Yep, a movie about by far the most popular and well-known vampire, Dracula. Except this time, it’s not Bram Stoker’s classic tale at all. This movie takes place in medieval times. It’s how Dracula, hitherto Vlad Tepes III, became a vampire.
The acting leaves little to complain about, especially Luke Evans as Vlad. He has a passion and loss of innocence that serves the role he plays well. Evans is becoming familiar to me, having appeared in Robin Hood (2010), Fast & Furious 6, two Hobbit movies, and played two Greek gods in Clash of the Titans and Immortals. In 2017, he will be Gaston in a new Beauty and the Beast. It’s safe to say that Evans has become a go-to guy for films set in ancient times.
The story is about a Prince of the Ottoman Empire who is transformed into a vampire and wreaks havoc on the world. Prequels often suffer for the things that we know must happen. It’s less so this time because this story takes place so long before the Bram Stoker novel. We don’t really know what was happening with this ancient being in the years before that, so the filmakers aren’t too constrained. This movie has Vlad becoming a conquering warlord and growing more dangerous after contracting vampirism. Not only is he much more powerful, he develops a killer instinct that he didn’t have before.
Unfortunately, this film doesn’t seem right. The tale of Dracula is supposed to be a horror story. This movie comes off more as a war movie with just a dab of tragedy (we’re asked in brief moments if Vlad is only a product of his upbringing and the mystical disease). Thus, there’s a sense that this movie used Dracula for the wrong plot. I can virtually guarantee that Stoker wouldn’t have approved.
Some criticism has also been made about the liberties taken with history and agree that it’s not accurate there. But to be fair, it’s Dracula. Was the real Vlad Tepes a supernatural being? My point exactly.
On the other hand, this movie doesn’t do too badly for what it is. While the dialogue could be better, the events and action proceed just fine. And as I pointed out, the movie does have some pretty good performances.
Dracula Untold is not a great film by any means, but it’s not exactly something I can’t endorse. Just remember that it’s probably not what you’re expecting.
Oh, yeah. The “ending” is an obvious conclusion to the beginning of an entire series. Just a little heads-up. The first sequel movie seems set to take place in modern times, meaning that it can’t be a sword-and-shield war movie. Here’s hoping it gets this concept right.
Overall: 6 out of 10