Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dracula Untold

It occurs to me that a written opinion piece about a film isn't the most...fashionable?...way to go.  I would consider doing this via YouTube, but I just lack the kind of presence to make that work.  I can talk a mile of shit, but the minute I know someone is looking at me, I tend to lose steam.  Plus I only really know how to express myself through snarkily captioned pictures, culled from the internet.

MLM(IL) was kind enough to pick up Dracula Untold on Saturday, so we watched it that evening.  It's intended as the beginning of a series of reboots for the classic Universal Studios Monsters, re-imaging them, not as horror icons, but as dark anti-heros.  I just...I don't know.  I really don't.  The very thought of this re-branding makes me get all, I don't know, internet-fan-boy.  You know, the folks that rail and rant about reboots of their childhood favorites.  Not quite "Those fat whores are ruining Ghostbusters!" (which is a thing), but definitely not pleased.  Biased even.  So we popped in the DVD, and I told myself to just repeat "This isn't Dracula.".

Which is fair.  It's not remotely like the novel by Bram Stoker.  It kind of took up the fact that Stoker borrowed a name from Transylvanian history, and incorporated a bit of historical fact with a modern vampire-turned-romatic hero fiction.  This isn't exactly new territory, as Bram Stoker's Dracula did the same thing, to great effect (despite Keanu Reeves and Wynona Ryder).  I think I've mentioned it somewhere before, but I really dig that film.  It never gets old for me.  So, right off the bat I'm given a very easy out for my discomfort.  This is NOT Dracula.  They just happen to share a name.

This Rachel is not a Werewolf Mommy.

I'll be honest when I say that I'm not as familiar with the historical Dracula, or Vlad The Impaler, as I ought to be.  As much time as I spent in high school learning as much vampire folklore as my tiny, blackened heart could retain, I just didn't glean a lot of that part of history.

You just don't understand the beauty of blood and pain, MOM!!!!

I do have vague recollections of a TV movie about the historical Vlad.  It was riding on the popularity of Vampirism, hoping to capitalize on the new-born mainstream popularity of the hero-vampire.  So, except for some very basic knowledge, I was walking into Dracula Untold blind.  This worked in my favor.

I'm not going to get into the plot too much, except to say it wasn't that bad.  Just keep telling yourself "It's not that Dracula," and you'll be ok.  Basically, blah blah blah, enemy army, blah blah blah, have to save my family, blah blah blah, save Gotham...no, wait.

He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

It had some good special effects, and it had some really terrible ones.  The ending was baffling.  I know it's meant to be the start of a new franchise, but it seriously made me want to punch a baby.

I don't know how great an endorsement "Not as bad as I expected" is, but it's the best one I can offer.  Don't buy it, unless you like horror-turned action and haven't placed the classic Dracula, in any of his many incarnations, on a pedestal.  But don't not at least rent it or borrow it or whatever.  It's not that bad.  It's almost good.

Just kidding.  I am Batman.

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