Sonar vision has a few side-effects

2014-10-06 00:00

Film review:

Dracula Untold

VAMPIRES. Those mythical dark creatures of the night with their seductive and gloomy nature have captured the attention of audiences from the 1800s.

Since then, I guess people’s fascination with their brooding and sexual character has just escalated.

In the last few years, vampires have been portrayed as pasty but sparkling teenagers prancing around the forest in search of an animal to eat, losing their menacing effect.

In Dracula Untold, Transylvanian Prince Vlad Tepes — also known as Vlad the Impaler — is threatened by ruling King Turkish king Sultan Mehmed, who demands 1 000 Transylvanian boys to join his army.

When Vlad opposes Mehmed’s order an act of war follows. However, Vlad doesn’t boast a strong enough army to outmatch the Turkish soldiers and is then forced to seek other methods of defeating Mehmed.

He seeks the help of an ancient sorcerer who gives him strength of 100 men, exceptional speed, superhuman hearing abilities and some other remarkable improvements like sonar vision. But there are a few catches.

Sunlight will melt the flesh right off his bones and more importantly he will have an insatiable craving to drink human blood.

Dracula Untold has stunning visual effects and with the film’s dark and grainy tone, it makes for a pleasant viewing experience.

The fight scenes are pleasurable, but lack the blood and gore as the film carries a PG13 age restriction. The sound effects are exceptional with swords and a colony of bats clashing and fluttering around the theatre thanks to exceptional use of Dolby Digital.

Dracula Untold was an opportunity for Hollywood to reclaim the true essence of the vampire folklore and to bring back what older viewers in the audience really wanted to see on the big screen.

In this origin story, some key elements are overlooked. One scene has somebody explaining the myths surrounding vampires. This scene is central to the film, but the narrative rushes over the background and resorts to just a handful of illustrations and a voice-over.

In period dramas, the most significant component is the dialogue. And what The Lord of the Ring and Game of Thrones have proved is that the war of words is far more powerful than soldiers swinging swords.

With such an enormous background and literature to draw from, Dracula Untold fails at compelling dialogue.

Vlad is a prince with a lot resting on his shoulders and Luke Evans does a fantastic job in the title role, bringing the iconic figure to life, but as far as the narrative goes, the film falls short.

At a run time of about 90 minutes, one would expect the film to flourish from start to finish, but with sloppy dialogue and limp supporting characters, Dracula Untold falls short from making a mark in the vampire genre.


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