Director: Gary Shore
Starring: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance
Strike away your views on Dracula, the bloodthirsty monster, and instead try to focus on this version who comes across as a romantic. This was never going to be easy.
When Sultan Mehmed (Cooper) demands for 1,000 young boys from Transylvania as tribute to his Turkish Empire, Vlad the Impaler (Evans) seeks supernatural help in order to save his people. With the help of a vampire (Dance), Vlad uses his superhuman strength to rally his people together against the invading forces in order to protect his family. But, if Vlad wishes to remain human, he must resist feeding on human blood for three days. Will three days be long enough to defeat the Turkish armies or will Vlad succumb to temptation?
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Dracula is not an untold story. Everyone has heard of him which is why they’ve decided to see this movie. This renders the opening montage giving a brief (made up) history of the character pointless as we listen to Vlad’s son saying that he’ll explain the truth. What Dracula Untold tries to do is give a new spin on the legend, recounting the events that transpire before Vlad became Dracula and, in doing this, portrays him as a ‘good guy’ instead of the monster that general convention sees him as. The last film to do something like this was I, Frankenstein which is one of the worst supernatural movies to ever be made.
Having a rating of 15 meant that the film was pretty family friendly, but not so much as to be a 12A, and also lacked the horror and gore that the public would have loved to see in a modern Dracula movie, which would have made it an 18. Having the film as a 15 was probably the second biggest mistake that the movie could make.
The biggest would be having Cooper cast as Mehmed. Cooper is absolutely brilliant here, nearly unrecognisable under the amount of fake tan, and puts on such a thick accent that it is hard to discern that it is him until he has appeared on screen a few times. Compare this to Evans and they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas Cooper doesn’t have to act using many emotions, Evans is giving numerous in every scene as he has to be the ruler, the husband, the father, and the enemy all the time. This is great. What is lacking is his accent. He sounds normal with his accent that seems as if he’s just stepped straight off the set of Fast and Furious 6. There’s no “I vant to suck your blood” in the accent that everyone knows.
The ending is pretty poor as Charles Dance turns up (which makes no sense since it’s 700 years later) and Evans meets a woman that looks exactly like his wife & he somehow knows her favourite piece of poetry. Really? That’s the route this film wants to go down if there’s going to be a sequel? Great ending…
Whilst potentially trying to match the furiosity of the fights in 300 (300 vs. thousands is now subbed out for 1 vs. thousands) the film relies more on changing the image of Dracula. Instead of a war for him homeland, Dracula appears to be constantly on the run from the action – much like the film. It’s unsure whether the openness of the ending will result in a sequel depicting Dracula in modern times, but any further instalments will have to be of a more violent nature. Dracula Untold may have a different story, but there is nothing new that happens.