Since the dawn of time, it seems adapting a video game series to the big screen has been an impossible task. Whether it being the critically panned Super Mario Bros. back in 1993 to the most recently released Assassin’s Creed, adapting video games to the big screen seems to be a task destined for failure. When the newly released Castlevania was announced to become a Netflix TV show, it was met with some skepticism. Turns out that even with a few flaws, Castlevania is proof that a video game can be adapted properly and still enjoyable to watch.
Surprisingly, Castlevania works very well as a mature animated show. While it is a very dark and grim show, the characters and environments look great with smoothly flowing animations. The characters themselves are brought to life with fantastic performances, with Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont and Graham McTavish as Dracula being highlights of the show. Regardless of whether you like the show or not, one thing for certain is that Castlevania was dealt with great care and the final product shows it. The excellent script was handled by Warren Ellis.
As previously stated, this is a very mature show as it can be quite brutal at times and contains some serious themes. The main villain, Dracula, is a cold-hearted villain who immediately captures your attention whenever he is on screen. His dark and distraught past is hinted at throughout the first season which could be an interesting backstory to look forward to next season. The secondary antagonist is the church. Portraying religion is always a touchy subject no matter any medium, but the show does a great job in showing in showing the dangers of someone uses religion to justify their own agendas. The main leader, the Bishop, isn’t the most unique villain but he is integrated into the story nicely which gives Trevor Belmont another worthy foe to face up against. While some may take offense, the treatment of the church and the religious themes adds an interesting layer to an already complex story.
Each episode runs between 23 to 25 minutes. The four episodes are a source of controversy. If you do the math, that adds to about 94 minutes, which is almost as long as a feature length film. Some may take issue with the overall quality of the story Castlevania tries to present with the shortened season because it can feel rushed or incomplete in certain portion. A slow middle portion culminates in a finale that felt rather rushed to end. Fortunately, quantity seems to Castlevania main fault and seeing that next season is already going to be eight episodes, there’s a lot to look forward to hopefully.
Castlevania does something very few video games have been able to do and that’s create a faithful adaption while also just being a good TV show to watch. Some may take issue with how many episodes are in the first season; quality over quantity should always be the way directors think. The show has moments of pure horror interlaced with action-packed scenes and moments of comedic dialogue. Castlevania shows a lot of promise and could very well be the first great TV series based on a video game series. Whether that happens or not is unknown at the moment but for now we can only focus on the first season but if the first season is any indication how the show turns out, then get excited. Castlevania may still be evolving but the future looks very bright for this animated series.