“Sometimes the world no longer needs a hero.
Sometimes what it needs…is a monster.”
—Prince Vlad III, Dracula Untold
Although post-apocalyptic dramas a la The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games are what’s “in” at the moment, vampires are still not quite “out” yet, and Dracula Untold is a mildly amusing attempt at trying to keep them handsome, brooding and relevant.
Luke Evans (The Hobbit, Immortals) stars as the title character, but when we meet him he’s still Prince Vlad III, better known as Vlad the Impaler. Through his backstory, we learn that he was sent to fight for the Turkish army as a child, and he eventually became the most feared soldier in the world. He reclaimed his position in Transylvania and settled down, regretting all of his violence, but he is unfortunately called back to war when an old friend returns to his land with a request that gives him a terrible case of deja vu. It is because of this request that he turns to the darkness to seek out power, and his life is ever changed because of it.
Evans’ take on the tortured leader was solid, presenting him as a fierce warrior, a just ruler and a loving family man. This was certainly so that it would make it a little harder to accept what we all knew was his ultimate fate. He and wife Mirena, played by Sarah Gadon ( Belle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) had a too-sweet-and-too-dutiful chemistry that pretty much signaled the couple’s fate early on. Sultan Mehmed II, portrayed by Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), was a ruthless ruler and the ultimate frenemy to Vlad, while Charles Dance’s (Game of Thrones) Master Vampire slithered creepily across the screen as the original vampire that creates Dracula. The character was basically an interpretation of Tywin Lannister if he never, ever, EVER died, which I didn’t necessarily mind. Also, for those of you Game of Thrones fans who’ve been wondering, Rickon Stark is fine, he’s just been off playing Dracula’s son Ingeras.
Overall, I wasn’t completely floored by this version of the famous bloodsucker’s backstory. The acting was decent and the cinematography and effects were cool enough (Dracula’s batty fighting style was a plus for me), but there were still some things that left me with questions (where was all that light coming from during the final battle inside of the Sultan Mehmed’s tent? Did the silver do that?! Why did his people turn on him so quickly when he’d clearly saved them several times by that point?). Also, there are elements of the story that are too predictable going in. You know that certain things have to happen (or certain people have to die) to complete Vlad’s transformation from man to monster.
If the film does well, there’s definitely going to be a sequel… it was set up loud and clear in the final 5 minutes of the film… but we’ll see if it makes it that far.
You can watch the trailer for Dracula, now in theaters, below:
Dracula Untold Trailer
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
Video Credit: Youtube