13 nov. 2014

Dracula Untold (3/10): There is nothing untold about it.

“My father was a great man, a hero, so they say. But sometimes the world doesn't need another hero, sometimes what it needs is a monster.”

If you are going to make a film about the origins of one of Hollywood’s most fearful monsters then you better have a solid script that focuses on the character development of Dracula rather than overstuff the film with special effects and action scenes. Director Gary Shore may have tried to give us an origin story, and he even gave it the title Dracula Untold, but what he really does is deliver another cliched and familiar action film. We really don’t learn anything new about this classic character in the film other than the fact that he was a good fighter and a loving family man who sacrificed himself to protect the people he cared for. I would argue there isn’t much of a unique idea in that premise and that the title untold is a bit deceiving. There just isn’t anything unique or appealing about this character to claim that you are delivering an origin story. The only thing Shore tries to do here is humanize the monster and make him seem engaging. Instead of trying to focus on the character however, Dracula Untold delivers one action scene after another relying on its computer generated special effects. The film might captivate some audiences who are looking for a fun time, but there is nothing memorable or legendary about it. I can imagine a documentarian making a film about Hollywood’s portrayal of Dracula and mentioning all the films that have centered on this monster but leaving this unremarkable film out of the list simply because it is easy to forget and it never seems to be a film about Dracula really. You can add Dracula Untold to the never ending list of tiresome and uninterestingly generic vampire films. The only pleasure I got from Dracula Untold was that it made me feel good about my decision of not having seen I Frankenstein.  

The script for Dracula Untold is probably responsible for the failure of the film because the cast did a pretty decent job. I thought Luke Evans delivered an interesting performance. He has some entertaining action sequences and looks the part as well. Dominic Cooper might not be menacing in this film but he gave a decent performance. Sarah Gadon was beautiful as Dracula’s wife and inspiration. I did’t have an issue with the performances at all, but it was mostly the overload of action scenes that didn’t manage to keep me interested. They seldom do (Hercules might be the only exception this year and it wasn’t a film I was crazy about either). I didn’t care too much for the CGI either so there was really very little this film had to offer me. I was just disengaged with the story and found it overly generic and too familiar. If you are going to give your film the title of Dracula Untold, you might as well give us something original and unique that hasn’t actually been told before. 

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