Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dracula Untold - The scoop and digest

Over the years, we've flashed crucifixes, hammered stakes and sunk our teeth into the silly, sexy and occasionally sublime.

Bram Stoker's novel inspired a generation, just like Mary Shelley and Frankenstein.

Focusing on how Dracula came to be, Gary Shore puts a new spin on the classic story.

Plot details and/or spoilers may leave with a tan.

Those with a dislike for Turkish delight include:

Luke Evans - Vlad the Impaler/Dracula
Sarah Gadon - Mirena
Charles Dance - Master Vampire
Dominic Cooper - Mehmed

In 1422, the narrative tells of how an enslaved child rose to prominence and became a Prince.

He is Vlad the Impaler, son of Dracul (pronounced 'Dracool').

Or how about Son of the Devil or Son of the Dragon.

Holy shit.  This guy has more aliases than Apollo Creed.

Vlad leads the loyal against the Turks and when believing a scout has entered Broken Tooth Mountain, his men are killed by a monster.

At Castlevania, oops Castle Dracula, he's told what we already know...

Sent by the Sultan Mehmet, the enemy demand 1,000 boys to join their army.  It soon becomes 1,001, as Vlad's son Ingreas is also required.

He's not having that and promptly dispatches several during the handover.

Before setting off on a crusade against the Turks in The Blackadder, Brian Blessed's King Richard IV states:

As the good Lord said: "love thy neighbour as thyself, unless he's Turkish, in which case, kill the bastard."

Knowing that Mehmet will retaliate by sending thousands to destroy his empire and people, Vlad pays Mr. Vampire a visit.

After chewing the fat, the power to protect is served on a plate.  All he has to do is drink...

Pros:

1. Strength of 100 men.
2. Speed of a falling star.
3. Wounds are healed instantly.

Cons:

1. Three day time limit.
2. Insatiable thirst to feed.
3. Sunlight and solid silver don't mix.

Giving into temptation equates to eternal damnation and the Master Vampire's curse to permanently reside in stale darkness will automatically be lifted, so he can pursue revenge against the devil who betrayed him.

Extra abilities include transforming into a clutch of bats and like he, I Can See For Miles.

The Who?  Where?  Oh yeah, there.

Fangtastic.

Single-handedly cleaving through the Turkish army is all fine and shandy but as time walks on by, resisting becomes unbearable.

Loyalty turns to hate as when people learn of vampiric persuasion, they realise a burning ambition.

Ungrateful bastards.

Vlad commands a plague of flying mammals to destroy Mehmet's forces, but Ingreas is kidnapped in the process and Vlad is powerless to prevent Mirena from plummeting to her death.

With the war far from won, he feasts on his dying wife, much to the delight of Master Vampire.

He sets about transforming the wounded into fellow blood enthusiasts who happily gorge on the Turkish remainder.

Vlad and Mehmet clash swords and although overpowered, Vlad uses speed to kill him.

Sunlight consumes the rest and not wanting his son to become a vampire, Vlad effectively commits suicide.

Ingreas is crowned king and courtesy of receiving blood from fanatical follower whom he earlier spurned, Dracula is resurrected.

Centuries later, he charms a dead ringer for Mirena and Master Vampire follows...

As subconsciously predicted, this wasn't a steaming pile of horseshit and met mediocre expectations.

Before his date with destiny, Luke Evans makes a decent fist of principal protector.

Dominic Cooper makes an atrocious villain but as ever, Charles Dance makes his screen presence count with a typically capable display.

Shore's directorial debut ultimately falls down because 90 minutes just isn't enough for chars to be fleshed out and inexplicably stumbles towards to hurried conclusion.

This recipe contains the briefest ingredients of action and horror but we're left punch drunk with a mundane domestic drama on par with a Coronation Street omnibus.

Rip offs and influences.

The whole sequence and subsequent reaction of becoming Dracula is practically identical to Blade regaining strength by feasting on N'Bushe Wright.  Of course the circumstances are different, but the principle remains.

During the bat invasion, Vlad's gesticulation is straight from X-Men or when Imhotep creates a facial sandstorm in The Mummy.

Another thing that flaps wings is Batman Begins, as the Dark Knight releases thousands of bats to evade the police in a disused building.

Master Vampire utters "Let the games begin."

Just in case it hasn't clicked, swap 'games' for 'game' and you're left with how Jigsaw's Billy the Puppet closes a pre-recorded spiel for each victim to ponder from the Saw franchise.

Did anybody think of that?  Ha ha ha!

Intentional reference or bizarre coincidence?  Who the fuck knows?

Setting up a possible sequel in our era is stupider than clipping the wrong wire when diffusing a bomb, so let's hope this doesn't come to fruition anytime soon.

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