Thursday, March 19, 2015

3+1 Short Paragraphs: Dracula Untold

2014, Gary Shore -- download

Dracula Untold is the Dracula movie for D&D players. Its a prequel exploring the origins of Vlad Tepes, or as they call him in the movie, Draculovich or something like that. Basically, that opening sequence from the Gary Oldman movie? Yes, its made into an entire movie. Luke Evans armor is almost as cool. Its also a superhero origin movie, with the creators amping up the vampire powers to the Nth degree. I never knew bats could be such a destructive force.

Vlad is the Prince of Transylvania, sometime in the Middle Ages. He was one of a thousand children given by the King, to the Turks, in exchange for not wiping out his people. Each of these kids are trained in the art of killing, likely being dwindled down to a ruthless few, one of which is Vlad himself, by way of the The Impaler reputation he gains while killing for the Turks. As reward he is allowed to return to Transylvania to take up the throne from his father. Years later, the Turks return to take another thousand sons. Vlad refuses.

Vlad enacts his secret weapon -- a deal made with the ghastly vampire lord who lives in the mountain. The ancient creature gives Vlad a taste of his blood, but as long as he kills no man before the end of three days, he will return to life as a human. Vlad has three days to defeat the army of the Turks. And wow, does he do so. Vlad not only has sunlight aversion and blood drain, but he can turn into a swarm of bats, clothes and all, superhero change style. And he can control bats, BIG  bats that while in their own swarm, seem to act as a single, massive force. Their impact on the battlefield sends soldiers flying. But can Vlad do it before the end of the third day? No, of course he can't. Not without a sacrifice, that of his family and that of his mortality. Thus the vampire lord wins the bargain and Vlad becomes Dracula.

*spoilerific schtuff*

Its a very formula actioner.  There is nothing novel or overly exciting about the movie but it fills a niche, an Avengers style tragic heroism. And of course, superhero style, its only an origin story. The real movie is being setup where we see Vlad in our time running into the reincarnation of  his wife, now a lovely young lady named Mina. And that vampire lord, the one from the cave? Now he is suit wearing, suave Charles Dance, ready to play more games with Vlady, the totally not-villain of a movie I doubt will ever be made.