In this new epic version of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, the latest film released by Francis Ford Coppola, the medieval vampire vows to get his revenge on God and forever wait the return of the woman he loves, after she plunges to her death. It doesn’t come to mind that after three centuries, he may not seem attractive to her. The novel by Stoker inspires the film, which begins with the horrific tragedy of Vlad the Impaler, who went to fight the crusades but returned to the dreaded news of her death from a parapet to a blurred doom far below, which is captured in a great shot and is one of the best effects of this movie.
Vlad sees no justice in his fate and believes God has betrayed him, because, after all, he journeyed to the Holy Land to battle in the Crusades for the sake of his name. He is seized by Satan and vampirism, and turns on a trail for blood. We then meet Keanu Reeves, a young attorney who has been asked to voyage to Dracula’s castle to arrange real estate transactions. Reeves brings an American sense to the feel of this film but he has a dreadful English accent which is one of the films greatest downfalls.
Keanu is met in the darkness to be taken to Dracula’s castle. There, everything is more or less as we expect it, which could have been pursued and alternated to give the audience a greater sense and element of surprise. Nevertheless, Count Dracula waits, (Gary Oldman), as he has been for centuries for the return of his dead bride, and when he sees Reeves’ fiancï¿½e, Mina Murray, (Winona Ryder), he knows his wait has been rewarded at last. She lives again.
Whilst this occurs in Transylvania, back in London, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), the fearless vampire killer senses the closeness of Dracula as he appears in town. Coppola directs with all the stops, giving huge gothic extravaganzas and grand settings. Reeves doesn’t know what he is up against with Count Dracula, and neither do we, since Dracula changes form- from ancient hideous wreck, to a young man, to a cat, bat and a wolf.
Ryder finds herself falling under the spell of Dracula’s need. But in the closing stages, she ends up in his arms and gives him the kiss that releases his body from a disfigured, hideous looking creature into a charming prince that he once was. But in order to totally achieve this, she must kill him, and she does it in style – clenches a four-foot blade and plunges at his throat, and with one blow completely takes his head off. This is the utter most best effect of this movie.
But the film lacks headlong narrative conclusions, which often leads to confusion throughout the film and dead ends. But I enjoyed the film because of the way it felt and looked, the style, and the all-star cast which adds to the films publicity. I personally thought the film was great. It had all the interventions, which fitted it perfectly into our modern secular society. It had some great special effects and screen frames. But like I said before, it does get boring in places because you can’t always work out what is happening. The storyline, overall, is gripping and full of suspension with gruesome scenes of violence and sex, which portrays the film nicely.
The ending of this movie is probably the most satisfactory ending of all Dracula films made. But does it go on and on? I believe people thought it was worth making other ‘Dracula’ films because of the way society has developed since the original was produced. The Director has surprised his audience by including two genres in one – the mixing of ‘romance’ and ‘horror’. Also, there is some element of addiction to ‘Dracula’ films for some, which is great to see.
Audiences tend to go back and see ‘Dracula’ because they know it will have a new twist to it and in addition there is a new generation for the producers to aim their ideas at. For example, Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ was associated with the main problem of that time, – aids. But newer generations are associated with teen culture and special effects. The latest technology has allowed all this to happen, and it fits into the present society.