be rather cliche, but overall they can be kinda entertaining. It may help that my expectations are lower, but like with The Snow Queen, for example, they can be surprisingly decent.
So, when I saw advertising for a movie called Monster Family, I figured that I'd give it a go.
And, despite my low expectations, I was still disappointed.
I just can't imagine that a movie like this would have cliches.
Yeah, this movie has bad sitcom cliches out the wazoo. So let's drag our knuckles down and sink our fangs into it then.
Before we begin I should start with a Spoiler warning, due to the fact that this movie has only just been released in English.
#Spoilered
The movie starts somewhere. Seriously, we are given absolutely no indication where the opening is set. It's just somewhere really cold with a fortress on top of a waterfall.
I can't even make any "Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude" jokes because it has both mountains and tress.
The scene moves inwards whilst the soundtrack plays the exact music you would think of if I said the name Dracula.
Inside the fortress we discover that the music is being played on an organ by three bats. These bats will serve as our comic relief throughout the movie and whilst they very clearly have distinct personalities I'm just going to refer to them as the Minions, because that's very clearly who they are.
Despicable Me has a lot to answer for.
Just as they're reaching the climax of the musical piece, Vlad Dracula himself enters and he's kinda merely okay. I mean, this version isn't a particularly bad design for him, but it also doesn't look particularly imposing either. But it's definitely above the concept of 'Meh'.
If he asked to speak to my manager I'd be perturbed, but not surprised.
He then immediately ruins any gravitas he has by attempting (And failing at) a Tom Jones dance number.
I wish that I was kidding.
And I have to talk about his voice. He's played by an actor named Jason Isaacs, an actor who is most easily recognised as Lucius Malfoy. But since I've never watched Harry Potter, I recognise him as Admiral Zhao.
No, not this one, the cartoon one.
In the Avatar cartoon he gave Zhao a ruff, grumbly kind of voice, but here he gives Dracula a softer tone. Again, it's not terrible, but it doesn't really lend itself to someone who's supposed to be imposing. He sounds like someone who would ask to speak to my manager, but would ask politely and would assure you that while he's complaining about something, it's not about you. But he would still look down on you.
The opening scene serves to show us that Dracula is incredibly lonely, but he also refuses comfort when it's offered him.
We then cut to somewhere in New York where our main protagonist is hurrying to work, bumping into people and being generally clumsy as she does so.
This chick.
Er, by that I mean, the redheaded one.
Let's see now. 
Late for work? Check.
Incredibly clumsy? Check.
Miserable with her life until the magical events force her to see things from a new perspective? Check.
Put a slice of toast in her mouth and she'd be a typical anime girl.
Anyhoo, on her way to work she somehow dials the wrong number (Because the writer doesn't know how mobile phones work these days) and she gets through to Dracula.
Yes, Dracula has a mobile phone.
It looks like he's just as confused about his bodily proportions as I am.
This raises so many questions.
Why is he confused about the noise? It's not a default ringtone, so he must have set it himself.
Why does he own a phone if he's so lonely?
Does he have internet connection? Is he on Facebook?
If he has a smartphone, then what plan does he use? Was the assistant confused when he signed the contract as Count Dracula?
And why is he scared of it? Did they not show him how it worked?
Dracula discovers his phone and answers it, happily chatting away to Emma before she trips over a bucket and drops her phone down a drain.
Don't worry, I heard that it'll float down there.
I'm not sure if the conversation is supposed to have been charming, or awkward, or awkwardly charming, but the end result was more cringey than charming.
And since I don't want to relive it, I'll spare you the details.
Another thing that I feel I must point out is the voices of the family. They all speak with English accents, mostly due to their voice actors being English actors. But they all live in New York. This would be fine if there was a casual line about having moved there, but there isn't. They're all supposedly native New Yorkers, but without a New York accent to go with it.
Even worse, each one is from a different part of England, with no effort put in to mask this fact. So they sound like they shouldn't even be related.
Anyhoo, Emma enters her workplace, which is apparently a small bookstore that she owns (It's called Emma's Bookstore).
Because the middle of a residential street is the best place for a bookstore.
He shop has sale stickers plastered in the window, which I guess is a sign that it's going through rough times, but I can't help but feel that removing the rubbish bags away from directly in front might help their sales more.
Also, I work in a bookstore, there are always sales.
She enters the store and immediately knocks over a display (That is too close to the entrance and would therefor be knocked over by just about every customer that this store seemingly never has), to once again impress upon us just how clumsy this woman truly is.
It's not exceptionally close, but with how much space this place has, she could have located it better.
Also, where'd the rubbish go?
Meanwhile, Dracula has decided from his thirty second conversation that he is in love with Emma.
Because he's that pathetically lonely.
He calls for his servant, a hunchback named Renfield, and instructs him to locate Emma.
Renfield is basically an Igor. Not only does he have the hunchback, but he can also apparently teleport directly behind Dracula whenever his name is called.
Well, every time except for this one instance, where he dramatically opens the doors instead.
There's also a joke later about him never talking, but he quite audibly makes a "Whoah" noise in this scene, which neuters the joke somewhat. You can't have a dramatic reveal if the thing you're revealing has already been revealed.
Also, this is what he looks like. It's absolutely nothing like any prior portrayal of the character, but the Igor Tropes are more widely recognised I guess.
We then cut back to Emma and her employee, a hippy by the name of Cheyenne.
And I'm not using the word hippy in any kind of demeaning way, it's just who the character is.
And yes, her appearance is accompanied by the exact noise you're thinking of.
Cheyenne serves to be a force of spirit-uplifting niceness in Emma's life.
She also serves to fulfil every hippy cliche I can think of.
She also serves as somebody for Emma to exposit about her life to, despite the fact that Cheyenne presumably already knows about Emma's unhappy family life.
And yup, Emma is about to tell us about her family and why they're all unhappy.
First up is her son Max, who she says is "Having a hard time at school". She doesn't explain what she means by "Hard time" because she doesn't know that he's being bullied.
And here come the tired sitcom cliches.
Before this scene, Max gives a (Slightly inaccurate) presentation to his class about the Solar System. This presentation involves actual holograms, but his teacher apparently doesn't care enough to even stay awake.
Seriously, this kid is showing technical prowess way above anything a kid his age should know, but the teacher starts snoring after less than a minute.
Next up is the teenage daughter Faye, who just wishes that she was pretty enough for the school heart-throb to notice her.
Yes, if only the size-zero blue-eyed girl with flawless skin, perfect teeth and natural platinum-blonde hair could feel pretty.
Before anybody says anything, I know that people of all shapes and sizes can have self-esteem issues, but it makes the "Believe in your inner prettiness" message feel a bit more hollow.
And let's not even get into the problems raised by the use of the 'Black Best Friend' Trope.
Or the cliche crush on the guitar player.
He's even playing a song called 'I only love me'.
Anyway, guitar-hipster up there notices Faye and asks her to pose for him in a music video he's making and she stumbles through agreeing.
Next up is the husband Frank, who's clearly overworked at his job.
Ever-so-slightly overworked.
Frank's boss walks over and hands him even more work and the stress causes Frank to fart.
That's pretty much his joke. He farts. Not only that, but his flatulence manifests as visible green clouds.
This movie actually has some pretty high quality CGI. And they use it on this.
Frank's boss keeps him in line by threatening to fire him. Considering how much work Frank seems to do, this would clearly mean that his bank would collapse within an hour, but we can't have Frank realise this until the end of the movie, because we need to have a plot darnit!
We transition back to Emma and Cheyenne, where Cheyenne has found not only the fake vampire teeth Emma needs for her costume, but also a flyer for a fancy dress party for them to go to.
Because Emma has put together costumes for the whole family for Halloween, but without actually having a party to go to? Surely she has those steps a little backwards?
Looking at everything here, the hotel that is hosting is expecting people in costumes to show up at their main entrance. This info will be important later.
For now, let's analyse the hair and eye colour combos within this family.
Emma has red hair and green eyes.
Max also has red hair and green eyes.
Frank has brown hair and brown eyes.
This is ok so far, since Frank could easily have recessive genes for red hair and green eyes. Unlikely, but plausible.
But then how does Faye have blue eyes and blonde hair?
Did Emma cheat on Frank for one or even both of her kids?
We know Frank's a pushover at work and is always tired.
Yeah, that makes sense. Moving on.
None of the family is excited or even interested in going, but Emma emotionally blackmails them until they all agree.
Meanwhile, Dracula is releasing a prisoner of his named Baba Yaga, who's a character from Russian folklore. She's seen a bit of a resurgence lately in popular media, usually mixing in a lot of classic witch Tropes.
Though no pointy hat.
Dracula offers to free her from the prison he's kept her in for apparently 1,000 years, which of course raises some questions. The most pressing of which is, if he's been upgrading her cell over the years (And he clearly has, what with the laser beams) then why has he not given her a bed?
Also, the novel 'Dracula' was first published in the 1890s. But Dracula has apparently existed for 1,000s of years. Even if this is based on Vlad the Impaler, Dracula couldn't be older than 600.
My guess is that 1,000 years just sounds rounder.
Dracula wants Baba Yaga to transform Emma into a vampire for him to marry. He refuses to do it himself since he wants her to keep her soul and therefor remain Emma.
Eh, fair enough, but Baba Yaga mentions that the spell will only work if Emma is unhappy with her current life.
How fortunate for them that Emma's absolutely miserable.
Also, that's not how eyes normally look. It's really difficult to open your eyes enough that the irises are completely exposed like that.
Naturally, her entire family start arguing with each other, with the exception of Frank who just naps instead.
Yeah, I really think that these problems can be solved with just a single days worth of adventuring.
Once they reach an offscreen agreement, they drive to the hotel for the party.
Ok, bearing in mind that this party is for free and that the hotel is expecting the guests to wear costumes, it would be incredibly silly for a mix-up to occur and for the hotel staff to think that the family is in fact the band. Especially considering that they have no instruments or roadies and that they arrive in a tiny little car.
Guess what happens.
They get mistaken for the band.
Yeah, no. That's not how these things happen. I've worked at enough events to know that this wouldn't happen. Including events with music. The band would most likely get there several hours earlier in order to set up their own gear and test the acoustics of the stage. Even if the band didn't do that personally, then their manager would at least get there first.
And the woman who greeted them wold double-check who they are, since if it's a band that dresses up in costume then you could be darn sure that some of their fans would dress up in costume too.
And that's not to mention the problems with them entering the room whilst it was pitch black.
In other words, this kind of embarrassing mix-up is dumb and needs a lot more setup to be believed.
Oh, but it gets worse.
Instead of explaining that there's a mix up, the family instead get on the instruments and try to play music, despite the fact that none of them can play.
Why would any of them have done this?
Apparently the mistake happened because they were the only ones wearing costumes, but I feel I should point out that this movie is set on the 30th of October. In New York. And this is a free party. Attended by what appears to be an audience of college students.
After they've been kicked out the family argue with each other a bit more, just in time for Baba Yaga to show up and cast her spell on them, transforming them all into the monsters they were dressed up as.
So I guess it was rather fortunate for her that Emma was dressed as a vampire then.
But let's not let the potential psychological trauma of transformation get in the way of a fart joke.
Emma grabs Baba Yaga and demands that they be transformed back, but Baba Yaga teleports away. Not very far though. After a completely unnecessary chase sequence across the rooftops Baba Yaga reveals that her pendant is low on power and needs to be recharged at "Oculas Londra".
This gets translated as the London Eye.
This is dumb and wrong. I looked it up. Londra is not a word for London. Not in Russian, nor in German, not even in old English (It was Londinium).
So they apparently went to the J. K. Rowling school of Latin sounding words.
And I have to talk about this chase scene. It comes out of nowhere, lasts way too long, doesn't advance the plot in the slightest and, worst of all, completely ignores physics for the sake of cheap slapstick. The movie suddenly cuts to being a Tom and Jerry knockoff for five minutes, then cuts right back to normal.
I feel sorry for the genuinely talented animators who have had to animate Baba Yaga's knickers throughout the chase.
After losing Baba Yaga, Emma returns to her family, but she only finds her husband, who's not exactly in his normal frame of mind.
Makes nice balloon animals though.
Apparently becoming a copy of Frankenstein's Monster has addled his brain, despite the fact that the original character was highly intelligent in the novel. But this movie treats these characters about as well as, well, anything else Universal's made with them since the 80s.
Oh, and somehow Dracula is watching these events from a camera directly above them.
If you want to look up the coordinates you can, but I'm certainly not going to.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the kids snuck away from their father in order to go and sort out their problems. Max has somehow managed to find his bully, who's conveniently playing basketball by himself in a park. So Max scares him.
This movie is obsessed with farts and underwear.
And Faye has gone to guitar-guy's house, because despite being a Mummy, she has a date to get to.
Wait, the rest of her outfit changed, but she got to keep the beanie?
Naturally, this goes as well as you could predict.
They all make their way home and get into an argument, with Faye blaming Emma for everything, because she's a teenage girl and that's what they all do, right?
I swear, if she yells about everything being unfair I will eat the DVD.
The conversation manages to get to undoing the spell and Emma mentions the 'Oculis Londra' and Max translates it, also saying that he read that the London Eye was built on an ancient site of magical power.
Again, no.
Londinium was founded by the Romans purely because it was as far along the Thames as they could build a bridge. It then became a port for goods shipped upstream from the then-capital Colchester and it grew into a city from there.
That's it. That's why the London Eye is there. Because the Romans had limits to the length of bridge they could build.
It also has occurred to me, how would Baba Yaga know about the London Eye anyway? She's been imprisoned for 1,000 years. The Eye was built in the year 1999. Did Dracula give her a tv to watch? I don't remember seeing one in her cell. I don't remember seeing anything in her cell. Did he force her to watch Rise of the Silver Surfer?
And she's from Russian folklore. Surely it would make more sense for her to find an ancient magical site in Russia?
Heck, if you really want an ancient English site rumoured to have magical powers, go to Stonehenge. Then you can make jokes about hippies.
Meanwhile, it's revealed that Baba Yaga is having trouble getting to London herself, due to her pendant being low on power. She instead teleports to random places. One of which is Venice, where she meets some American tourists.
I'll explain why these are important later.
In the morning, Cheyenne arrives to give them all a lift to the airport so that they can go to London.
She is, of course, completely unperturbed about seeing her boss's family transformed into monsters.
Maybe she's just really, really high?
Cheyenne ignores several road laws in order to get to the airport, lending credence to my theory about how high she is. Inside, Emma and Faye have a conversation where Emma tries to convince Faye to focus on her inner beauty. This rings hollow, since Faye has been nothing but mean-spirited and self-centred whilst on screen.
Once they reach their destination Emma goes to open the door, but is stopped by Max, who's concerned about her burning up in the sunlight.
Y'know, because they haven't been out in the sunlight yet and she's a vampire.
Oh, sorry, I seem to have reused this earlier picture of Emma being out in the sunlight.
Not only is this movie dumb, but it's insultingly dumb.
Anyway, they attempt to get on board a flight to London but the airport clerk has some trepidation about them due to their appearances. She nevertheless books them tickets, presumably because, if the previous day was 30th October, then that would make today Halloween. But a roadbump is reached when she attempts to book their dog into the cargo hold.
Why she would make that mistake I don't know.
They manage to get around this when Faye uses her Mummy-powers to hypnotise her.
Because vampires aren't known for their hypnotic gaze, but Mummies are.
Alright, I did look it up and some Mummy stories do include hypnotic powers, but it's still less well-known than vampiric hypnosis.
But Faye, being a teenage girl, immediately misuses her hypnotic powers for selfish reasons when she gets payback on some fashionista-types for giggling at her.
But that woman's old and still wearing makeup. And she works in the fashion industry.
Clearly she deserves anything that happens to her.
Emma scolds her disapprovingly, because hypnotising people for your own amusement is wrong and should not be condoned.
Not that this movie cares about morals like that, as the very next scene shows.
Apparently it's perfectly ok to hypnotise people if the situation is desperate enough. Or you're bored.
Emma finally gets fed up and starts arguing with Faye about the misuse of her powers, but she gets distracted by everybody suddenly freezing in place.
And I don't mean that in a 'They stop moving' kind of way. I mean that in a 'Literally have icicles in their hair' kind of way.
Oh, and they finally brought up a subplot about Emma needing to drink blood. I'm sure it won't be important.
This freezing effect was caused by Dracula, because it's one of his classic powers from mythology.
Wait, no, that's almost as stupid as making them sparkle.
And even sparkles aren't as stupid as dressing Dracula up like Magneto.
I WAS KIDDING!
Dracula persuades Emma to come with him, since he's the only person who can stop her craving the blood of humans. She reluctantly agrees and he uses his rocket boots to fly her to his private jet.
I shall repeat that statement.
He uses his rocket boots to fly her to his private jet.
Dracula.
Rocket boots.
Private jet.
Really good animation. Really dumb movie.
Dracula pulls a page out of Blade's handbook and gives Emma a pill that can stop her bloodlust.
They then have an absolutely vomit-inducing fantasy sequence about their future life together.
Seriously, it's terrible. It includes them travelling to the Eiffel Tower and not knowing any of the local geography.
Which is almost as bad as the spacesuits they wear on the Moon.
Yes, this movie is about vampires.
Why even bother with the spacesuits? They're vampires, they don't need Oxygen.
And I'm pretty sure that they could handle the vacuum of space too.
With Emma very seriously considering it, Dracula decides that now's the best time to remind her of her family. Emma chooses to return to them, so Dracula hits a button and she drops out of his plane.
Because he went to the Il Pallazo school of supervillainy.
Look up Excel Saga, it's so much better than this.
Normally I'd make a joke about every establishing shot of London featuring the Elizabeth Tower, but they are here specifically for the London Eye, which is just across the river, so I'll give it a pass.
Oculas Londra is still dumb though.
Meanwhile, in Olde London Towne, the rest of the family have reached the London Eye and are discussing their confusion over what happened to Emma. Apparently they have no memory of the time when they were frozen.
But yeah, with no idea where she is the best they can figure to do is wait andmaybe Emma will drop by of her own accord?
That blur is Emma.
Yep, this movie is so lazy that they just have Emma fall out of Dracula's plane and into the Thames directly in front of where the family were waiting.
Not that the family would have had enough time to get through customs and then travel to Westminster. Even with Faye's hypnosis, they would have still had to wait for the plane to land. Since they were still on it less than five minutes ago. Above the clouds.
It was this or a "Let's do the Time Warp" joke.
The family ask her where she's been, whilst the crowd that has formed around them film the bizarre events on their phones.
I'm kidding, what would possess me to think that there would be people at one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world?
The building behind him is County Hall, which has its' own list of popular attractions.
Fair enough, a group of people in costumes would not attract too much attention in London on Halloween (There's a certain convention which occurs around that time anyway), but somebody falling out of the sky and into the Thames directly near the Houses of Parliament? Somebody might notice.
But anyway, Emma tells them about Dracula and how he's looking for love. The family responds by immediately making a plan of action.
Not really, instead they decide to ride the London Eye.
Yeah, it's a fun ride and all, but priorities?
Luckily for them Baba Yaga shows up to recharge her pendant just as they're about to disembark and they have an incredibly lame fight scene.
This is it. The big climactic fight scene. Tug-of-war over a necklace.
Emma manages to wrestle the pendant away, but it burns her hands and rolls back to Baba Yaga.
Why did we even bother with this?
Baba Yaga uses her magic to teleport the family away, cursing herself for hitting the entire family when she only meant to hit one.
The tug-of-war happened right after this scene. Which apparently nobody else nearby noticed.
Not even from the Houses of Parliament.
This movie is dumb!
Seriously, how is there nobody around? Sure, it's Halloween, but it's not that big of a holiday in England. The banks don't even close for it. And County Hall is home to the London Dungeon, which always has big events planned for it. It's practically the only place in the country that you can guarantee will be jam-packed.
But yeah, the whole family is teleported away, except for Cheyenne who manages to beat up Baba Yaga.
A vampire couldn't beat up this old woman, but an old hippy can because she does Tai Chi?
Actually, she wins because Baba Yaga is an idiot.
Cheyenne saves Baba Yaga, which is enough to cement her Heel-Face turn.
This movie is painful to watch.
Meanwhile, the family have been teleported to Egypt. Why Egypt? I don't bloody well know.
I officially give up. I just can't. There's nothing witty to say about this.
After an incredibly boring mirage joke (Which goes on for a whole flipping minute) the family argue and split up.
They've been in the desert for less than five minutes. Three of these characters shouldn't even be negatively affected by the heat. And THIS IS NOT HOW MIRAGES WORK!
The argument itself is, unsurprising. Faye is angry at Emma for always imposing her will on them, and Emma reacts angrily. This causes Faye to walk away. Emma yells after her, but once it's clear that she's not coming back, Emma lashes out at Max instead. Once Max leaves, Emma yells at Frank until he leaves too.
Y'know, for our main protagonist, Emma isn't very likeable. She yells when she doesn't get her own way and blames her anger on others.
She's actually kind of abusive towards her family.
This probably explains why she married Frank in the first place. He's a pushover who does whatever he's told. He would have been an easy mark for her. He clearly earns a lot (There's no way a failing bookstore could pay for a house like theirs' in New York).
And as we saw earlier, she's not above using emotional blackmail to get what she wants.
Pictured: The real bad guy in this movie.
The worst thing though? The movie treats Emma as though she's right. It's the rest of the family who learn their lessons and come running back to her.
For example, whilst in the desert Faye runs into Imhotep, the original Mummy himself. He teaches her how to use some of her powers and he tells her that he's going to conquer the world, with her by his side.
He could have just tried teaching how to not look like a corpse. That would probably have been more persuasive.
This reminds Faye of something Emma said about being pretty on the inside, and she leaves. That was it. That's all it took.
Then there's Max, who manages to find civilisation, but scares away a little girl with his appearance, teaching him an important lesson about how scary people always end up lonely. Just like Dracula. Or Imhotep. Or his bully.
Great job making the adorable puppy-boy look scary, btw. I can really believe that he'd scare small children and grown adults.
Frank, in the meantime, rescues the models from earlier, who've gotten themselves stranded in a sand dune.
Yeah, coincidence of coincidences, those models were on their way to Egypt.
Apparently, they're doing a photoshoot for World's Next Hot Model, but can you spot the flaw?
Where's the film crew?
If this is for a tv show, then there'd be a film crew with them. You can't even tell me that they were supposed to be meeting them on location, because a shot of several models driving through the Sahara is exactly the kind of thing they'd film for the show.
Frank saves them with his sheer strength and none of them freak out about his appearance. For some reason. Because a little girl will scream upon seeing a puppy-boy, but supposedly-shallow supermodels won't freak out about seeing Frankenstein's Monster lumbering towards them in the middle of the desert?
I've worked with models. I can conclusively tell you that they know how to sit in a damn seat without falling out.
The models invite Frank back to their hotel and he lazes about besides the pool, until Faye crashes into them with Imhotep hot on her heels.
Faye's entrance causes the fashionista to fall into the pool and lose her makeup. She freaks out about being hideous and Faye learns an important lesson about accepting how she looks.
But only out of fear of looking like the fashionista when she gets old.
Seriously, she learns an important lesson about judging others' appearances by judging others' appearances.
Shallowness is apparently justified if it's about being shallow.
She also got hit on the head with a coconut, so she's very definitely dead now.
Just as Imhotep attacks them, Max shows up and a fight occurs between Imhotep and Frank.
Okay, so we've got the original Mummy himself versus a simulacrum of Frankenstein's Monster. How will these two titans of horror fare against each other? Not forgetting that Frank has backup from a Wolfboy and a Mummy of his own. This could be a really cool fight scene.
Or Imhotep could just turn into a giant scarab beetle and get his arse handed to him.
"Hulk smash puny God-Pharaoh!"
Why did he turn into a beetle when he could turn into a sandstorm? I'm pretty sure fists don't work well against sandstorms.
Meanwhile, during all of this, Emma nearly succumbed to her bloodlust again, but was saved at the last moment by Dracula. Again. Because he somehow not only knew where she was, but also that her family had left and that she would be about to kill somehow.
Coincidences, for when you have no idea how else to advance the plot.
And let's not even get into the fact that it was the exact same two tourists that Baba Yaga bumped into when she was in Venice.
Something that I skipped over earlier is that, during his depression of being rejected, Dracula started up a project of his that would freeze the Sun. Because if he can't have love, then nobody shall.
Which is basically the mentality of every Incel on the internet.
But, since Emma is now single again, Dracula puts that plan on hold in order to woo her.
And naturally, all it takes is to show off all of his stuff. Because Emma is incredibly shallow.
How is Renfield the only likeable character in this film?
Oh yeah, because he almost never talks.
Whilst Emma bounces on the bed like a giddy schoolgirl, she suddenly starts thinking about her family. As she starts crying Baba Yaga and Cheyenne teleport in.
Why? Why did they teleport to the castle now? Why not earlier, when Baba Yaga decided to be a good guy? Why did they teleport into this random room, instead of anywhere else in his castle?
All these questions and more will go unanswered, because this movie just didn't care.
Baba Yaga explains that it was Dracula who forced her to cast the spell, which causes Emma to have an epiphany. Or just start sobbing about never seeing her family, despite the fact that it was still her gorram fault.
Sure, Dracula forced her to change into who he wanted her to be, but she's trying to do the same to her family.
This similarity will go uncommented on throughout the movie.
But Baba Yaga teleports the rest of the family to them, because she can just do that at will now, I guess. She can't teleport herself five feet without screwing it up, but an entire family from halfway across the globe? No probs mate.
She even magics his shirt and jacket onto him.
Because why not at this point?
Renfield then randomly shows up and explains Dracula's plan to freeze the Sun, because I guess he's a good guy now.
They point out that all life on Earth would be extinguished except for vampires. Though I'm pretty certain that Mummies and Flesh Golems don't directly require sunlight either.
I feel like I should point out that if the Sun was extinguished in this manner, the Earth would very quickly freeze over.
Humanity could survive for a while, but only in either submarines beneath the frozen oceans, or in Iceland using geothermal energy. But food would be rather short, since most plant and animal life would die within a few years.
I don't think that this would be a particularly appealing planet for Dracula to live on after that.
But rather than use logic, our heroes decide that beating up Dracula is a better plan. Renfield explains that Dracula will be in his Lazarus bath until Sunset in order to stop himself from ageing.
Naturally, Max comes up with a plan to defeat Dracula. Renfield leads them to the kitchen and Max uses some common ingredients to whip up some Holy Water.
Faye points out that it's not really Holy Water unless they get a priest to sanctify it. Naturally, they could use Baba Yaga to teleport in a priest, but Max points out that Faye is a Mummy and therefor covered in sanctified bandages.
Fair play movie, this is actually pretty smart. Kudos.
Of course, the movie then ruins it by trying to be witty.
Why does his bath need to be set up like that?
Faye makes a comment about the things people will do to knock off a few years, which I guess is supposed to be a reference to the fashionista from earlier.
But it's just a bath. Sure, he's fully dressed and upside down. But other than that, it's just a bath. People have those all the time. It's nothing weird.
So, all they need to do is get the Holy Water into the bath with him and he'll be defeated.
Who would be best for this task?
The Mummy-girl who can turn into a sandstorm?
The old witch who can literally teleport?
The servant whom Dracula doesn't know has switched sides?
Or the clumsy idiot who can barely walk along a flat pavement without tripping over her own feet?
Yeah, let's send Little Miss Whoops.
She somehow manages to get to the top of the stairs and is about to pour in the Holy Water, but Dracula flicks a pill directly into her mouth. Apparently this pill is the opposite of the ones from earlier and it triggers her bloodlust, making her throw the Holy Water against a rock and attack her family.
I'll need to check my D&D sourcebooks, but I'm not certain if Flesh Golems can be used as food by vampires.
Apparently the power of love is stronger than the power of vampirism and Emma manages to pull herself out of it. But just as she does so, Dracula gets out of his bath and uses his freezing fingersnap to, well, freeze them.
Oh, you thought that this was going to be the climax?
The family wake up in a cold chamber with shackles around their ankles. Something about them prevents Faye from turning into sand, but it's not explained how Dracula turned her back into a solid form.
When they wake up Dracula explains that they're inside the rocket that he's going to hurl into Sun, along with the ice sphere that will freeze it. Once he's done, he leaves them alone, because it's not like they're going to have a heart-to-heart and break the curse or anything.
Pretty sure this scene was done better in an episode of My Little Pony.
With them back in their human forms, Frank is able to slip out of his shackle.Is this his chance, is he going to step up and actually do something in this movie? Is he going to defeat Dracula, or at least find the button that will release his family?
Or the Minion-Bats will also pull a Heel-Face turn for no real reason.
The family once again face off against Dracula, but this time with a better plan.
They throw the bats at him.
Oh, now they realise that they can throw things?
The bats do some stupid mid-air acrobatics and reach Dracula before he can freeze them. Why they had to do that when they could have just flown up to him whilst his back was turned, I don't know. But this is finally the climax, so I don't care.
The bats bite his fingers, preventing him from clicking them.
To quote a guy from Starship Troopers, "The enemy cannot press a button if you disable his hand."
Speaking of pressing buttons, Dracula points out that that's something he actually can still do, but Cheyenne lunges at him first. As she wails on him she activates his rocket boots (Still dumb) and they go flailing around the room for a bit.
Cheyenne's hair should be on fire. Her sleeves should be on fire. Everything of hers should be on fire.
After Cheyenne falls off and lands on a chandelier, Dracula gets annoyed and transforms into his Man-Bat form, which somehow absorbs his clothes.
Because kids movie, I guess.
And yet, this is actually less intimidating than his normal look.
Dracula swats the family members away with ease and he starts gloating.
Because he's a dumbass.
This gives Emma time to notice that the Sun has risen, so she opens the curtains.
Her family follows suit and Dracula is very easily penned into a small area of safety.
I'm just going to assume that the sunlight is being reflected off of the snowy landscape outside, because this would be really dumb otherwise.
Emma casually strolls up to him and blows one of his magic snowflakes onto him, freezing him in place.
I would say that the sunlight could defrost him, but then it would instantly vaporise him.
So yeah, the family just murdered him.
With Dracula taken care of, the family go home and have a party.
And that's it. We don't even get a proper denouement.
Sure, we see that Frank has started to stand up to his boss, but that's it. Movie's over.
Why did Faye jump into Max's arms? That's kinda creepy.
So, was this movie any good?
Why am I even bothering to type that?
NO!
This movie wasn't any good. The plot was meandering and lame, the characters were thoroughly unlikeable and the villains were pathetic. They all switched sides randomly and for no reason.

The CGI was of very high quality though.

Next time I'm going to try watching a cheap foreign knockoff of the Avengers. It can't be as bad as this, right?

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