“Dracula Untold”- Trailer Analysis

I am bound by duty and desire on SuperMarcey.com to give my own worthless two pence about anything Dracula, thus, I give you my own little analysis of the new cinematic trailer for “Dracula Untold” starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper and Charles Dance. This will not really be a step by step hash of the trailer, but rather an over-all view about what I think about what I have seen.

draculauntold1

If nothing else comes out of this movie, I WANT this poster!!!!!!

  Let’s face it, the last half-way decent cinematic release of Bram Stoker’s figurehead character came in the form of 1992’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” directed by Francis Ford Coppola and do not even get me started on Dario Argento’s syphillic affair! Although it was an exercise in hyperbole and wishy-washy acting at times, it still did incredibly well for itself and stayed the hand of bankruptcy over American Zoetrope when it got it’s money back threefold. Since then, nothing has come close to it’s success. It could be due to the fact that Dracula has more or less become a brand name because capitalistic push. If that is indeed the scenario, then that is absolutely ironic considering that is what the character partly stood for in the original text- propagation through profit.

What is also ironic is how Dracula is handled these days relates to how the Count was very much a product of his own time and he was wasting away in an ancient, crumbling castle until the arrival of Jonathan Harker and the sweet song of his blood and the opportunity to finally escape Transylvania and start to dominate and manipulate the world to be in his grasp again. Watching “Dracula Untold”‘s trailer made me think that this new approach could very well be Harker’s blood. This is definitely not going to be a re-telling of Stoker’s story, but one with a distinct origins of a superhero take, only in this case, rather than being bitten by a radioactive spider or having a body infused with adamantium,

Vlad Tepes drinks the blood of a master vampire in order to fend off the Ottomans who threaten to take over his lands.  In other words, he must become a monster in order to fight monsters of man. Luke Evans if nothing else certainly looks the part and I feel he is a competent actor who does all he can in order to make his roles work. I actually feel if a bunch of creative and talented people got their noggins together they would be able to make a worthwhile biopic of Tepes himself because the Voivode of Wallachia had a hell of a life that was filled with far more horror than what Stoker wrote.

I also feel there would be a splendid opportunity for the same creative bunch of people to make a movie about Stoker writing what would become his masterwork and paying attention to the things that inspired him. While writing his story, Stoker was deeply inspired not just by Vlad, but also the sensational stories of Elizabeth Bathory, the three witch sisters from “Macbeth”, his own repressions and finally an actor whom he deeply admired and was in an intense relationship with- Henry Irving. I feel this could also be made into a really great movie if the material is handled correctly with respect and guile. Right now, I feel the story of Dracula would have no problem finding other means and ways to be told so in a sense, “Dracula Untold” could be a rejuvenation of the public’s interest in the story and the titular character. Will Dracula rise again? Let’s take a squiz.

Here is what I generally enjoyed about the trailer:

– The music, specifically the use of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Lorde. Good golly, I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head or my playlist on repeat for the past week. Lorde’s low, somber vocals paired with the grand music manages to find some grounding in a story we can tell is going to be way out there. Not only that, the lyrics really do match what we see on the screen, especially pertaining to Vlad himself with the lyrics:

Welcome to your life

There’s no turning back

Even while we sleep

We will find you

Acting on your best behavior

Turn your back on Mother Nature

Everybody wants to rule the world

I wonder if it will be used in the actual movie, for the end credits perhaps?

– As mentioned before, Luke Evans being the lead actor. Although his name isn’t as widely known as it should be, I can’t think of a widely acknowledged shitty property that he has been a part of, plus his look is on the money. One part the warrior, another the family man and finally the beast he is to become. – The visual style and production design doesn’t seem too over bearing or over bold considering the events that are taking place here, that is I don’t feel the trailer is showing all of the movie’s cards all at once. You know a film isn’t going to be that crash hot when it shows you all of the good stuff, so here’s hoping “Dracula Untold” hasn’t told us all just yet. I also have to give props to the usage of colour here. Most of the environments are bathed in a source of darkness and aren’t exactly saturated with vibrant colour, but it doesn’t look like a visual re-hash of the “Underworld” movies that didn’t seem to know any other shade except blue.

Dracula UntoldWork it, Luke.

– The plot, or from what little we see of it. I’m all for this new, somewhat unconventional approach about making a tyrant such as Vlad become a hero while turning into Dracula all the while maintaining a comic book hero aesthetic about it.  I could be wrong, but this films looks like it’s being quite economic with itself and that’s great.

– It doesn’t seem to rely on shock tactics or flashy tricks to keep your attention, that is to say there aren’t any bursts of transgression for the sake of being offensive. Though who knows, maybe we might get some juicy splats of bloodshed in the film itself, but from what we see in the trailer, nothing particularly shocking or offensive to mine eyes.

– It’s not a remake or reboot, which means by default there will be at least a sense of originality here! Yay! There are quite a few fascinating elements at play here- what is Vlad’s story here? How does he come to the conclusion that he needs to become a demonic beast, what is it that drives this idea?  How will his wife and son react? What does the vampire master/hermit played by Charles Dance want from Vlad in particular? Is this going to become a saga of sorts if this film manages to get a sizable amount of bank back and if so, how will it continue?

 

Now, here are the things that make me feel a little uneasy (though we will see in time whether or not my fears were warranted)

– I love Charles Dance as an actor, he always manages to command the screen no matter what the role he takes, heck he could even peel potatoes and I would be hypnotised. However, and this is only going by his one or two lines in the trailer which by no means denote an entire performance, but he seems to be going by the numbers here. You can tell without a shadow of a doubt it’s him underneath all of that make up and a part of me is worried that he will be like Jeremy Irons in the abysmal “The Time Machine” as the head Morlok. I sincerely hope I’m wrong and we see him reveling in the character.

Dracula-970x545

– I adore my villains and I love ones who have a compelling story behind them rather than a singular compulsion to do evil for the sake of it, but I hope Vlad/Dracula doesn’t become like Maleficent from that case of cinematic ebola I reviewed a few weeks ago. I hope the players involved remain consistent through the events that unfold through the movie without him getting a case of character schizophrenia- going from one extreme to another with absolutely no motivation or organic reason to do so.

– I hope the movie won’t rely solely on the presence of fancy CGI effects, jazzy camera tricks or an overload of digital assistance, in other words I’m hoping we’re not going to get something akin to an epileptic video game when we pay our money and sit our butts down in the cinema.

– Although I don’t feel this film will be a gore-fest in the strictest sense of the word, I hope some envelopes will be pushed in order to cater to the characters and their circumstances. This is obviously going to be a story involving the horror of war and Vlad’s participation in the Ottoman conflict. A part of me is hoping we will get some painful impalements (he’s not Vlad without ’em!) among other innovative means of mayhem because a film containing this subject matter needs to up the stakes. Oops.

– Here’s hoping the “Dracula Untold”  doesn’t distract itself with too many contrivances to handle. Every film in a sense is a juggling act, no matter what the genre, but with horror, it is especially tricky. A movie needs to ensure that make it’s viewers are kept thrilled, invested and eager to see what scene comes next. However, the moment a show goes far too overboard, it will lose many an attention. Contrary to what most Hollywood bigwigs believe, audiences are actually very intelligent and we know when we are fed too much soulless candy that we know when to clam up and not accept any more.

Dracula not eviscerating Edward Cullen.

For now, I am content to lay off on passing judgement on a film I have not yet seen. I don’t feel entirely sold with what has been in this trailer or from what little I have read of the movie itself but it at least kept me interested enough to want to write about it sans the sneer of a fishwife. I would be loathe to dismiss any movie that has the potential to be good, but there is a difference between sampling a little as opposed to experiencing the lot.  Do I feel this will be a blockbuster? Wellllll… who knows? I mean, it could pull a hat trick and catch everybody by surprise and make an obnoxious amount of money and give vampires back their credibility (please, please pleeeeease by Cthulhu’s nail polish let that happen), but as it stands based on this trailer alone, I don’t believe so.  Time will tell, my dears. Time will tell.

Check out the official trailer here!

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