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    October 27, 2014


    Review: Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ new rendition of the Dracula story is not entirely mesmerizing if you must know. But as you may have suspected, Dracula Untold is merely a sweep-through historical action and fantasy flick that encompasses very little among its literal sources such as Bram Stoker’s novel, the vampire mythology and the real historical account of Transylvanian’s Prince Vlad. Director Gary Shore does provide some reasonable entertainment on Dracula Untold - not at all too shabby for a first time director, but it is still not enough to hide some of the problems it has. So, what is wrong with Dracula Untold?

    Given the amount of historical and geographical inaccuracies in Dracula Untold, those flaws may just be minor issues when compared to the real deal. First off, for a movie about Dracula, this movie is surprisingly very light on the subject matter. Fans of Bram Stoker’s novel may find it affront and unpleasant as the studio is recasting the characters and gives it a Maleficent-style. As a result, Vlad Tepes (later Dracula) in this movie is greatly altered with too much care is taken to establish him being a loving father and a just leader. Bram Stoker may not agree to this, but then again, if you who are looking for an alternative and twisted origin, this may suit you.

    Secondly, the whole idea of the untold allows it to conform into a more imaginative and expansive structure, but this does not happen with Dracula Untold. With a short running time of 85 minutes, there are actually not many stuffs really happening around the premise it sets. Even if the story attempts to address the troubles, dilemma, and self-conflict against the backdrop of an impending war looming, the minimalist approach in selective storytelling and world building seems inadequate and unoriginal. With the solid materials, it is a shame that the movie still feels very rushed and omits plenty of potential for good expansion on the richer characters and settings.

    The plot itself may appear to be effective as it tries to develop an original fictional account of the characters involved, but it fails to give a proper reason and motivation for the audience to invest emotionally all along. Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) faces a personal dilemma and mission that requires him to juggle in between being a father and a leader in the struggling nation. Running against him on the opposite camp is Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper) whose backstory and war motivation are not clearly defined.

    There is still some good news in it. If this movie is meant to inspire on the basis and circumstances of ideological war that occurred during the 15th century, it delivers some solid jobs there. The technicality of the movie is generally acceptable, although some of the scenes may be overly-edited. Look out for some 300-like moments too. And yes, the wooden dialogues are indeed annoying, but fortunately, Luke Evans’ portrayal of the titular character deserves a credit to where it is due.

    Dracula Untold, should have performed better than this. Instead of becoming an epic fantasy that retells the origin story of Dracula, the movie chooses to be mostly affronted, inadequate and lacks of an emotional ride. C+

    Numerical Rating (In case you are also interested):
    Story: 2.5
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 12.1/20.0


    Info Dashboard:
    Dracula Untold
    Casts: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks, Art Parkinson, Diarmaid Murtagh, Charles Dance
    Distributor: Universal Pictures
    Director: Gary Shore
    Screenplay: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless; based on Bram Stoker's Dracula
    Rating: P13
    Release date: 2 October 2014
    Running time: 85 minutes
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