Unnecessary & Silly but Fun
Directorial feature-length debut from Gary Shore and stars Luke Evans (The Hobbit Series), Dracula Untold tells the story of Vlad Tepes, whose kingdom is under threat so he must transform into a monster who will be feared by his own people to obtain the power to protect his family and the kingdom. Dracula Untold opens the new 'Universal Monster' universe where films like 'The Mummy' will also be rebooted. Can Dracula Untold bring an old but famous story back into the limelight for positive reasons?
The thing with this film is that I feel that it was very unnecessary - I don't think I have learnt anything new about the Dracula tale that I needed or wanted to know. This makes me feel that this was just a big cash-in for Universal. The story had all the key elements to make it mildly entertaining, however most of it was quite silly and not that great. The film seems to have lost the fearsome elements from the old Dracula tales. Even though this is more of a fantasy/action than a horror - there were a few jump scares at the beginning of the film that were predictable but effective. The ending of the film also left the door open for sequels which may be happening thats to the movie making over $200 million worldwide. The plot was also very cheesy and cliche - the protagonist will do anything to save his family. Also, the film was very predictable, I could tell 5 minutes before things occurred that they were going to happen - I won't give any examples as they are key elements to the tale.
Luke Evans was a terrible Dracula. He didn't have much likability and didn't put much effort into his performance - he got into character and just read the lines he was given - there wasn't much emotion of personality from him. I think Evans won't be trusted in future to lead a big budget film like this on his own - he works best in supporting roles. No other actors or actresses had big roles in this film so it is hard to comment on their performances (or you could say that they didn't stand out enough so were poor?). However, Charles Dance was quite good as 'Master Vampire' (despite the stupid character name). He was quite eery and had a great line at the end of the film - 'let the games begin' - however, this praise is mostly for his makeup/costuming and the script so maybe the credit should go to the guys behind them things instead of him?
Despite the film being all about Dracula, I don't feel that there was much development on his character expect for a small sequence at the beginning. Also, since when to vampires make growling noises like wolves - doesn't Twilight (such a reliable source ;) ) teach us that vampires and wolves are enemies rather than a combined creature??
I also had an issue with the lighting. It was very dark and grey for most of the film which made it quite hard to tell what was going on. I feel the special effects would have looked a lot better if the lighting was a little better. I don't know if this was an executive decision to take the film in a more specific art direction but for me, I wasn't liking it.
However, I really liked the finale sequence of the film. I thought it was very effective and quite original. I was satisfied with the way the film ended - it finished on a high note. I also liked how there was a cliff hanger at the end - even though I didn't extremely enjoy the whole film, I'd watch a potential sequel as I was intrigued and excited by the final spoken line.
Despite all of its flaws (there's a lot of them), Dracula Untold is a fun action movie and stars the Universal monster universe on a solid note. Luke Evans isn't quite the leading man and even though the special effects are good, it is a struggle to see them thanks to the low-lit lighting. Did we need Dracula Untold? No. But was it fun anyway? Yes.