Friday, October 16, 2009

I Kissed A Vampire: Episode One

For those of you who haven't been following me for long, you may not know that my original interest in Bollywood came from my love of Hollywood musicals. Yes, I am one of those people who love singing, dancing, and overly dramatic acting. Why watch a "regular" film when I could see Fred Astaire "Say It With Firecrackers" instead? Even my favorite non-musical Hollywood films always featured very prominent soundtracks - from Hairspray to The Breakfast Club.

So, while I do get the watch your own culture grenade lobbed at me from time to time, the truth is that I do - when Hollywood does something that interests me - like the new web series I Kissed a Vampire.

Starring High School Musical alumni Drew Seeley (who was the voice of "Troy") as a dark vampire and Lucas Grabeel ("Ryan" in HSM) as the transitioning Dylan, I Kissed A Vampire is a short, musical look at the proto-typical girl + vampire story that's become so iconic in American pop culture these days.

The format follows the example of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog with three episodes released over three weeks. The first one is available NOW from iTunes.

My sister and I watched the first episode the day it was released - Tuesday. We are unabashed HSM fans and the allure of Drew AND Lucas was too much to resist. And the verdict? The first episode of I Kissed a Vampire is not that great but the show itself has potential.

The biggest problem with the first episode is that Adrian Slade - playing the blond girl - cannot lip sync. I know Americans like to mock artists for "just" lip syncing but the fact of the matter is that it's a lot more difficult than it looks. Her obvious difficulties keeping up with the music made her sequences painful to watch.

Large problem number two is that the picturizations for the two songs featured in the first episode are dull. Unlike the aforementioned Dr. Horrible, I Kissed A Vampire's song picturizations neither move the story forward nor establish emotional resonance with the characters. They are MTV music videos shot on a very small budget - snoozeville.

It's a shame that the director was not more creative in the picturization of the songs because the songs themselves are very catchy and Lucas, in particular, is a very good dancer and emoter. I got the feeling that the director really didn't understand the visual cues necessary for creating a good picturization because viewers have to rely entirely on the lyrics to understand the songs - begging the question, why put visuals to them at all? Almost anything would have been better than the choices made - my vote would have been for two fantasy sequences, one for each song, so the audience would have understood exactly where the characters were coming from.

Finally, there just wasn't enough story for an entire episode. If I wasn't already a fan, I might not tune in for next week's episode. While ending on Drew Seeley's entrance might have looked good on paper, there was no dramatic pull at all in the plotting.

And yet, despite the big conceptual difficulties on the production end, I will be tuning in for the next episodes. Lucas and Drew are very talented performers and fun to watch. Their scenes together should be entertaining - especially if they get to dance. The songs, as I mentioned before, are very catchy and if you enjoyed the HSM soundtracks or my new favorite teeny bopper jam "New Classic" from Another Cinderella Story, I can guarantee you'll like the soundtrack. Adrian Slade may not be able to lip sync but she can sing and "Forbidden Planet" is the one to download from the first episode. The story itself has not yet peaked my interest but there is potential that it could play out in an interesting way over the next couple of episodes.

My final verdict on Episode 1: Wait until next week unless you are a Lucas Grabeel fan but download "Forbidden Planet" and "Outta My Head."

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Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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