Reviews

'Dracula Untold' Review

‘Men don’t fear swords. They fear monsters.’

At the turn of the century, the young lord Vlad and his family live a peaceful life ruling over their small kingdom. But when a Turk warlord demands a thousand boys from Vlad, including and his son to create an army, Vlad seeks a terrible power that will allow him to protect his kingdom and family from the Turks at a terrible cost.

Sarah Gadon & Luke Evans in 'Dracula Untold'

Nowadays it seems like there are vampire movies being made left and right. Between the Twilight and Underworld movies and everything in between, there is always one coming out. So I would say that I’ve gotten pretty bored with that material as of late, actually I will say that I just don’t need to see anymore for a while. But I’ll be honest, there was something about Dracula Untold that interested me, a few reasons really. It’s a different take on Dracula, which is just great for us, meaning it’s a take on Dracula before he was Dracula, a take of Vlad as he became the legendary vampire.

It starts off in a way that I usually don’t like, with an explanation monologue about how Vlad became Vlad the Impaler. But once that finishes, it jumps to an opening that I would have much rather seen at the start the movie. We see Vlad in his post-Impaler days as Prince and family man in the quiet life, running and protecting his kingdom as best he can. But of course it can’t stay that way. The Turks, led by Mehmed played by Dominic Cooper, require all the boys in Vlad’s kingdom for his army – just as Vlad was taken away when he was a boy, where he became Vlad the Impaler. And of course, the man who was once called the Impaler doesn’t take kindly to that.

Charles Dance & Luke Evans in 'Dracula Untold'

Up to this point (and the events that turn Vlad into Dracula) in the story I’m invested. I’m interested to see where it goes and like tone and pace of the movie, it’s building to its climax. The climax of the film was good, don’t get me wrong – it just wasn’t ‘big’ enough. The Vlad character moments were awesome, it was an interesting, steady, and entertaining build to where he was going. But the action sequences? I wanted more of it and for it to be bigger. I wanted to see this brand new man turned vampire who was craving blood beat the living crap out of everything, and badly! After the first set, I knew exactly what I was going to see when Vlad was in a fight.

As for Luke Evans, I think he’s just fantastic. I’ve become a true fan of his over the past few years and I think he was a great choice to portray Vlad the Impaler and the devil’s son Dracula. He really brought out the desperate man that Vlad is, trying to save his family and people. He struggled with turning into that blood sucking terror, and once he officially became that hell – Evans owned it completely. If (and hopefully it does) this turns into a franchise or possible ‘monster universe’, Evans was and is a damn good choice as it can only get better.

Of course having Papa Lannister (Charles Dance) as Master Vampire is awesome, he needs to mention. As for Dominic Cooper, his character was interesting. I’m a fan of Cooper as well, but his character was just, off. He didn’t seem as menacing, dangerous, or as terrorizing as he should’ve been. Also, what was up with him all the sudden knowing that silver is a vampire’s kryptonite? If vampire’s are so unknown and hidden at the time, how does everyone in the world know that silver, and sun, and crosses, and holy water will take them down? The legends are around yes, but there was nothing about their weaknesses – just an interesting thought.

Luke Evans in 'Dracula Untold'

If Dracula Untold is in fact the first part of Universal’s monster universe, then it is a positive step in the right direction. With Luke Evans leading the way as Dracula and Universal backing it, the hopeful sequel/franchise/universe should shape up to be pretty good. There’s no doubt things do need to be fixed and tweaked, but it’s a new and refreshing take on the first true vampire, one that might not get boring as quickly as others.

Rating: 6.5/10

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