Craig J. Clark — Feb. 14th 2014
He’s an artist doing research in Bucharest on the legend of the loup-garous for a graphic novel, she’s a werewolf chocolatier who’s been promised to the leader of her pack when she comes of age — can the two of them get along? Yes, with February’s full moon falling smack dab on Valentine’s Day this year, it’s high time I made 2007’s Blood and Chocolate — based on the young adult novel by Annette Curtis Klause — the subject of a Full Moon Feature. Now, I haven’t read Klause’s novel — largely because I am in no way, shape or form a young adult — but since the movie’s DVD cover trumpets the fact that it is from the producers of Underworld (can’t get away from that, can I?) and The Covenant (a risible 2006 film about teenage warlocks), I must confess my expectations weren’t very high going into it.
Directed by Katja von Garnier from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Christopher Landon (who must have felt some kinship with the wolves since he’s the son of erstwhile teenage werewolf Michael Landon), Blood and Chocolate stars Agnes Bruckner as the aforementioned chocolatier who has a meet-spooky with Hugh Dancy (as the aforementioned artist) at the same time she is dreading the arrival of pack leader Olivier Martinez, who gets to pick a new wife every seven years and has apparently had his eye on her even longer. In addition to the inter-pack politics and concerns about staying hidden from the human population, there’s also plenty of backstory to go around, but von Garnier seems most intent on including as many slow-motion shots of people leaping about as she can. She also doesn’t shy away from the cheap-looking CGI shots of people turning into wolves in mid-flight when she really, really should have. (That’s something even the higher-budgeted Twilight movies weren’t able to improve on.) I do have to wonder, though, what happens to the werewolves’ clothing when this happens because none of them are naked when they shape-shift, yet when they turn human again they don’t have a stitch on them. (They’re very modest about their nudity, though. This is, after all, a PG-13 werewolf movie.)
I’m tempted to say my favorite thing about the film is the original score by Tom Tykwer’s frequent musical collaborators Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, but at every turn it’s trumped by the intrusion of icky pop songs which only serve to destroy the mood (and probably didn’t move as many soundtrack albums as the makers wanted them to). As for the film itself, when it was released in theaters seven years ago it quickly sank without a trace, not even cracking the top ten its opening weekend and only making back a fraction of its production costs. I strongly suspect this is the primary reason why we haven’t seen any further adventures of an American werewolf and her human lover in Paris (where they drive at the end of the film) — and why the producers of Underworld and The Covenant decided they’d be better off making another Underworld movie instead.