Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dracula Untold (and it should have stayed that way)

Dracula Untold 
Luke Evans is Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold, the heir apparent to the Universal Dracula legacy is in theaters now and due to boredom, and against my own judgment, I went to see it. Honestly I wasn't expecting much. The trailers looked pretty so I was expecting a slick, high def, effects filled piece of nothing. I wasn’t disappointed in that regard. Now to be fair it wasn't totally horrible as far a film goes. But for a Dracula film, a film picked to usher in Universal's classics to new generation, it was bad.
"Miss me yet?"

Luke Evans didn't make a bad vampire, and he did OK with the script and direction he was given. That and the visual effects, and a couple of the fight scenes are about all I can say good about the film though. The final battle between Dracula and his vampire minions was the best part of the film. It was the only time it felt like a horror film versus a dark fantasy. If more of the film was like this, I would have liked it better. Alas even this scene was over way to soon.

That's the good. Now to the bad. Vlad Tepes has an interesting history, but it's the history as a cruel leader. He may well have been a just leader, depending on which historian you ask, but there is no doubt to his cruelty. He impaled captured soldiers, had ambassador's turbans nailed to their heads, and burned his own people alive. Changing his history to make him this noble night who only shed blood to save blood is just silly. Other stories have painted the Dracula story as a tragic love story without white washing his violent past.
Just the tip he said

The movie is full of logic holes. The sultan blindfolds his men and has them march to a mountaintop fortress? Which is made even sillier by the fact the army reaches that mountain top while marching exclusively on wide swatches of flat open land. Yes, even though Vlad and his family had to march through heavy forests, and up cliff faces, the Sultan takes the nice easy path all the way to the gates.  Being natives doesn’t it seem to reason the Transylvanians would have taken the quick easy way, versus going a way that leaves them trapped on a cliff face?

Then near the end of the movie Dracula watches the army slowly approach, while moaning that he only has one night of his demonic power left. Only one night left and you simply sit and watch. Then as dawn breaks you decide to attack. As a matter of fact, why, with limited time and unstoppable power, did you spend the night hours preparing defenses? Why not use that time killing Turks? Dracula could have organized defenses while standing in the shade.
I said just the tip!
Not from Dracula Untold

Then there is this whole thing about being hurt by sunlight and having to fight at night. Well that makes sense for a vampire. Except in Dracula Untold, the Prince can apparently affect the weather and cause clouds to block out the sun. So why not use this power BEFORE the Turks kill your wife and kidnap your son?

There were lots of other silly moments, like Dracula's reflection in a sword, Dracula's minions turning on him, the Sultan just is able to set an elaborate trap in just a few minutes. Really the trick with the silver coins seems like something a 14 year old would think up during his first time playing Dungeons and Dragons. “Uhh unbeknown to the vampire lord, Mehmed has lined his tent with silver coins and bags of silver coins causing +4 damage to the vampire”

This is not a spray tan my brother, and I promise, just the tip
Dracula Untold

Last but not least, lets talk about Renfield. Renfield, no longer a London real estate broker, but apparently a Transylvanian beggar. Not an innocent who stumbles into Dracula's trap but a slimy little dude who knows Dracula is a vampire and wants to encourage his blood thirst and be his servant. Really? Do these new Hollywood screenwriters even glance at the source material?

My son, never trust the Turks. Especially when they promise it's just the tip
Dracula Nevertold

So final verdict. If you want to go see a shiny flashy Hollywood fantasy, with sword fights, eternal love, and an ending that somehow reminds me of the final scene in Battlestar Galactica (the reboot series), then by all means throw down ten bucks for Dracula Untold. But if you are looking for a good horror movie, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a modern telling of the Universal Dracula, then you will be sorely disappointed with Dracula Untold. C'mon Universal, lets not do this to your legacy.

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