Let’s lay all the cards out on the table. The Bears had a late start and I had a free ticket at Regal 17 due to expire October 21st. Yes, I could have used it on Boxtrolls or The Equalizer but Dracula opened this week, started earlier and was shorter than the other films so it won.
Now going in Dracula Untold had me intrigued. It had a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- Cinemascore. The only way I could reconcile those was the movie was so bad it was good (and those movies are amazing) but none of the reviews suggested this. And this was not the case. The film isn’t horrible but there’s nothing to give it a good review either. Very ho-hum, middle of the road. It’s kind of the opposite of The Lego Movie. That movie was good but not good enough for a 96% tomatometer. But there wasn’t enough bad for anyone to give it a bad review.
The movie tells the origin of Dracula (Luke Evans) tying him to Vlad Tepes, who Stoker used as the source of the original Dracula story. Vlad is Transylvanian and that country was beholden to the Turkish Empire. As a child Vlad was delivered to the Turks as part of a tribute of 1000 boys who would serve in the Turkish army. Vlad grew to become The Impaler during these times and then returned to Transylvania to rule as Prince. Now, with a beautiful bride and child of his own, the Turks again demand a tribute of boys to serve. Vlad, leader that he is, refuses and the Turks invade. What, O what ever will Vlad do to protect his people?
There is a mountain where none return and in it resides a vampire cursed to stay there until another comes to take his power and free him. Vlad goes to this vampire and is turned, but only for three days. If he can resist drinking human blood for three days he will revert back but until then he is a vampire. Strong, fast, can turn into bats and control them. He’s also vulnerable to the sun but not religious symbols. At least not until he drinks human blood and he should have an insatiable thirst for blood but maybe he’s pretty strong willed. Oh, and silver too. I picture Colin Farrel in Fright Night (2011) after being shot by Imogen Poots saying “That’s Werewolves.” And it is but here, silver burns and in great quantities weakens him. And of course the old stake through the heart will destroy him.
Evans is a fine actor and he stands out as a loving husband and father tormented by vampirism but he’s the only one. No one else is even one dimensional. The CG is fine too. But overall nothing really stands out. It feels very by-the-numbers. There is the potential for sequels and apparently this will end up being part of a shared Universal Monster universe with creatures like Frankenstein, the Wolfman and so on. Dracula Untold was not great but I didn’t feel like I lost two hours of my life which I’ll never get back either. You don’t need to rush out and see this — you’re not missing anything.
Speaking of missing things Box Office Mojo seems to have temporarily disappeared and now seems to sorta be back.
Trailers: Interstellar, Hobbit 3, The Interview, Kingsman, Seventh Son and Blackhat. The Interview, a Franco/Rogan vehicle, looks amazing.