I felt a bit better on checking twitter and finding out there was a global problem, but it still left me feeling twitchy for the half hour or so I was waiting for the boffins at Google to fix things. I think part of it is that this blog and my Google+ are not just social for me, they're part of my work, my writing, they're how I reach my readers as well as my friends, but that wasn't all. Since the error was also affected my gmail contacts, I was also really worried I was losing them, all my friends, all the people I talk to, and some that I don't very often.
All I can say is, I'm glad it's been fixed!
Anyway - on to my thoughts about Dracula Untold.
'As his kingdom is being threatened by the Turks, young prince Vlad Tepes must become a monster feared by his own kingdom in order to obtain the power needed to protect his own family, and the families of his kingdom.' - IMDB
I enjoyed this movie, it played to my expectations, there were no surprises, but it was an enjoyable fantasy. I would hesitate to call it an adventure movie, because it was on the dark side for that, but I did get the feeling they were trying for a 12A certificate at times, because, although it ended up with a 15 rating in the UK, the action was fairly close in and there was not much gore. I expect it got the 15 rating for the unavoidable impalings that went along with Dracula's historical character. Compared to some of the 12A movies out there, though, e.g. James Bond and the Bourne movies, I did think the violence was more fantastical and therefore this might have deserved a 12A rating.
The plot itself, well, it's a fair attempt at an origin story. I mean, we know what has to happen by the end before we start, so, if you were expecting Dracula not to end up as King of the Night, then you're going to be disappointed ;P. I was slightly concerned before I went to see this movie that we'd have this long, long, angsty build up to the whole vampire thing with a bit of vampirism at the end, and for a few minutes at the beginning there, I was still worried, but actually, they paced the film about right.
There's a build up of tension in the first half hour, setting the scene, giving you Prince Vlad's background as a child warrior for the Turks and his continued servitude to them to maintain a peace which is very one-sided in favour of the Turks. And the concept that he already knew what it meant to be a monster while fighting for the Turks before becoming a vampire was underplayed, but in a good way, only really coming out in the climax at the end.
The cast is a who's who of British Character actors, and I mean actors in the male sense, because if you want to watch female roles, don't go near this movie. Only one woman has a speaking part (as far as I remember) - that is Sarah Gadon as Vlad's wife, Mirena, and her role is a typical male catalyst role, I won't say what happens to her, but can you guess? I won't say the movie has any stellar performances in it, it's more about the plot than the characters, even the Turks, who, as bad guys, might have had more gutsy parts, are actually quite bland. Vlad is angsty and brooding, as expected, Mirena is loving and supportive, but they're all a bit remote. In fact, I think Art Parkinson, who played Vlad's son, Ingeras, probably did the best job of emoting and making contact with the audience - his performance in the scene where Vlad is being forced to hand him over to the Turks as a royal hostage is very well done.
So, in summary, not a stunner of a movie, but worth a watch, just don't expect too much, it is an origin movie after all. If they make #2, which they set up at the end of the movie, I think it will be much more interesting, because they won't have to stay within so many boundaries. Charles Dance's evil Master Vampire, who doesn't even have a name yet, has made promises of machinations and plots, which could ignore the Dracula story altogether, and I would look forward to that kind of movie :).