A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that sensitive kids may be unnerved by the tentacle-growing potatoes and fang-bearing vampires depicted in this animated feature. Kids who like scary movies will enjoy these tales, and preteens may get more out of the verbal humor and satire on couch potatoes. Teens are likely to want to watch an actual horror movie.
What's the story?
The typical teenage world of Archie gets a supernatural makeover in these episodes from the Archie's Weird Mysteries TV series. In a brief prologue, Archie explains that an accident at a Riverdale physics lab initiated a series on non-stop weird events -- so many that Archie now covers them for the school newspaper. In the first story, Jughead wins an on-air contest during a horror movie marathon and is awarded a potato-shaped trophy. Unfortunately, the potato sprouts tentacles, absorbs Jughead's life force, and turns into an evil Jughead. Now Archie must find and destroy the Great Potato before Riverdale falls victim to potatoes from outer space. More trouble comes when attractive new transfer student Scarlett Helsing announces an imminent attack by throngs of vampires. An ancient book prophesies that the invasion can only be foiled by the "chosen one." But who is the chosen one? Could it be -- Veronica?
Is it any good?
ARCHIE AND THE RIVERDALE VAMPIRES accurately captures the look of the comic book characters, and the animation is generally polished. The voices are a bit bland, unfortunately, with no voice having the memorable charm of, say, Scooby-Doo's Shaggy. Still, the show manages to stay true to the world of Archie, while adding the new wrinkle of marauding monsters. There's enough verbal humor to entertain older viewers, but overall this video is best suited to Archie fans.
The potato segment is a ludicrous reworking of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and provides some amusing satire. The vampire story offers fewer moments of cartoonish absurdity. The idea of having the frivolous Veronica believing that she's the "chosen one" -- the only one who can save Riverdale from bloodthirsty vampires -- is fun, but the plotting is too straightforward and serious for it to be effective. Characters continually have to explain what's going on, leading to such awkward lines as a vampire stating, "I wasn't being blasted into mist. I was actually escaping as a mist."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Jughead's sloth led to his body being overtaken by the evil potato. They may also want to talk about how the image a girl portrays, like Veronica's, may be a mask hiding a stronger, more intelligent girl. Why do girls put on that mask? What would you do in that situation?
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