My roommate Richard approached me today to find out if I owned Bram Stoker’s Dracula because some friends of his had been talking about it and he wanted to watch it. Thankfully, I did own the movie even though I don’t think I’d seen it since shortly after it became available to rent on VHS. So we decided to sit down and give it a peep and, as I do with every movie I watch nowadays, I wrote this here review. Bram Stoker’s Dracula stars Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Cary Elwes.
The basic premise of Dracula should hardly be one that needs to be recounted, but here’s the gist of it. Vlad Dracul (Gary Oldman) was once a great warrior for God. While away at war, news gets back to his wife, Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), that he has died in the battle. Grief-stricken, she throws herself off a tower and plummets to her death. When Dracul returns to find his wife dead, he renounces God, stabbing a cross, making it bleed, and drinking the blood. So now he’s all immortal like. Much later in time, probably around the late 1800’s, Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) has to go see Dracula to help him refinance his mortgage. I actually have no idea why he went to see him. Something about Renfield (Tom Waits, but looks a whole lot like Ron Pearlman) going crazy and then Reeves replaces him. Perhaps Dracula was in need of a horrible amalgam of surfer and Englishman accents. So Reeves goes out there, drives through some blue flames, meets crazy old buttheaded Oldman, ignores that Oldman’s shadow is on about a 10 second delay from the rest of Oldman, doesn’t notice that Dracula can close doors without touching them and walk without taking steps, and Dracula even draws a sword on him at one point. Reeves is either so dense or so committed to his job that he doesn’t pay these things any mind, and I could believe either. Well Reeves starts to catch on and tries to escape, but is greeted by 3 hot naked ladies (one of which is Monica Bellucci) and proceeds to get eaten by them, but not all the way, just enough to keep him weak. Well turns out Dracula’s taking a trip to London to make moves on Reeves’ lady friend (also Winona Ryder) because of her resemblance to his dead wife. But I’ve always said that the way I wanna go is being eaten alive by a naked Monica Bellucci, so I feel no remorse for him.
Dracula goes to London, turns into a werewolf looking creature, and proceeds to sex up and then partially eat Winona Ryder’s friend Lucy (Sadie Frost). Lucy starts to turn vampire on us which she indicates by popping a boob out periodically and moaning erotically a lot. In the meantime, Dracula, now young again and with much less posterior on the back of his head, sets to work romancing Winona.
So this movie is a classic in most people’s eyes, but I found myself very surprised that it was made in 1992. I thought the movie was much older for some reason. It does have an old fashioned feel to it. It seemed like the movie was paying homage to 50’s movies in some of the editing choices. But since it seemed like a choice, much like Indiana Jones was going for a 50’s movie feel, I can’t blame it. Parts of it were entirely fascinating to watch, and certainly had enough sexy time to keep me interested, but the movie left me closer to confused than to contented.
The acting was great except for the miscasting so obvious it almost needn’t be named, but I shall anyway. Keanu Reeves bogged the movie down. Reeves can be fine in the right role. I liked him as Neo, for instance. I liked him as Ted Theodore Logan. I don’t like seeing him attempt an English accent. He was completely out of place here. Oldman took Dracula way over the top, as Oldman tends to do, but it works for Dracula. This is quite possibly the definitive performance of a vampire and I’m really trying to think of one that even comes close. Anthony Hopkins plays Hugh Jackman when he gets on in years. His Van Helsing was pretty entertaining; playing it as the vampire expert/hunter but also seemingly a little out of his element when dealing with the living. And I like it every time I see Winona Ryder. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked one of her performances either, but I’m not sure how much of that is based on the fact that I’m in love with her. Seriously, age difference be damned. If she calls on me, I will follow.
Altogether, I’m pretty conflicted about this movie. I like the acting, but I don’t follow the story. I like the visual effects, but I don’t like being beaten over the head with them. And I didn’t like Keanu Reeves. This is a thoroughly decent movie that doesn’t entirely stand the test of time, at least not for me. I give it a “Certainly watchable” out of “Whoa”.
And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.
this is where I called Gary Oldman fantastic! He has a knack for villainy great review!
I completely agree with you on the whole, “not standing the test of time.” The first time I saw the movie I loved it, then when I grew up and got a job and could afford to buy it on dvd I liked it, and I just watched again, the first time in years, and I remembered it being better. I still enjoy it, mostly cuz I enjoy the story and I loved the book. *the movie stuck pretty close to the book too* And I do enjoy a good Gary Oldman movie. But I agree with your review of this movie, except for Winona Ryder, I am not a fan of hers.
Watch yourself, Tiffany. Winona and I are engaged to be married.