Monday, November 8, 2010

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

The origin of an entire generation's vampire rape fantasies. 

There aren't a lot of characters that have been re-imagined on screen as many times as Dracula. Ranging from the classic, to the comic, to the downright weird, filmmakers have done pretty much everything imaginable to the undead count of Transylvania. Enter Bram Stoker's Dracula, an all-star affair that should have been a slam dunk. While the film succeeds in a lot of meaningful ways, it doesn't manage to be the surefire hit that it looks like on paper.

Bram Stoker's Dracula is part faithful re-imagining of Stoker's original novel and part Gothic reinvention. The immortal vampire Count Dracula comes to London to stalk the reincarnated love of his life. Some bestiality occurs in between. The film is directed my legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and features a cast fit for his acclaim. Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Cary Elwes, Tom Waits and Monica Bellucci all make appearances and they helped drive to the film to solid critical and financial success. The film won three academy awards, deservingly for Costume Design, Sound Editing and Make-Up, and was nominated for another. At the very least, Coppola's version of Dracula wins points for bringing good old fashion Gothic horror back from the dead and for it's amazing visuals.

There are two really good reasons to see Bram Stoker's. The first reason is that the film is gorgeous. The visuals here are truly unique and it's probably the biggest reason why the film remains memorable. The costumes are beautiful, the make-up is downright impressive and the sets are equally stunning. Couple that with some really magnificent, old-fashioned visual effects and you have yourself a wonderful movie to soak in. The other reason to see the film is for Gary Oldman. Oldman gives, hands down, the best Dracula performance ever. It's hard to even describe how great he is in this role. What drags the movie down are some really terrible performances by Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. Both of them give flat, lifeless performances which just stick out even more when they're put next to Oldman and Hopkins. Ultimately, Bram Stoker's Dracula is a great movie to look at, but not one that sticks around in your mind for too long. It's definitely worth seeing for the visuals, they're amazing, but it's inclusion on the 1001 Movies to See list is tentative at best.


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