LUKE EVANS SARAH GADON DOMINIC COOPER CHARLES DANCE
Vampires have become as common or at least as frequent box office headliners as superheroes. With Halloween around the corner, and Twilight/True Blood fans thirsty for something new, Legendary films is craving to deliver something Batman-like (just look at the poster if you don’t think they carbon copied The Dark Knight poster). Dracula Untold is a calculated debut. With a script and acting that makes even Kristen Stewert and Robert Pattinson appear important, this origin bloodsucker action film is desperate for credibility and lacking in riveting characters or true sustainability (that won’t stop the studio from delivering endlessly mind-numbing sequels).
Desperate to protect the people of Transylvania from the Turks, prince Vlad Dracula (Evans) makes a dangerous deal with the blood sucking vampire who resides high above the mountain cliffs. The Master Vampire (Dance) has been waiting centuries for the right man to set him free. Vlad drinks the vampire blood in order to assume the dark powers for three days, which will allow him to single handedly defeat the Turkish armies. If within those three days he can resist feeding for the blood, he will return to normal. If he cannot resist, the transformation will be complete and he will become a vampire.
In the first battle where Vlad exercises his newly found power, we watch a Lord of the Rings style battle but with one man on one side versus thousands on another. There isn’t much suspense; how could there be with the power he exudes? However, the fight remains just as long as we watch without suspense. The script doesn’t allow much room for character development. The one female in the film, Vlad’s wife Mirena (Gadon), has a character depth that consists of screaming for help, pining for her husband and begging to be rescued. Luke Evans is an odd choice for this high profile reboot; it seems his small role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took him from background actor to leading man in just one year.
Predictability is one of the film’s biggest problems, and it’s partly the fault of the studio, who views this as a franchise reboot. The production value is high enough to satisfy the era, setting and surroundings of the story. Evan's performance as the all-knowing protector never truly explores the consequences of the good guy making a deal with the devil to protect everything he loves. Instead, the script rushes him into the exploding-traveling bat powers so he can jet around the country killing those who wronged him. There are no inspired castings, no underlying meanings here, and nothing gut wrenching in the way of action sequences or delivery.
Final Thought – Untold is more like retold.
By: Dustin Chase