Dracula Untold: Dental flaws

Updated - May 24, 2016 01:23 pm IST

Published - October 10, 2014 06:20 pm IST

A still from the movie

A still from the movie

Genre : Horror fantasy

Director : Gary Shore

Cast : Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance

Plot : How the good prince Vlad became an evil blood sucking vampire

While watching Dracula Untold, all I could think of Dracula: Dead and Loving it. Mel Brooks 1995 satire had Leslie Nielson play the blood thirsty count and Brooks the vampire hunter Van Helsing complete with strange accent.

The film, while spoofing countless vampire films, paid special attention to Francis Ford Coppola’s rather smugly named Bram Stoker Dracula. The 1992 film starred Keanu Reeves as the solicitor Jonathan Harker while Sir Anthony Hopkins chewed up the scenery with weird accent as Van Helsing.

The spoof had that whole thing going with the shadows, which along with Renfield’s ravings to his “master” was a laugh riot. Unfortunately Gary Shore’s debut film takes itself seriously and is not much fun.

There was that super trailer shot where bats become a giant fist and smash into a bridge which didn’t look very inspiring in the film. Dracula Untold gives Dracula’s backstory throwing in some evil Turks in the bargain. In medieval times, the Turks were using Transylvanian boys as soldiers to fight their wicked wars. The king gave his son, Vlad, to Turks. Vlad grew to be a fearsome soldier earning the sobriquet of Vlad the impaler. Then he decided to become good. He returned home, married the beautiful Mirena, had a lovely boy and ruled over his land wisely.

The Turks led by Mehmed II decide to make Vlad’s life miserable and demand he send 1000 boys including his son to train as soldiers. Vlad makes a Faustian bargain with Caligula (the Roman king who is now a vampire and you thought he was assassinated by Praetorian Guard) for his family’s safety and that is how he becomes the shape shifting, bloodsucking vampire who commands the creatures of the night.

Dominic Cooper as Mehmed doesn’t have much of a chance to gnash his teeth in a show of villainy. While Luke Evans as Vlad looks like he wishes he was anywhere but here. Charles Dance is Caligula — note how all the monsters of yore (there is also a Baba Yaga!) are crawling out of the woodwork.

The Twilight series defanged Dracula and this prequel has not come anywhere nearing giving the good count his fearsome canines. The ending was quite smart and there is going to be a sequel. Enough said.

Bottomline : Not bad enough to be good

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