Baddie – Ottoman Turks. Those guys never learn.
Lesson – Great vampire movie, or GREATEST VAMPIRE MOVIE?
Continuing the Octoberween Vampire spirit, I went to go see Dracula Untold and boy did I not regret it. Guys, I don’t think it’s a huge secret that I like these kinds of movies. Single guy against the world with some kind of awesome power. Conan, Hercules, I, Frankenstein…it’s all amazing. I unabashedly am the kind of person that pumps the air with my fist and laughs quietly to myself when something horrendously and tremendously awesome happens. I love it.
And I loved Dracula Untold. I loved it. It was a blast and a half. It had everything you’ve ever secretly wanted in a vampire movie but were too afraid to ask for. Brooding main star? Check. Luke Evans, I’m so happy Hollywood has you and your emo mug. Delicate but weirdly strong backbone-in-the-shape-of-a-wife? Check. Bat bending a la Avatar? CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK.
Alright, so the deal is that Vlad the Impaler, reluctant monster fighting for the Turks. He’s allowed to retire and rule Transylvania in peace with his new wife and young boy child. Until the Turks decide they’d like more boy soldiers, and specifically, they’d like eye-lashes-McGee, Vlad’s kid. Vlad is having none of this, because he’s kind of a selfish jerk. Alright, I get it, he had a hard childhood, and now he’s kind of bitter about it. But he is like, super duper lucky he had the ‘turn into a vampire’ option, because otherwise this would have ended badly for Transylvania.
I maintain that this movie is kind of sitcom-y Dracula, like, he’s selfish and he loves his family much more than he can control, and he has to deal with a ridiculous situation (vampirism). That being said, it’s seriously so much fun to watch him go through it. The moment of his very literal birth (in a stream) as a vampire is super delightful and adorable. The fight scenes are satisfyingly insane, and the vampire aspects are played up super hard. I don’t want to spoil too much, I just want to rave about how much fun I had.
I must also address the prosthetics and costuming, because they were insanely good. The costuming in particular was really amazing, with the fine details people have come to expect from period pieces like Downtown Abbey and Game of Thrones. Elegant, simple, historically accurate enough to evoke a feeling, really superb work. Production-wise, we’re talking about a fairly solid film. I particularly liked the beginning sequence, but I could have dealt without the fighting through the sword reflection.
The production value on this movie was shockingly high. It was a much more beautiful movie than it really had any right to be, and visually speaking, it had some really unique imagery. My biggest complaint was the subtle red glow of the vamp eyes. That didn’t really translate well.
If I had any complaints, it was that sometimes the pacing was a bit…abrupt. They had to squeeze the ‘hero’s journey’ into the halfway point, so there were some rushed plot points that were a bit…forced. Squished. The end had some of those moments as well, but I didn’t feel bitter about it. I would also be remiss if I didn’t discuss how frequently henchmen died with no apparent remorse. They were super interested in just killing Dracula’s friends and he’d be like, “Oh, sorry bro, see you never.” and move on. It was kind of humorous in it’s own way.
Ultimately, if you like ridiculous campy medieval horror action movies, you will definitely love Dracula Untold. Don’t go expecting anything else, and you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did.