It’s always a horrible night to have a curse in Dracula country, but in real life, Netflix’s
just lifted another curse: It’s the first video game adaptation to get a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Castlevania
But this series is no mere miserable pile of secrets shared among critics:
Castlevania is a hit among viewers across social media.
Produced by Adi Shankar (
, that dark web Dredd ) and written by Warren Ellis ( Power/Rangers spoof Astonishing X-Men, Iron Man), Castlevania is an American anime rendition of the Belmont clan’s eternal battle against Count Dracula, who resurrects every hundred years to menace the European countryside. Specifically, this adapts Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, the 1989 NES Game Pak that introduces iconic series characters, including vampire killer Trevor Belmont and Dracula’s cool quisling son Alucard.
(Photo by Netflix)
GWEN STEFANI: YOU MAKE IT FEEL LIKE CHRISTMAS — Pictured: (l-r) Santa Claus, Gwen Stefani — (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
(2013, 35%) The Counselor
Ridley Scott! Directing from an original script by Cormac McCarthy! What could go wrong? How about the fact
that, despite his A-list status, every other movie Scott directs is actually Rotten? Or that McCarthy had never
written a screenplay before, and his trademark gritty pontificating does not a good script make?
(2017, 21%) The Book of Henry
After directing Jurassic World to $1.5 billion and signing on to do the ninth Star Wars movie,
Colin Trevorrow took a quick detour to make passion project The Book of Henry. It’s a
manipulative, misconceived movie involving adult predators, dead kids and brain tumors, and Naomi Watts prowling
the neighborhood with a sniper rifle. The movie choked on a 21% Tomatometer, and three months later, Trevorrow
exited from directing Star Wars.
(2000, 19%) The Beach
Just two years into Rotten Tomatoes’ infancy, and four years after the groundbreaking
Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s The Beach was a high-profile embarrassment that caused the
director and his star Leonardo DiCaprio — still in the suffocating afterglow of Titanic — to hit the
comeback trail. Boyle’s next movie would be zombie flick-revitalizer 28 Days Later, while DiCaprio
bided his time subjugating
. Oh, and Don’s Plum starting a
fruitful working relationship with Martin Scorsese.
52%) The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A Spidey reboot so soon after Sam Raimi’s infamous Spider-Man 3? Sony ran the risk of audiences
getting fed up being whipped around like so much wrist web around Manhattan, but that was before seeing how well
Andrew Garfield slipped into the role in the Certified Fresh Amazing Spider-Man.. Then came the sequel,
which, fittingly, had the same faults of Spider-Man 3: indifferent direction and way too many villains.
It was enough to get Sony to tie a complicated knot with Marvel, and bring the character over to the MCU.
(2016, 26%) Suicide Squad
After two dour Superman movies from Zack Snyder, comic book fans were hoping to hang their cape on
Suicide Squad for a little levity in the world of DC. Squad was the live-action debut of fan
favorite Harley Quinn, it had Will Smith, the promotional material and trailers were on point, and director
David Ayer had proven himself in other tough genres. Alas, it had the same incomprehensible plotting and muddled
character treatment that plagued the preceding DCEU efforts.
(2017, 35%) Live By Night
At one point, each Ben Affleck-directed movie was ranked 94%. That’s even
more impressive than winning the big Oscar for a movie about a fake science-fiction movie (the closest that
genre will ever get to Best Picture). So Live by Night, Affleck’s gangster period piece, had all the
trappings of another success. And that’s all the more alarming when critics riddled it with a 35% score, leading
to a $10 million domestic gross.
(2017, 29%) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
H’wood has been drawing from the public domain well hardcore these past few years (think Jungle Book,
think Tarzan, think too many movies with the word Origins in the title), so what did this
movie with Charlie Hunnam as chav Arthur have going for it? Well, the director was Guy Ritchie, who was coming
off of cult pleaser Man From U.N.C.L.E. and did a bang-up job updating Sherlock Holmes. (That one time,
at least.) Did we mention Arthur as a chav? Oi! Ultimately, we’re calling this a major turkey because it
presaged for all the turkeys that would quickly follow: Summer 2017 was a tastefully apocalyptic season as
multiple Rotten blockbusters bombed in a row: Baywatch, Transformers: Is It The Fifth One?,
and Pirates: The One That Just Came Out. Naturally, when we got covered in The New
York Times, a major studio chief executive “declared flatly that his mission was to destroy the review-
(2012, 51%) John Carter
“Is it just me, or do we actually know how to do this better than live-action crews do?” Finding
Nemo director Andrew Stanton humbly pondered in a New Yorker piece during production
of John Carter (née Mars). Hopes were high for these Pixar directors to make good on breaking
free of the animation “ghetto” (Brad Bird made Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol the year before),
and rival executives were anticipating they’d be taken down a notch, especially for having the gall to adapt
something as difficult and weird as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books. John Carter‘s anemic marketing and
failure to break past the Fresh barrier led to a cosmic box office bust.
(2004, 54$) Home on the Range
The year is 2004. It’s been 10 years since Walt Disney Animation’s last masterpiece, The Lion King. The
Pixar new wave had changed the industry, and traditional animation was on its way out. Home on the
Range was Disney’s attempt to match the high irreverence of 3D cartoons, which only alienated critics and
audiences. The studio produced only computer animation from there on, save for 2009’s The Princess and the
Frog, which, though Certified Fresh, would again fail to find a global audience.
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Castlevania offers spectacular visuals and a compelling adaptation in its all-too-short first season.
Castlevania season 1 is available to stream now on Netflix.