Since the advent of cinema, anecdote of vampire has been remained a fascinating archetype for filmmakers. Irish novelist Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel ‘Dracula’ (1897) is the main source of inspiration for more than 190 horror movies and its main character Vlad The Impaler serves as preeminent theme to depict twentieth century’s brutal blood sucking monstrous fiend.
Over the years, every attempt has been made by filmmakers to enrich realness for an accurate adaptation of Stoker’s novel to entice fans of the Dracula genre. Gary Shore’s directorial debut, Dracula Untold unpredictably displays unconventional epitome – created to show spectators know-how about the famous fable.
Shore not only exhibited zeal to remain faithful to the accuracy, but demonstrated his directorial razor-sharp incisive instincts; stylized for a debut venture. Just like Maleficent, Shore selected a diverse version of archetypical Dracula character to narrate catastrophic back-story of blood-sucking evil, as character of Master Vampire says;
“You think you know the story of Dracula. You have no idea. But I’m going to show you…”
The film is reasonable when it comes to its performance, attire, art, locations and needless to say anecdote. The mountainous landscape of Northern Ireland gives an immense epic touch, whereas smooth special effects and metaphors add dramatic aspects and precise rumple.
So, does this new Dracula movie ends up to the colossal anticipations?
In the beginning, you will be wholly astonished by the staggering visuals, poignant background account and development of storyline. As a moviegoer, you will definitely expect for those dark shadows, scary scenes and echoing soundtrack, however, it never happens. The whole story unfolds slickly and left you a little bit disappointed. At the end of the movie, you will be baffled to find out storyline has taken you to a new direction – the modern world.
The movie is set in 15th century Transylvania, where Vlad III Tepes a.k.a Vlad the Impaler, played by Luke Evans, also known as Prince of Wallachia is living a contented life with queen Mirena, played by Sarah Gadon and son. However, Vlad’s life became miserable when Ottoman King Mehmed II, played by Dominic Cooper, demands Wallachia’s 1,000 boys including little prince, be recruited into Turkish royal army.
Vlad’s mutiny would mean destruction of his small kingdom. Having no option left, Vlad goes to a monster hiding in Broken Tooth Mountain, who with out any delay infused him with supernatural powers, for instance, speeds of a falling star and strength of 100 men, to cease the Turkish invasion.
The rest of the story is well twisted and revolves around the historic bargain, combats and obligation. It is an exceptional adaptation of the vampire chronicle with Vlad the Impaler as valiant Prince longing for peace; whose faithfulness to his people costs him greatly, as Vlad says;
“You are alive because of what I did to save you!”
Scriptwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless blended together history and mythology for an appealing fantasy plot, which flows smoothly despite numerous variations. It doesn’t infringe traditional approach, thus creating a dark fantasy with graphic aesthetic.
At times, the movie does appear artificial due to extra use of computer generated imagery. The jagged editing and weak climax is a big disappointment. The movie fails to be engaging due to these neglected areas.
Luke Evans of Fast & Furious 6, flawlessly plays the mysterious, bitter and multifarious Vlad. He manages to affix drama, brute and dreadfulness with his charisma. Sara Gadon of Belle and Charles Dance of Games of Thrones performed captivating supporting characters.
Overall, Dracula Untold failed to show the horror element, it lacks the spirit and essence of its ancestry – the Dracula legacy. Despite the spectacular visuals and dramatic scenes, the movie is clearly unexciting and botched to engross its moviegoers, although Shore tried to add love story and tragedy to legendary Dracula chronicle for surplus glorification.
On the contrary, if you can ignore certain shortcomings, you may conclude Dracula Untold is not a fully boring movie – thanks to its original subject. Those spectators, who are not familiar with background of Dracula’s Romanian tale, will definitely enjoy it and wait for a potential sequel.
I would rate it 2.5 out of 5.