I'm always interested in the Universal Monsters films, big fan of the originals, but I hardly ever keep up with what's currently happening in the industry, preferring to stumble onto things as they float by. It's amazing what a patient angler can snag. Keeping up with current production requires me to remember to keep an eye out for new stuff and that would require me to keep a list of some sort. I'm not so good at the list making and sticking.
After I watched the reboot of The Mummy recently I read about Universal's Dark Universe. Universal wants a series of connected films starring re-imagines of the Universal Monsters of the past. Dracula Untold was considered to be the reboot movie for the Dark Universe but that job went to The Mummy.
The screenplay for Dracula Untold is by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless with Gary Shore directing. It was Matt and Burk's first film, they've since gone on to write the screenplays to The Last Witch Hunter, Gods Of Egypt and the story for Power Rangers. I kind of liked TLWH but GOE I wasn't that keen on. It's also Gary's first film, he'd won an award for a short film several years earlier and then he directed some commercials, got some more awards, then he got to make this film.
In Dracula Untold the guys mash-up Vlad the Impaler and Dracula, pepper it with new vampire lore, toss in the invading Turks and then douses it with a splash of dark, dark blood from a cursed vampire. Charles Dance plays the cursed blood sucker and he's always A-OK. Luke Evens plays Vlad, I don't remember seeing him in anything, the IMDb reminds me I saw him in Clash Of The Titans, The Three Musketeers and Immortals.
Vlad faces a tough decision in leading his people. Give up 1000 young men for the Turkish army to turn into soldiers or fight the Turkish Army. He almost goes through with it but decides to kill the Turkish emissary. Fearing the fall of his kingdom, he goes to the cave Charles is trapped in, and powers up for the forthcoming battles. He now has magical strength and bat shifting abilities, he can even control regular bats.
The blood from the vampire will maintain Vlad's powers for three days and then end. If Vlad drinks human blood, he turns 100 percent vamp, no going back, and he'll have even more powers. It doesn't matter to Charles, he's free of the curse, he can roam the world. Vlad defeats the Turks but his life takes a down turn. He loses his wife, his kid, all his friends, and turns total biter.
It's a lot of flash and fire and bats but it's not much like Dracula. Maybe that's why they didn't include it in the Dark Universe. Every scene is dark tinged and the smell of CGI is always in the air. It's OK but it's not great. It's so serious and nearly everyone dies. It's like every scene starts with a "If you think that was sad, watch this." Not somehting I would need to bother much with again. I might pick one up for a couple of bucks, especially after a bit of time has past and I've forgotten this post. If only I had a list of what not to buy. Oh, damn.