LUKE EVANS SARAH GADON DOMINIC COOPER CHARLES DANCE
Vampires have become as common or at least as frequent box office headliners as
superheroes. With Halloween around the corner, and Twilight/True Blood fans thirsty
for something new, Legendary films is craving to deliver something Batman-like (just
look at the poster if you don’t think they carbon copied The Dark Knight poster).
Dracula Untold is a calculated debut. With a script and acting that makes even Kristen
Stewert and Robert Pattinson appear important, this origin bloodsucker action film
is desperate for credibility and lacking in riveting characters or true sustainability
(that won’t stop the studio from delivering endlessly mind-numbing sequels).
Desperate to protect the people of Transylvania from the Turks, prince Vlad Dracula
(Evans) makes a dangerous deal with the blood sucking vampire who resides high above
the mountain cliffs. The Master Vampire (Dance) has been waiting centuries for the
right man to set him free. Vlad drinks the vampire blood in order to assume the dark
powers for three days, which will allow him to single handedly defeat the Turkish
armies. If within those three days he can resist feeding for the blood, he will return
to normal. If he cannot resist, the transformation will be complete and he will become
In the first battle where Vlad exercises his newly found power, we watch a Lord
of the Rings style battle but with one man on one side versus thousands on another.
There isn’t much suspense; how could there be with the power he exudes? However,
the fight remains just as long as we watch without suspense. The script doesn’t allow
much room for character development. The one female in the film, Vlad’s wife Mirena
(Gadon), has a character depth that consists of screaming for help, pining for her
husband and begging to be rescued. Luke Evans is an odd choice for this high profile
reboot; it seems his small role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took him from
background actor to leading man in just one year.
Predictability is one of the film’s biggest problems, and it’s partly the fault
of the studio, who views this as a franchise reboot. The production value is high
enough to satisfy the era, setting and surroundings of the story. Evan's performance
as the all-knowing protector never truly explores the consequences of the good guy
making a deal with the devil to protect everything he loves. Instead, the script
rushes him into the exploding-traveling bat powers so he can jet around the country
killing those who wronged him. There are no inspired castings, no underlying meanings
here, and nothing gut wrenching in the way of action sequences or delivery.