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So...the title is a bit dodgy. "Dracula 2000". Ick. Nevertheless, I was
pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film. To begin with, an
interesting cast. Christopher Plummer has, previously, suffered from
what I call "Michael Caine" syndrome; making any film that will write
him a cheque, Johnny Lee Miller was amusing in "Trainspotting" and,
let's not kid each other, there is no mystery as to why Jennifer
Esposito and Jeri Ryan were cast. Round it out with some second and
third tier young "Actors du jour" and you probably haven't spent too
Now...the most irritating aspect of the film is the almost surreal amount of flagrant Virgin Records placement. Seriously....Mary works in one of the stores which means we get prominent t-shirt coverage....not to mention the gawdy neon sign, the truck in the garage etc.....however, Dracula needs virgins, right?
By far the most interesting part of this film was the story behind the creation of Dracula. Taking the myth back to the time of the crucifixion, with Judas Iscariot suffering some fairly serious guilt issues leading to his suicide and eventual "re-birth"....good angle: it helped to explain the vampires aversion to all things holy and dislike of silver (as in 30 pieces of...). Still don't get the mirror-phobia but hey....
Someone on the creative team of this film has a sweet little visual gag in store. Check out the scene in the Laffayette Cemetery...there is a crypt bearing the name "Spencer Hepburn". Nice one.
The ending is a little rushed and it seems that Miller might have left the set early that day, since he apparently vanishes. It also leaves blatant amounts of room for a sequel, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
That I even considered seeing this film was primarily due to Wes Craven's participation. However, I found it to be an imaginative and fairly tasteful modernisation of one of the all-time cinematic horror legends.
Being a poor hen-pecked loser who isn't allowed cable television, I
found myself in the rather alien position of being spoilt for choice
over which movie to watch last Sunday night. British terrestrial
television rarely throws up such a dilemma, so I had to consider
carefully which one to select. In the corner marked 'safe option' we
had Mel Gibson's Ransom (seen it; dull; can't really remember what
happened but am assuming they eventually get the kid back), second was
Man on the Moon (seen it; vaguely remember being a bit disappointed),
and third was Wes Craven's Dracula 2000 (never seen it; presumably a
straight-to-video job). Almost without hesitation I plumped for that.
A maverick choice, you might say - but there was method to my madness. On more than one occasion, drunken and deluded girls have approached me in bars and accused me of looking like Jonny Lee Miller. They are wrong of course - those close to me have taken sadistic pleasure in assuring me I look more like a cross between Woody Harrelson and Kelsey Grammar - not particularly good for my sex-symbol status, but useful if I ever wanted work as a stunt double on the set of Cheers.
Anyway, it turns out I chose wisely - Dracula 2000 is a hoot. More Schlock than horror (as you might expect from the creator of the Scream franchise) it has the kind of kitschy charm of Buffy the Vampire Slayer only with worse dialogue and a sillier plot. Those purists who prefer a more classic Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee tussle between good and evil are unlikely to stay beyond the first reel, but there are rewards for those who stick it out.
Miller plays Simon Shepherd the protégé of the mysterious Matthew Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer). A gang of thieves infiltrate Van Helsing's secret stash of old relics and unwittingly release Dracula from his silver coffin. Big mistake. The dark lord makes a bee-line for New Orleans in search Van Helsing's daughter Mary. On his way, he creates merry hell crafting a few undead henchwomen (mostly blonde) and enjoying unspeakable depravity in the middle of the Mardi Gras carnival. Unsurprisingly, Miller and Plummer pack their crucifixes and silver bullets and hurry over to save the day.
This being a sexed-up modern-day version of Bram Stoker's classic, Dracula himself is far from the urbane older gentleman with the black cloak and the widow's peak - this one is young and spunky and has the kind of barnet you might find in a L'oreal commercial. Try to imagine a bastard hybrid of David Copperfield and Alan Partridge and you won't be far off. Dracula's hair is not the only highlight though: There are some brilliantly awful modern cultural references - Sweet and innocent Mary works in Virgin Megastore (geddit?) - and an audacious religious sub-plot which goes some way towards explaining Dracula's hatred of silver.
All in all it is great fun. It was inevitably mauled by the critics, but I guess they don't have a sense of humour. Poor old Jonny's been in some turkeys since he made Trainspotting, but I'm backing him to hilt on this one - it certainly beats watching Mel Gibson and Rene Russo blubbing for two and a half hours.
I saw this on cable the other night. C'mon give the movie a break, it
that bad. This is not Shakespeare; it's a Vampire movie, for Pete's sake.
It's not after the Oscar, its entertainment. Sometimes a lot of the User
commentators lose sight of what some movies are about.
An example of this is a review of Santa Clause 2, where one guy wrote `The North Pole was a very distracting, annoying place to be. It seemed so far from reality'. Well I don't want to spoil his Xmas but Santa isn't reality. It was a MOVIE!
Dracula 2000 was a lot better than the old Hammer movies or in fact a lot better than a lot of other Vampire moves. If you could ever do an original story on Vampires, this was close. I mean, what is in a Vampire script. Spooky guy/girl gets out of coffin, kills people (usually girls with great bodies) another guy/girl tries to kill them before they kill again. Oh and I forgot the part about the heroine is a reincarnation of the Vamps long lost love. (See Blacula, Fright Night, Dracula 1992 etc etc)
Dracula 2000 was more original. At least he had a real reason for wanting the Heroine (his blood, her blood) and his origin was an interesting concept, better than Coppola's, which I still find confusing. This was never going to be An Interview with a Vampire, but it was a hell of a lot better than Queen of the Damned. If you like Vampire movies this should be on your viewing list.
The story is very convoluted but it comes down to Dracula (Gerard
Butler) is search of Van Helsing's (Christopher Plummer) daughter Mary
(Justine Waddell) in modern day New Orleans.
Let's get the negatives out of the way: Jonny Lee Miller is TERRIBLE; Plummer's accent is pretty obviously fake; there's far too much product placement for Virgin Records and the vampires crack terrible jokes. All that aside the movie is quick, it's fun, beautifully and atmospherically shot. The script is interesting--it gives Dracula a new origin which fits but is pretty silly too. Dracula is a reanimated corpse...trying to give him a different origin is pretty dumb. Also, crosses don't affect vampires anymore...it just annoys them. Also there's plenty of blood and violence on hand and erotic sexual seduction by Dracula.
With the sole exception of Miller the acting is good. Plummer works (despite the accent); Omar Epps is having a whale of a time; Justine Wadell is good and Esposito, Ryan and Fitzpatrick make a good team of scary (and sexy) vampires. Gerard Butler is fantastic as Dracula. He's young, VERY handsome, has curly black hair and a buff body. Also he portrays Dracula's sexuality and violence very well.
So a slick, fast-moving and fun vampire movie. Worth catching.
---in a campy sort of way.
First, watch the DVD deleted scenes, extended scenes and audition featuring Gerard Butler. That will get you in the right mood! Then start the film.
The first 30 minutes are a mess. After the opening scenes with Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing, that lays the groundwork for the story, they could have skipped all the scenes about the stealing of the coffin and just had Plummer tell Simon (Johnny Lee Miller) "we been robbed!".
But the young people and the robbery and taking the coffin by plane and it crashing - all could be handled by voice-over. This is just a mess and not one of the actors are interesting or have any charisma. Especially Solina (Jennifer Esposito) going into the vault, dark and creepy and skulls and gad! you get the picture. We are in for a fright! Bah!!! So lame.
Our first great shot of Dracula (Butler), is on the plane when he walks into the section of the plane and reaches out for Solina - and like any sane woman, she goes right to him. The love bite is next. Um Hmmmm! In the meantime, Mary Van Helsing (Justine Waddell - child like and innocent) is having dreams/nightmares seeing Dracula in her mirror. She is speechless, and we are too. OMG! She keeps saying "wake up - you're dreaming" but then he comes close and sniffs her and says "you're real" and I have to pause the film and fan myself.
Troubled Mary goes to the church in New Orleans where the priest is a childhood friend, to get some answers about her Mother and as he is putting the candles out and turns to Mary - it is him, the big D. A gaze to die for. The next is Dracula perched like a gargoyle on the church parapet above the Mardi Gras revelers and he says "Farewell, Princess." Perfect!
Down at street level, he walks among the drunken revelers with a bemused look. There is a giant TV screen showing dancers silhouettes, there are beads and coins tossed at him as he looks on with a knowing smile. He watches the giant screen flash images of atom bombs, rock stars, lingerie ads and women mud wrestling and says "Brilliant." Great satire!
His walk through the "Virgin" record store is iconic, with all the young gals turning to look as he passes by. He gets Lucy, Mary's friend to take him to their home. His comment to Lucy, when she can't come up with a word to describe Mary's mothers decor of the house "catholic?" is priceless. And to her query "would you like some coffee?" he says " I don't drink----------coffee." Timed perfectly with just the right look. And of course, he has her on the bed and on the ceiling! Faint!!!
It is like there are two films here - one a brilliant satire with great lines. And the other an incoherent teen/slasher/blood-fest. But it is almost possible to just start anywhere after the first 30 minutes and the story is interesting and makes sense of the Jesus Christ/Judas theme.
The cinematography has some beautiful scenes. The Red Hall - the curtains blowing and the eastern theme music for the desert and cross scenes. The few lines Dracula(Butler) utters are great and with timing and marvelous expression. "The Bible is propaganda." "You think you can defend her with the Bible." To Mary "Everything I have is yours; and all you are is mine." (Shades of The Phantom.)
Dracula to the Jesus Cross "I give them (revelers below) what they crave most. All the pleasures you denied them." And his gesture to Mary - arm and hand out as the camera pans away and he says "come let us feast" and the kisses. Wow!! Nellie bar the door. I want some of that!
(8/10 - would have been higher but that first 30 minutes is just bad!)
This is such a beautifully filmed and acted film that it's a shame for
anyone to miss it. The cast is just excellent, especially Gerard Butler
as Dracula. His role is slightly underplayed which works beautifully
for THIS Dracula whose real self is only discovered at the end of the
movie. Wes Craven used everyone in the film exactly the way they should
have been used.
This is not a slasher movie. Although there is violence and blood the rest of the movie actually subdues this. It is a thoughtful movie that sets up the ending slowly, step by step.
If you haven't seen it, by all means, give it a try and watch with an open mind and see if you can figure out WHO Dracula really is. (besides the hot Scot, Gerard Butler, who is just fascenating in this film)
An interesting take on Dracula--You might get a kick out of the end when you
find out Dracula's true origin.
It struck me as two movies in one. There was a very passionate vampire story going on, covered up by a high-tech monster movie (think Bram Stoker's Dracula coated with a layer of Underworld or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).
Considering the double tone of this film, I'm not surprised to see Christopher Plummer co-starring along some very fresh-faced young actors. Any fellow Canadians will notice a few Canucks besides Plummer in this one.
Because of the inconsistent flow of the movie, some silliness, and the disappointing death of one of the main characters, I gave this film a 6/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie for 2 reasons--I like Gerard Butler and Christopher Plummer. Unfortunately, these poor men were forced to carry a pretty dumb movie. I liked the idea that Dracula is actually a reincarnation of Judas Iscariot, because it does explain his disdain for all things Christian, but there was so much camp that this idea was not realized as much as it could have been. I see this movie more as a way for the talented Gerard Butler to pay his dues before being truly recognized and a way for the legendary Christopher Plummer to remind the public (me and the 5 other people who saw this film) that he still exists. I actually enjoyed the special features on the DVD more than the movie itself.
This Movie rocked my socks! This movie was original, entertaining, attention holding and perfect in every other way. Plus not to mention great actors....Dracula was so attractive, alluring, and seductive that I found myself rooting for him. This movie was amazing, although its sequels were horrible and very disappointing. (havely because Gerald Butler did not portray Dracula in the sequels) so strap on your crucifix's cause this movie was AMAZING and will take you for a ride! This movie was excellent in many ways. First off, the plot.....was awesome. It was a new take on Dracula without losing the old feel for it and disregarding the legend. On the contrary, it added a feel of a modern Dracula, like he had adapted into out time. Then the acting was superb (again, Gerald Butler!!!! I love him) and also the director. (Wes Craven is a genius). So 10 stars to this baby.
When a group of thieves break into the antiques shop belonging to
Matthew Van Helsing, they bypass the valuables and head to the
basement, where they steal a pure silver coffin that they suspect is
full of riches. They escape the scene via plane, but the coffin's
inhabitant, Dracula, comes to life and kills them all and the plane
crashes in New Orleans on the eve of the Mari Gras. With Dracula being
drawn to his daughter Mary, Van Helsing flies to New Orleans with his
protégé Simon in tow. However he arrives to find that Dracula has
already regained strength and has turned several people already.
I tuned into this years after it had vanished from the cinema having barely made more than a ripple at the UK box office. Seeing it on TV now I can totally understand why it didn't do much business. The plot doesn't really go anywhere and squanders any potential it may have had in a very simple little film that is all over very quickly. Taking huge jumps in plot logic (both real logic and vampire movie logic), the film throws up a few average action scenes and not much else. I wouldn't even really call it scary even if some of it made me flinch a little bit with the early gore. Neither the direction nor the script do anything to justify the update of this story and in the end it doesn't even really stand out as a good teen horror.
The cast flatters the film and most of them are badly used with the bigger names playing second fiddle to the lesser names (in my opinion). Butler's Dracula is far too obvious and easy he has no real charisma but yet we are supposed to buy that he is seductive and ruthless. Miller is OK but he is not very well used and is suddenly expected to carry the film with it dumped on him halfway in. Plummer does OK but Waddell is pretty annoying. The big names of Epps, Thomas, Esposito and a few others all look sexy and appealing but the film uses them badly considering their star status (consider Epps' face being prominent on the poster to see what I mean that's practically false advertising!).
Overall this is a fairly standard modern horror a bit of gore, no real scares, no real thrills, poor plotting, poor characters and only a handful of amusing kiss-off lines. I can barely remember it even an hour after viewing and I doubt that I'll remember it for much longer so limited was it as a film. Wroth watching if trashy horror is your thing but other than that there is no real reason for putting yourself through this.
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