Bullet Points: Dracula Untold
After Marvel made an obscene amount of money developing their own cinematic universe, Universal Studios, home to some of the most beloved characters of 70 years ago, decided that they would try to do the same and throw a bunch of them together in somewhat of a Monsters Avengers flick. In order to do it, though, they started with what should have been a sure fire hit in the Dracula character. Step 1: Introduce Dracula and why he’s so emo, Step 2: collect money and add in other characters with similar romantic and familial issues. I don’t believe Universal ever made it past step 1…
The Gist: Vlad ‘the Impaler’ has returned to his homeland after being a child hostage to the Turks and learning to be a great warrior. Now, along with his wife and child, he only desires peace and will stop at nothing to protect his people. That dedication causes Vlad to seek out a monsters power in order to stop the Turks from taking over his land and stealing the children to be used as soldiers in the coming war. Vlad, now stricken with the bloodlust of the vampire, must fight the urge to feed before it turns him into the monster he vowed to never become.
The Cast: Luke Evans probably watched the Gary Oldman version of Dracula and thought that he would be able to wear cool hairpieces and sneak around the shadows like some sort of ninja but instead he looks like he walked directly off of The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies set and put on a longer cloak for a few weeks for Dracula Untold. I don’t even really understand what is so ‘Untold’ about it. They try to make Dracula an empathetic character but instead they just turn him into a selfish pussy who essentially gives up his land and all those who live in it for the safety of his own child. Evans sulks around like some millennial crybaby for most of the movie while he spends the other parts flying around as a gaggle of bats. There are other people in the film as well….white people. A striking number of white people portraying Turks.
“I want to save my people!” (immediately gets them into a war with a much larger army)
The Villain: It’s the Sultan that Vlad grew up with! Couldn’t they come up with some other movie trope than the one we’ve seen a dozen times? The guy who plays Tony Stark’s dad in the MCU plays the leader of the Turks and he looks about as Turkish as Taylor Swift. I’m not normally one to point out the ‘white washing’ that goes in these big budget flicks, in fact I wrote a piece on it a while ago, but I don’t remember any of the Turkish soldiers looking like they should even be in this film. While we’re on the subject of the Turks in the film, did anyone else wonder why they even bothered going after Vlad and his small holdings. I know they wanted soldiers and all but it seemed like the worst possible decision in history.
“Quickly dye this guys goatee black so he’ll look more Turkish!”
The Action: Vlad turns into a bunch of bats and kills like a thousand dudes without so much as a cut on the cheek. Am I to believe that Dracula was so powerful that he could take out that many dudes but then some guy named Van Helsing killed him with the leg of a broken table? Jesus…. The rest of the action scenes are pretty similar; Vlad flies around in a swarm of bats, appearing only to throw another helpless white Turk into the air, then he cries around about how much he loves his family. This is not the Dracula that people want to see.
For a guy who is totally against slave soldiers he sure goes nuts and kills a shit-load of them.
Take it Home:
- To the Salon: Where did all of the Turks get their hair trimmers and hair paste at?
- No time for a montage: 40 seconds after becoming a vampire Vlad kills a thousand guys with a bunch of powers he never knew existed. He’s a fast learner.
- Spoiler alert: At the end of the film, Vlad’s old lady falls from a high-ass tower and somehow survives the fall long enough to talk to her hubby. That would be ok if it was like 3 stories but she fell for a solid minute straight.
- Teleportation: Dracula isn’t the only one with powers, apparently, because several characters appear in places seconds after they were in an area far from there.
The Verdict: Somehow the guy who played Pee Wee Herman was a better vampire in Buffy than Luke Evans is here. This is another case where they’re trying too hard to make a demonic monster empathetic to the viewer. Just give me a Dracula who is charming/evil and sucks peoples blood, not this Hot Topic sissy.