Dracula Untold

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You got to hand it to filmmakers that run out of ideas. Aside from all the remakes and reboots, they’re doing these prequels. We get to know what happened before The Wizard of Oz. We got to see a number of films that showed us what happened before Luke blew up the Death Star in Star Wars. And since the kids all love those sexy vampires from Twilight, why not make the story of how Dracula started? Instead of it being really bloody and gory, they’ll keep it at PG-13. Instead of Vlad the Impaler being this evil 15th century Romanian ruler that impaled bodies on poles to send a message – he’ll be good to his wife and son. He has become…Vlad the Hugger! When his child is scared, he’ll hug him. When his wife is worried about an upcoming war, he’ll hug and kiss her, telling her everything will be alright. With Luke Evans playing him with charisma, the women are sure to fall in love with him the way they did Edward (or is it Jacob they loved?). It’s just a shame a better movie wasn’t written.

Vlad is on the verge of war against the Turks, and wanting to protect his people, he makes a deal with the devil. Well, with a dude in a bat-filled cave. That guy is played by Charles Dance from Game of Thrones (another Thrones actor, Art Parkinson, is in it also); oddly enough – that’s what this movie feels like; an episode of Game of Thrones. With such great costumes and weapons, and a few cool visuals, it wanted to go for that vibe.

The vampire gives Vlad supernatural powers, but he’s told he has to go three days without drinking blood, or he’ll become a vampire for life. That’s tough, considering you’ve got bloody bodies on the battlefield, and when you’re making love to your gorgeous wife, well….she’s got that throbbing neck right there in front of him!

When Vlad got all his super-powers, it did make for a few fun fight scenes. I’m just a little confused on what his powers actually are. All his senses are heightened, sure; but…how is it he can become a swarm of bats, and then immediately turn back into a person? I don’t mind him controlling other bats, I just don’t like him becoming a swarm of bats. He can become one bat, not 100! Oh, it’s probably best not to talk about the plot holes in this. There are many.

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I’m not sure I can fault first-time director Gary Shore for never really nailing the right tone. There are a lot of things thrown out there and with most audiences, that’s all you need. I would’ve preferred a scarier film, and although I’m not into gore, a movie of this subject needs to show the blood and guts, instead of worrying about the PG-13 rating.

Dominic Cooper is an actor I’ve liked for awhile. He was great in Captain America, An Education, and as a terrifying bad guy in The Devil’s Double. Cooper was even in another vampire flick – the underrated Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He does a decent job in this as well.

This movie kind of sucked (pun intended), but it could’ve been worse.

It gets 2 stars out of 5.

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