REVIEW: DRACULA UNTOLD
One of the most enduring and captivating figures of all time unveils his beginnings in Dracula Untold, a gorgeously realized, never before seen, story of the legendary vampire's origin story. Dracula Untold debuts on Digital HD on January 20, 2015 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, including Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet™, and On Demand February 3, 2015 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Legendary Pictures.
SYNOPSIS: Witness the origin story of one of legend's most captivating figures in the action-adventure, Dracula Untold. The year is 1462 and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, the prince of Wallachia (Luke Evans, Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit series). But when Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper, Captain America: The First Avenger) demands 1,000 of Wallachia's boys – including Vlad's own son – become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must enter into a Faustian bargain to save his family and his people. He gains the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star, and the power to crush his enemies. In exchange, he's inflicted with an insatiable thirst for human blood that could force him into a life of darkness and destroy all that he holds dear.
REVIEW: Badass. Excuse my French, but that’s the best word in the American vocabulary that I can find to describe this movie. Director Gary Shore dips his hand into the ever expanding pool of vampire movies that has sprung up in Hollywood, but adds his own twist to the classic Dracula story. We all know the basics: Dracula is the father of the vampires, an immortal demon known for his dark powers of persuasion and hypnotism and his thirst for blood. Luke Evans comes into the role of Dracula and takes a new spin that is sure to please audiences and make him more relatable.
Shore’s take on Dracula is one of faux historical realism. Instead of portraying Dracula as the bloodsucking vampire lord from the outset, the director gives some historical background on the real world inspiration for Dracula- Vlad
Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler. Tepes was an actual historical figure, a Romanian prince pressed into service as a little boy by the Ottoman Turks until he was finally freed as a man. While in service of the Turkish Sultan, Vlad committed atrocious acts of violence including killing entire villages and impaling their corpses on wooden stakes. The gore and bloodlust of this man inspired stories of dark powers and demonic origins to surround him, which evolved into the vampire tales of Count Dracula. This movie attempts to blend the history and the myth by explaining Vlad’s historically accurate story, while introducing the vampire legend in order to create a solidly believable and really fun film. Vlad’s kingdom is under threat from the Turks as Sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) wants to take Transylvanian boys for his army, and in order to protect his people and his son, Vlad has to make a “deal with the devil” and take on great power. But as we all know- great power comes with great responsibility… and aversion to sunlight.
Dracula uses his newfound demonic powers to full effect, single-handedly taking down an army of 1,000 Turks in one of the most satisfying battle scenes since 300. At times I felt that the action was going so fast that my eyes couldn’t quite keep up with what was going on, but this is only a minor complaint as the overall effect of the fight was very satisfying. This film does not only seek to portray Dracula as a merciless warlord however, and makes good use of portraying his weaknesses, both physical and emotional. Many times throughout the movie Dracula is seen having to avoid silver and sunlight, making a seemingly invincible character very vulnerable. But of course, Dracula’s greatest weakness is his love, the lovely Princess
Mirena, played by Sarah Gadon. Vlad is a romantic at heart, and he goes to the ends of the earth to protect his wife, going so far as to sell his soul.
The visuals in Dracula Untold were solid, nothing that absolutely dazzled the eye, though the visual effects in place when the titular character uses his powers were phenomenal. Although there is plenty of violence and death in the film, the gore is not so overwhelming that you might lose your lunch over it. Luke Evans does a great job in his role as the prince of darkness, portraying the animalistic rage of Dracula while also accentuating Vlad’s softer side.
All in all, Dracula Untold is a great movie going into the Halloween season. It’s not a movie that will reach top charts or wow audiences with amazing screenplay or visual effects, but in a season full of cheesy horror movies and suspense flicks, this is an enjoyable film that will keep you satisfied and ready to throw out all of your Twilight
By Joshua Tree
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, DTS Digital Surround 5.1 (French, Spanish)
English SDH, Spanish, French
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The Land of Dracula – An exclusive interactive map that takes fans deep into Dracula's mysterious world, including Castle Dracula, Cozia Monastery, Broken Tooth Mountain and Borga Pass.
Luke Evens - Creating a Legend
Day in the Life - Luke Evans – Personal moments with the film's star provide a glimpse into life on set.
Dracula Retold – An exploration of the production, including costumes, sets and how the real history of Dracula is woven into the story.
Slaying 1000 – A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Vlad's epic battle against an army of thousands, from the script and visual effects.
Feature commentary with director Gary Shore and production designer Francois