Dracula Untold: a story that's been told many times before, and far far better.
October 13, 2014
It’s called Dracula Untold — a curious title in light of the fact that an IMDB search shows it’s already been told over 200 times. But perhaps there’s something new here?
Did you know Dracula was originally Vlad the Impaler? Yep.
Did you know his dastardly turn to darkness was a result of the death of his beloved Mina? Yep.
Did you know he ‘vonts to sarrrrk your blaaaard’? Of course you did.
Here’s the critical thing: a guy whose nickname includes the words “the Impaler” is not a nice guy. He’s an impaler. He impales people. Yet Dracula Untold sets out with the task of humanising a monster for the purposes of... what, exactly? There isn’t an ‘evil bias’ that needs to be redressed for the sake of balance. Nobody's crying out for Pol Pot to get a heartwarming movie of the week to ensure ‘his side of the story’ is told. Some people are simply savage wretches and wretches they will remain.
In short: let villains be villains.
Here, the villain isn’t Dracula, but instead the Turkish sultan ‘Mehmed', determined to claim 1000 young Transylvanian boys for his army. Sultan ‘Meh’ would be far more appropriate. He, like the rest of the film, is bland and unthreatening, afforded only a smattering of flavourless lines to occasionally remind us he’s a cold and unfeeling dictator.
In response, Vlad opts to become a cold and unfeeling vampire to stop him and save Transylvania’s people. He’s a 19th-century Batman in that he’s a night-time vigilante capable of literally morphing into bats when he needs to get anywhere. The special effects are good, but who cares? This is a film that — lame pun absolutely intended — sucks.