"And Do You Believe You Know What it is to be a Monster?"
From the very beginning of the film, it seemed like it was made to destroy me. The first ten minutes are pure exposition, delivered tonelessly and accompanied by visuals that, while artistically striking, do little to enhance the words being spoken. I want to take an ax to every film with this kind of exposition. I am so sick and tired of the narrative voiceover. It feels lazy every time, feels like an excuse to avoid filming an actual scene that would cover the same ground in a more interesting way.
I am tired of pretty lead actors that have nothing going on emotionally. I don’t think this is the fault of the cast, but these actors in particular did not do much with their material. Vlad the Impaler is a historical figure that’s shrouded in mystery, and it would be REALLY great if a movie that’s all about him had any kind of adventurous take on his character. All we have here is the same bland, ex-warrior slash family-man that action movies have given us for years. The external conflict, the battle of the Transylvanians vs. the Turks, is boring. Once again, we have a generic, moustache-twirling villain leading an army of macho, know-nothing soldiers. We are told, through more exposition, that Vlad and the main antagonist used to regard each other as family, but we see NO CHEMISTRY between these two characters, and so any major conflict between them is pointless.
Ditto to using a wife and child as emotional leverage. Tired of it. This wife and child are not you, Vlad. We need some other way to know that these people are important to you besides the fact that your wife is hot and your kid is adorable. When bad things happen to them, I want to feel sad because I legitimately care about them, not because I’m supposed to feel sad. Once again, this involves establishing consistent relationships. You learn this on your first day of scriptwriting, man. Saying someone is your “wife” does nothing to establish your relationship to her. Is she your “confident”? Your “companion”? Give me something real.
The vampire wasn’t even scary.
I am angry about all of this because there is a reason these movies keep getting made. It’s because film executives still think that these are the kind of movies we want. We supposedly can’t get enough of dull action scenes, stale good versus evil archetypes and characters that can be described as “stoic”. The people working inside of the film industry are better than that. The audience knows this. That’s why we keep coming back. Because we’re expecting something different.
Films like this do the worst thing art can do: they waste your time. I can’t get my time back, but it’s not too late for you.
Bloody Marys, red wine, those are the obvious answers. You might need stronger stuff, though, so maybe try the Vampire cocktail on for size.
-Drink whenever you see blood
-Drink whenever someone talks about death
-Drink for cinematic cliches
-Drink when a vampire's weakness is mentioned
-Drink when the sun goes down
This review was written by Hollis Beck (Krissy Pappau). "Dracula: Untold" is produced by Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures. The film is rated "PG-13" with a runtime of 92 minutes.