The Best of Man, The Best of Beasts

Blood and Chocolate

This is my world and these are my people.”

Like countless novels before it Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause was used as “inspiration” for the identically named movie released in 2007. The similarities between the novel and cinematic creation are few and far between. Lucky for us some of the changes made weren’t all bad. As long as you keep in mind that the book and movie are nothing alike, viewing of them both as a separate entity that only share a title.

As a young loup-garou living in Romania Vivian lives out her life baking chocolates and running with her pack, though she never seems to be running in the same direction. Similar to that of the written character, Vivian is a symbol of beautiful defiance, disregarding tradition for love, freedom, and a peaceful way of life for her people.

Anything we are not is a thing we are taught to fear.”

Her pack has ruled Romania for five thousand years where their kind is revered as blessed not cursed like many legends state. The pack runs the city in a fashion similar to that of the mob. They like to tie up loose ends and make examples of humans who step out of line by organizing hunts. If the human escapes they will be granted their freedom. The only catch: no one ever escapes. Humans are seen as meat. They’re only viewed as enemies or entertainment but should always be kept at a distance because humans are considered to be corrupt beings.

Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

Also, rule number one. No one hunts outside the pack. Ever.

In the center of the hypocrisy stands Gabriel. He teaches the pack to fear others. He’s focused on tradition and rules. Every seven years he’s allowed to take a new mate and this time around he has his eyes on Vivian. He believes that she is the one that will lead them all into a new era of hope and glory. After Vivian’s parents were gunned down in the States by hunters Gabriel brought her home to her Aunt Astrid who then raised her. She remains indebted to him and is never allowed to forget that her parents were murdered due to her adolescent carelessness. She trapped in a life of constant guilt.

As the main antagonist of the story Gabriel can be seen from many different lights. Personally, I didn’t see him as evil only afraid and jaded. He, like the generations before him, was taught to fear mankind. Which is understandable when you imagine what kind of past circumstances the pack has faced and the horrific incident with Vivian’s parents. So he in turn instilled that fear in his own people so that they remain alert and cautious. An empire built entirely on instinct and tradition. The only solution they find reasonable to preserve their lives is to hunt down any loose ends. Literally. Could he have gone about protecting his pack in a less ignorant way? Probably. But we can only hope the younger generations can adapt.

“Would you be at a church at 2 in the morning if you had a boyfriend?”

One dreary night in an empty church she meets Aiden. He is an American who traveled to the city in order to gather information and inspiration for his next graphic novel. The topic is none other than the legend of the loup-garou. Who would have guessed! In the beginning she tries her best to keep him as far away as possible. Knowing that she can only cause trouble for him if he was pulled into her world. Only she can’t control her feelings and falls head first into the clutches of love. After a long time of seeing each other in “secret” Aiden and Vivian are practically writing their wedding vows.

Unlike the book, Aiden is far more equipped for survival against a pack of angry wolves, due to his harsh upbringing, then his novel counterpart. He does whatever it takes to survive while keeping his humanity and reason intact, for the most part.

Word spreads around the pack that Aiden is far to close to Vivian for their secret to be safe. And Gabriel grows jealous that Vivian’s affection is elsewhere. So her cousin, Rafe, is ordered to run him out of town or else he will meet a gruesome fate. The Aiden portrayed in the movie was far more interesting. Because, lets face it, the Aiden of the book was scared of his own shadows.

Lets just say that things go sour and the main characters find themselves scrounging for cover in a shit storm of their own creation. The city is filled to the brim with pack members over tearing through the city in an effort to find them. Their only choice is to fight their way out and earn their freedom to love on another. Only things are far more complicated now as they leave bodies in their wake. It’s a bit of a twisted love story.

“It’s fear.”

He holds out his bloody hand to her. “Of what you’ll do?”

“What you think of me.”

As for their wolfie transformation the director decided to use real life wolves in place of computer animation…probably for the best. The wolves were majestic and beautiful but they didn’t scream loup-garou like in the book. In the novel it describes the change as a slightly painful and a sweet release shifting of bones. In the cinema version the characters leap into the air and are surrounded by a colorful aura for a moment before touching down as a wolf. As you can imagine there are a ridiculous amount of cut scenes. This happened in almost every fight. Not to mention the original design for their second form was suppose to be far larger.

Some things you might love about the movie are the delightful Romanian accents, the suburb acting and the excessive amount of parkour (done by stunt doubles). If you get a kick out of a blossoming romance in the midst of chaos you might enjoy this movie.

 

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