DRACULA UNTOLD [Review]: The Pale Moon Rises.
Today, I will be describing a new dark and delicious fantasy action dish called Dracula Untold. We begin by gathering our ingredients. You will need:
-1 Whole Cast of Great Actors
-1/2 c Bram Stoker’s Dracula
-1/3 c of Nolan Batman Begins
-1/4 c Miller 300
-1/6 c History
-2 tbs. Devil’s Advocate
-1 tbs. Spiderman/Superman spice mix
-1 ts. of Marty McFly
Directions: Combine it in a large bowl and serve Gary Shore’s different perspective and Schwartzman panache.
To clear things up, Dracula Untold is not your typical vampire flick with sexy vampires trying to seduce you and make you say “Hmmm. Letting someone drink my blood and killing people for food don’t seem THAT bad.” No, it is that bad. You are just horny and lonely. Go watch some Cinemax after dark or, if you want to be slightly more classy, read one of the later Anita Black Vampire Hunter books.
For Shore’s debut as a director, he did an amazing job with the cast and ensuring that the main characters were developed adequately on film. This was a sharp contrast with other more “experienced” directors like Michael Bay, who is all beautiful shots and no story or develops minor characters that are quickly blown up as seen in Transformer 3.
However, despite being very successful at fresh charactertization of familiar characters, there were a few character decisions mainly with Vlad (Luke Evans) that seem to the casual viewer to be a little inconsistent with his established character. As a man that states that he desires peace after years of impaling people, he seemed like he started a war over a Marty McFly moment when he was about to hand over his son, Ingeras (Art Parkinsin) who bravely made the decision to become a royal hostage instead of causing a war, and changed his mind suddenly when a Turkish solider tauntingly said that he thought that he was hoping for more of a “resistance” from Vlad.
Clearly, from Vlad’s sudden change in facial expression and his immediate slaying of all the small party of Turkish soldiers that he selfishly put his kingdom as stake out of pure and simple hubris–or because of his duty as a prince or his duty as a father/husband. And, to later tell his son, that the war and his decision to temporarily become a vampire were all because of his son, seemed like a lot of pressure to put on any kid. This poor kid will be remembered as the Helen of Troy of Transylvania.
This spur of the moment decision to go to war, a war that his kingdom cannot win over the vast army of Sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper), makes Vlad desperate to seek out the Master Vampire (Charles Dance) he encountered at earlier inside Broken Tooth Mountain. This horror-like scene between the two characters was a great departure from old school vampire seduction scenes. In fact, Vlad not only willingly wants to be a vampire because he, like Bruce Wayne, understands that “Sometimes, the world doesn’t need another hero; sometimes, what it needs is a monster” as stated at the beginning of the film. Just like Bruce becomes Batman, Vlad will take up his mantle as Dracula the Son of the Devil, the true definition of his name and not the rose color definition he was taught.
Master Vampire kind of matter-of-factly tells him the black and white consequences, both good and mostly bad. Like the MV described, this was all a game that will eventually end in Vlad’s failure. Yet, like many a man and woman, Vlad will, of course, overestimate himself and underestimate others and that circumstances make all things malleable. Oh, hubris…you are the devil.
Without spoiling any too much of the exciting details of this reimagining of the origin of the most loved and hated vampire of all time, the transformation he undergoes will remind you of our favorite neighborhood Spider-Man: He gains superhuman qualities and the ability to wield the power of darkness like the weather and bats. That said, the fight scenes are visually stimulating thanks to the skills of John Schwartzman (Armageddon). Despite the excellent cinematography, I do have to say that the choppiness of the first half of the film made it hard to get into the movie. Scenes seem to break suddenly and away, it wasn’t until after Vlad became a vampire did things seem to have a more natural flow. This could be because the exposition of this Dracula’s new origin is the most difficult thing to tell as it is the draw of the film.
But despite this and a typical corny dialogue here and there, Dracula Untold was probably the best reimaging of the Dracula story yet. And this story isn’t finished yet. Prepare for a possible sequel. Shore and his writers sure have.