Dracula Untold attempts to kick-off the Dark Universe with a new origins story for one of its legendary monsters – Dracula.
The static 3D opening and infrared vision are nifty. The production design and landscape is effective in placing you in Gothic Transylvania, where Prince Vlad Tepes does his best to preserve peace in his land while the Turks remain an ever-present threat.
However, the film fails to make any of its ideas compelling enough as it steadfastly clings to a PG 13 rating and takes itself too seriously.
Instead of a seductive and sensual creature of the night, you have a lovesick immortal who was once a fearsome warrior turned family man. This new take is dull because the movie makes no attempt at turning its lead into a compelling character.
The cast is decent but they’re underused and stereotyped.
The reluctant hero is played by Luke Evans. The evil thing in the craggy cave is played by Charles Dance. The tyrannical Sultan with a douchebag loyalist, sadistic henchman, and a horde of an indoctrinated army is played by Dominic Cooper. The worried wife and his heir are played by Sarah Gadon and Art Parkinson respectively. It’s much worse for Vlad’s loyal captains, who are indistinguishable props save for the color of their beards.
The action scenes revolve around Dracula’s ability to transform into bats, which are indistinguishable masses of dirt that swoops down to bloodless frenetically shot battles. The Sultan’s army is no threat at all.
This franchise-starter makes no effort in stirring up its potboiler narrative. You get too little too late fangoria, badly executed action scenes, recycled tropes, and forgettable characters. There is no conflict, suspense, and character to root for.
Dracula Untold is neither entertaining, scary, and engaging.
Dracula Untold is a magnificently awful attempt at a new origin story for Dracula and franchise-starter to the Dark Universe.