You can’t blame a movie for trying. Heck, Hollywood has been striving to find another franchise as successful as a certain lightning foreheaded Harry Potter since the sprite little boy wizard wowed the publishing world with his multi-billion dollar bonanza. Again, it’s not for a lack of effort. In the last few years, we’ve seen the attempted start of such noble kid lit entities as Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events, The Golden Compass, City of Ember, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and several others. As of now, no one is championing their return - no matter how financially or artistically successful they appeared to be.
It looks like Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series will follow suit. While another fine attempt at merging juvenile level Goosebumps horror with full blown family film wish fulfillment, The Vampire’s Assistant (new to Blu-ray from Universal) has a double barreled barrier to overcome - and frankly, it can’t manage either one. First, in a head to head with Hogwart’s favorite, it comes up short. No matter what you think of J.K. Rowling and her tales of magic and myth, she’s a grand storyteller - and she’s been lucky enough to find filmmakers capable of taking her material and whittling it down into its important narrative beats. Since all six films made so far have been huge hits (and two more of the seventh book are on their way), Harry is a huge albatross around any potential franchise’s neck.