Dracula (Should Remain) Untold

I saw Dracula Untold in the theater the other night.

Dracula Untold

 

Dracula Untold (2014) – Rated PG-13

Facing threats to his kingdom and his family, Vlad Tepes makes a deal with dangerous supernatural forces – whilst trying to avoid succumbing to the darkness himself.”

My father was a great man, a hero, so they say. But sometimes the world doesn’t need another hero, sometimes what it needs is a monster.

Once upon a time, Universal decided to reboot its long-storied horror franchises with a film starring a handsome, up and coming actor, featuring a lot of stylized fighting, and heavily utilizing some new-fangled computer generated imagery (or CGI for those of you into acronyms). That monstrosity was Van Helsing. It was a good idea followed by a series of bad choices thereby ruining a potential franchise opportunity.

Did Universal learn from this opportunity? Not really. The reins for Dracula Untold were handed to a first time feature director, Gary Shore. He was given a script written by two first-time writers, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless.

You would think that I would like illogical storylines since I adore fantasy, horror, and science fiction and those things by definition stretch the imagination. I have no problem accepting a ludicrous premise as the basis for a movie. The logic just has to be internally consistent.

I love Dracula. My favorite Dracula is the Christopher Lee Hammer version but this doesn’t stop me from enjoying the charms of Universal’s Bela Lugosi, the sexy Frank Langella version, or even the made-for-television Jack Palance version. There are certainly plenty of good ways to interpret an iconic character.

That said, I did not care for Luke Evans’ interpretation. He delivers his lines well but appears to be suffering from constipation throughout the film. His performance does have some magnetism to it but he comes off poorly in his scenes with Charles Dance.

Charles Dance is not the only Game of Thrones veteran in the cast. Art Parkinson, the quite neglected Rickon Stark (whatever happened to him?), plays Vlad’s son. It is not as thankless a role as Rickon but is still fairly minor with a single good scene. Sarah Gadon plays Vlad’s long-suffering wife, Mirena (sounds like Mina, hmmm).

One of Dracula Untold’s strongpoints is also its downfall. The action remains brisk at a mere hour and a half and no scene outstays its welcome. Unfortunately, with this being an origin story with a lot of required exposition, there is precious little time to develop a proper villain. Still it could be done except that the script basically decides that there should be a plethora of antagonists so none are actually developed.

Charles Dance’s character rules the screen but he can do a lot with a little. Dominic Cooper’s Mehmed is unfortunately a little generic aside from an absolutely ridiculous scene late in the film. No spoilers but we’re shown that Dracula is much faster and much, much stronger than a human yet that appears to not be the case when they meet. Obviously the writers and director thought this scene was very clever but it was more eye-rolling than anything else.

Speaking of eye-rolling, apparently not only are the Turkish soldiers uber-elite but they are capable of free climbing cliffs in FULL ARMOR. Not only does Dracula do this but so do many members of the Turkish army. The Turkish army also has no problem outmarching a group of refugees who have a good headstart on a fairly short trek. The silliness just takes you out of the suspension of disbelief necessary for this film.

While Dracula Untold is not worth your time or money, it is pretty, Charles Dance is great, Luke Evans isn’t bad, and the movie itself is a brisk hour and a half. You could do worse for Halloween. I’m just hoping for better. I’m looking at you Ouija, Horns, and Annabelle.

FREE Movie Tickets – Dracula Untold, Fury, Penguins of Madagascar

Yay! After quite a dry spell, it looks like the FREE movie offers are coming back.

Dracula Untold

At Wal-Mart, they have an endcap of Universal horror DVDs and Blu-Rays that have $7.50 movie money for Dracula Untold. This includes classic titles such as The Complete Frankenstein Legacy Collection as well as more modern fare such as the Brendan Fraser Mummy series. It is Fandango movie money so caveat emptor.

Fury

Fandango is offering a Buy One, Get One FREE deal on Fury. You have to go to one of the theaters that supports Fandango ticketing and pay their pesky fee but still a nice deal. AMC Stubs members have the ticket fee waived.

Penguins of Madagascar

Fox is re-releasing a bunch of its animated titles on October 21st. These will have movie money for the new Penguins of Madagascar film. Titles include: Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, Madagascar 1 & 2, Shrek, Rise of the Guardians, and Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron.

* AMC Theaters have a coupon for a $1 large popcorn if you sign up on their Facebook page.

* Closer to Christmas, Warner will be rereleasing all of their Tolkien titles with movie money for the final Hobbit movie.

Wal-Mart for the Win – Dracula Untold & Kiefer Sutherland

I was at Wal-Mart the other day, perusing the movie section while my wife was shopping elsewhere.

Dracula Untold

 

They had an endcap of old and new Universal horror movies. There were single copies of classics like Dracula and Frankenstein as well as multi-packs of more modern fare such as the Tremors series. Most of them had stickers for $7.50 off a movie ticket for the new Dracula Untold movie.

Off in their new release section, I also found the newly released Universal Frankenstein Legacy Collection and Dracula Collection. Each were $19.99 with Dracula Untold tickets. If you own the old versions of these, you might consider upgrading as The Frankenstein Legacy old version contained: Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein. The new version contains all of those as well as Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The only difference in title is, instead of The Legacy Collection, it is The Complete Legacy Collection.

Kiefer 24

 

Hilarity ensued when I got to this option. For a mere five dollars, you can have a 24 hour movie binge with Kiefer Sutherland. This is a brilliant repackaging of two of Echo Bridge’s previous action movie collections. Out of the whopping 17 movies in the two collections, I believe only one of them actually stars Kiefer Sutherland. That would be the better forgotten Brotherhood of Justice from 1986 where Kiefer looks like this:

Brotherhood of Justice

I wonder how many people will buy this thinking that they are getting 24 for $5.