Luke Evans stars as the legendary vampire for a “never-before-seen” origin story
It is highly ironic, what with the Untold half of its moniker, that the first trailer for this Bram Stoker reheat from Universal Pictures looks so generic that even the snippets of dialogue sound like they have been lifted from other medieval guff. Not so much Dracula Untold as Dracula Reaffirmed.
The film is a co-production with Legendary Pictures, who have had a shaky output of late – including this year’s monster disappointment Godzilla – but at least hold up a cred synonymous with innovation, if not quality. Sadly, from our first glance, Dracula Untold appears to be following far too many recent, mainstream-ready trends to signify anything more than a quick and quantifiable cash-grab. The 30-something Brit hunk with no discernible features in the lead role (Luke Evans, also on for The Crow remake). The dirty, dirty aesthetics and even some alumni from serial fantasy benchmark Game Of Thrones. An origin story for an established iconic villain from literature/film, that could either expand the universe for good (Hannibal) or water down their less approachable traits beyond recognition (Maleficent, Platinum Dune’s horror fuck-ups). A post-Nolan level of unrelenting cynicism that typifies the tragic hero quota. Even the trailer soundtrack, from overblown upstart Lorde, adds to the “certified PG-13 for not committal meh” feel of the production.
But we do have the promise of Dominic Cooper (excellent in the dual morality roles for The Devil’s Double) and Charles Dance (GOT’s Tywin Lannister) hopefully mincing things up for the dark side, and if the story of Vlad selling his soul to save his family is sub-Marvel fare on paper, it could still deliver where it counts if the execution cuts the mustard. As long as it’s better than Frankenstein’s recent rebirth, with Aaron Eckhart’s ridiculous abs, then it can’t be all bad…
Dracula Untold is out in UK cinemas on October 3, 2014.