Universal looking to kickstart Dracula’s rebirth in the newest. How do they do?
Dracula Untold is universals first attempt to try and give life back into their classic monster series; this is a vampire film, hint-hint. Taking notes from Marvel and DC and seeing them make it big with their now well-known superhero franchises such as Iron Man, Captain America, Batman and the surprising success of Guardians Of The Galaxy; Universal attempts to try and do the same with some of their famous monsters, Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Invisible Man. In 1931, Universal hit it big with their brilliantly terrifying horror, Dracula. Hammer Film Productions then had a crack at the Transylvanian vampire in 1958, cultivating a far more gothic and gory experience than anyone could imagine. This series also, ran into the ground. Planning to start the cycle again, Universal must hope do at least as well as its predecessors.
Dracula Untold follows Vlad III, of House Dracula and his transformation from solider to monster. After being abducted by the Turks as a small boy and raised to be a solider known as Vlad The Impaler, Vlad leaves his old life behind when the Turks Sultan grants him his new title, Prince of Transylvania. Whilst on a mission, Vlad’s party stumble across and only narrowly escape an ancient master vampire. A little later on Vlad is forced to battle an invasion from his adopted race, the Turks, for refusing to give the the national army, 1000 Boys including his son to rebuild the imperial force. In desperate need, Vlad returns to the vampire seeking aid…
This film, a so-called mixed bag,where visually everything feels real, perhaps doesn’t feel alive. Filmed in Northern Ireland combined with top-level CGI, you’d be forgiven this is a Game of Thrones-esqe winner. The acting is also another strong point throughout, Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon and Dominic Cooper taking the lead roles with an honourable mention to Charles Dance as the master vampire. Evans and Gadon do, as one would expect from these two, a fierce job at portraying Dracula and his wife. Gadon especially provides the film with far more emotion than any other character which could probably have been utilised a lot more. Evans delivery is powerful; his Dracula commanding and the centrepiece of the screen, thankfully so, as is often the case in this genre, someone else outside of the titular role steals the show. As always, Charles Dance delivers a virtuoso performance despite being in a but a few scenes and succeeds in connecting eery and creepy as the master vampire. Elsewhere the soundtrack wasn’t special, but adequate, for lack of a better word.
The one fatal flaw with this movie is sadly, the story. However, I don’t think its totally anyone’s fault. When creating origin stories it is so much harder to create a riveting dialogue due to the oft-practice of knowledge dumping, to set the scene. These limitations always plague origin films unless the piece moves away from the normal canon of the character and make it their own. Why therefore I must ask, did Universal not try to recreate their infamous character? To redefine Dracula. Why not? Its a story that has been re-played almost as much as Superman. That said, the mix of Vlad the Impaler’s life and our favourite Count Dracula did work well, just not well enough. It’s a good film. Not the best, but not the worst.
Director: Gary Shore
Cast: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon
Genre: Action, Drama
Running Time: 92 minutes
Simon is new to the Queens Radio scene but is here to impress. He enjoys films, tech and video games,rarely seen outside, do not feed...