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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: Dracula Untold is too dull

Review: Dracula Untold is too dull

October 17, 2014 08:34 IST

Luke Evans in Dracula UntoldA film that could have been a genre breaking masterpiece, Dracula Untold in its present form would be a more honest work of art if it were titled Dracula Unfortunately, says Paloma Sharma.

First-time feature director Gary Shore seeks to find the man behind the legendary monster, Dracula, and chronicle his transition from the dark to the light.

Or maybe he just wanted to use an insane amount of CGI.

Same diff.

Narrated by the Translyvanian version of Justin Bieber, who also happens to be the protagonists' son, Dracula Untold goes beyond the literary character to the man who was the inspiration for the same, Vlad III Dracula, and attempts to tell his side of the story.

Vlad (Luke Evans) was a young boy when his father sent him to the Turkish Sultan, Murad, as a tribute, along with several other boys of the kingdom. 

The boys were trained in combat and turned into child soldiers, and Vlad grew to be the most merciless of them all. His preferred method of murder earned him the name Lord Impaler. 

It remains largely unexplained how Vlad was able to escape the Turks but escape he did, and back home, he was made prince. 

However, 10 years of peace later, the Turks come knocking on Vlad's door, demand that the prince pay them a tribute of a 1,000 young boys along with Vlad's own teenage son. 

Vlad then realises that he needs more than just his army and the advantage of terrain in order to save his people and his family from the massive legions of the Turks. 

In times of great desperation, acting on his own brush with the supernatural and information from a monk, Vlad sets out to the dark caverns atop of a lone mountain to see the darkness that will both empower him and damn his soul for all of eternity. 

Although the premise of the film is an interesting one, Shore begins to lose sight of where the screenplay is running off to, while the film itself indulges itself in one too many fancy war scenes that look like a part of a video game. 

Dracula Untold obviously stemmed out of a refreshingly colourful imagination. The sequences where Vlad tests his newly gained powers, and later, uses bats to attack the Turks, are Imax 3D worthy. But if good looking, well designed frames were the sole criteria for a good film, then Sex And The City would have killed it at the Oscars. 

Dracula Untold has a lot of potential, which remains largely unrealised due to a weak script and weaker direction. It tries to borrow from/pay tribute to too many sources of vampire fiction to be able to hold its own. The film ends up without an identity of its own. 

Dracula Untold sees Luke Evans grunting inane, often pointless and awkward dialogue with co-star Sarah Gadon playing a religious, dutiful damsel who is permanently in distress, while the rest of the badly cast actors try to put on accents and try to successfully pretend to be Turks and Translyvanians. 

All that is worth watching as far as Dracula Untold is concerned has been covered in the trailer for the film, including Lorde's sinfully scrumptious Everybody Wants to Rule the World. 

It must have taken a whole lot of effort, however misdirected, in order to make one of the most fascinating figures in both history and literature, into such a dull personality -- one with all the answers and barely any strong inner conflicts. 

A film that could have been a genre breaking masterpiece, Dracula Untold in its present form would be a more honest work of art if it were titled Dracula Unfortunately. 

Rediff Rating: 

Paloma Sharma/ Rediff.com in Mumbai