Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Film Review: "Dracula Untold" (2014).




The tagline of the film reads "The Legend Is Born". Which is exactly story told in Dracula Untold. This dark fantasy action horror film directed by Gary Shore in his feature film debut and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Rather than focus on Irish novelist Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, the film creates an origin story for its title character, Count Dracula, by re-imagining the story of Vlad the Impaler. As his kingdom is being threatened by the Turks, young prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster feared by his own people in order to obtain the power needed to protect his own family, and the families of his kingdom.

In 2007, director Alex Proyas was hired by Universal Studios to direct the film, back when it was titled Dracula: Year Zero. The film was to be produced by Michael De Luca and filmed in Australia. Australian actor Sam Worthington was in negotiations to play Vlad the Impaler. However, Universal ended the deals because of the high budget. However, in February 2012, Deadline.com announced that Irish director Gary Shore was in talks to direct the long dormant project. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless were hired to write a new version of the script for the film. In April 2013, actor Luke Evans joined the cast, replacing Worthington, to play the role of Dracula. In May 2013, Sarah Gadon joined the cast to star alongside Evans. In May, Variety announced that Dominic Cooper was in talks to join the cast. Principal photography began in August 2013, in Northern Ireland. In October 2014, it was announced that reshoots had taken place shortly after the end of production to tie the film into the planned Universal Monsters franchise, which was being rebooted. Producer Alissa Phillips confirmed at the UK premiere of the film that Dracula Untold was a part of the universe. She hoped that Evans' character might have a cameo in a future The Mummy film and also spoke of a potential sequel to Dracula. The only links to the films was to have Charles Dance's character Master Vampire appear in several of the Universal Monsters films, much like Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Luke Evans portrays the title character, and Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, and Charles Dance appear in supporting roles. The cast gave strong performances. None more so than Evans, who gave a human and tragic quality that resembles Gary Oldman's portrayal from Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).

A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload. Dracula Untold is a chaotic blur of recycled archetypes from classic horror flicks, action sequences unbound by laws of gravity and physics, and CGI special effects that somehow manage to appear ridiculously expensive and unconvincingly obvious all at once. The already-lousy Van Helsing as done up by a filmmaker whose idea of style is to make things as visually impressive and busy as possible, this is a dull, soulless mess of a movie. However, thanks to the strong performance of Luke Evans, this is one vampire movie with bite.

Simon says Dracula Untold receives:


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