Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dracula 2000


#12 - Dracula 2000


 
 
SUMMARY (courtesy of IMDB)

A group of thieves break into a chamber expecting to find paintings, but instead they release the count himself, who travels to New Orleans to find his nemesis' daughter, Mary Van Helsing.

REVIEW (Spoilers ahead)

What? Another vampire movie?  Well, it is the month of October isn’t it?  So, sit back and deal with it.  Yes, this movie is fairly hokey, a bit over the top with the blood and gore, and freak-out factor…but it’s got an amazing cast that did pretty well with what they were given.  It has, brace yourself for it… Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Gerard Butler, Nathan Fillion, Omar Epps, and Jeri Ryan.   Gerard Butler plays the infamous Dracula…and I have to admit that I was very skeptical at first, until I saw him on the screen.  He does an amazing job as being evil and still sensuously seductive, everything that Dracula is supposed to be.  Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing is quite good, and Johnny Lee Miller as his unsure, but dedicated assistant is also very good.  Omar Epps, more famously known for his role in the acclaimed television series, House, is your usual B-movie bad guy, and not much to write about.  Jeri Ryan, most known for playing Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, ends up as one of the brides of Dracula.  However, the most ironic role must admittedly go to Nathan Fillion.  In the movie he portrays a priest, and later in his career, only three years later, he plays a priest…but instead, he’s an evil priest.  Our leading lady, Justine Waddell, also does a fairly good job, but most of the glory must go to Gerard Butler.

 
(Above) Gerard Butler as Dracula
(Below) Justine Waddell as Mary Van Helsing
 
 

 
(Above) Nathan Fillion as Daniel
(Below) Johnny Lee Miller as Simon


 

The movie plotline is original and un-original at the same time.  It takes the classic tale of Dracula, and then brings it to the modern day.  In a unique twist, we find out that Van Helsing was poisoned by Dracula’s blood many years ago, when he captured him, and decided to use his newfound long life to be the permanent guard over Dracula’s body, making sure that his evil remained hidden and contained.  When Dracula does escape, unwittingly aided by some thieves looking for something else entirely, he brings along with him the history of the character.  He can dissolve into mist, change into animal form, and seduce women at a glance, all of which happen to be in the original book, more or less.  As the movie progresses, we discover that Van Helsing’s daughter is directly of Dracula’s bloodline, as she inherited her father’s blood which was tainted by the master vampire.

Though the blood and gore are a bit, as I said before, over the top, the plotline is actually a good plotline, and I think that that is the only reason why it didn’t completely tank.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Gerard Butler as an evil vampire?  If taken into the proper directing hands, along with a bit of an actor shuffle and a clean-up of some of the language and violence, it could be a really good movie.  But, as I said, it’s a B-movie, with A-movie actors in it.  I think it goes to show, that even if you have A-movie actors, you can’t really change a B-movie plotline.  But, as I have said in the past, I’m a sucker for B-movies, and this one’s one of my favorites.

A bit stupid, but fun anyway.
 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Daybreakers


#11 - Daybreakers

 


SUMMARY (courtesy of IMDB)

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.

REVIEW (spoilers ahead)

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: Oh no…she’s reviewing another vampire movie…  Please withhold the eye-rolls and deep sighs for afterwards if you still need to. 

This movie is one of the most original vampire movies I have ever come across.  Vampires have spread so much, that most of our civilization is made up of vampires in this movie…so much so that there is only 5% of the human population left.  The idea simply amazes me, and the acting, though many may think, Ethan Hawke? Seriously?, is quite good.  Do not underestimate this actor.  He is very good in this movie, and alongside Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil, he proves himself.  Sam Neil is delightfully charismatic and evil and everything that a vampire should be.  Willem Dafoe gives the movie a feel of being lived in, of having a rugged and natural quality to it, and I simply love him portraying a vampire who has been turned human, but without a heartbeat, making him an eternal human.  I love the concept, and these actors really bring it to life. 





 Though the graphics are sub-par, the details that they manage to work into the story are rather nice and caters to a smarter audience.  It makes it a B-movie that is custom-made for a more intelligent viewer.  One of my favorite details that they remember all of the changes that come along with having a society that lives in the dark, but is still stuck on the normal work-during-the-day-sleep-at-night concept.  They have cars that have daylight driving mode for vampires, and the writers even included a feature on the car that when the door is open during the day, it says, “Warning: UV light detection. Warning: UV light detection.”  That is just one of the many details that they follow that makes this one of the more successful vampire movies.

What I enjoy most about this movie is that it doesn’t really deal with any weird romance between a human and a vampire, or even necessarily glamorize vampires.  I mean, they’re pretty, I guess, and they’re also still scary, but it shows how much a vampire can envy the life of a human.  It shows the psychology of a vampire only having half of a life, and not a real one.  Ethan Hawke’s character, a vampire hematologist, shows an envy of the humans and the fact they are not reliant on one source of life.  An envy of the fact that humans can exist in both worlds, without having to rely on only one food for sustenance.  I love seeing the reversal.  Especially when it is shown that there are people who have no desire to become vampires.

In fact, there’s a great set of lines that explains it.  Hawke’s character asks, “Aren’t you scared of dying?” and the woman’s response is, “Yes, but most of us are too scared of death to think of it as an option.  I guess that’s why so many turned.”

Great line.  It sort of explains our fascination with the mythology of vampires.  It’s the idea of escaping death and then having the freedom to do whatever you want without ever having to fear suffering consequences for your actions.  It’s an escape from the normal, human rules of morality and responsibility.
 
All in all, an amazing movie. Language and gore, of course, but worth it for the fascinating ride that it takes you on.