2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
The classic tale is a litterary masterpiece, the atmospher & style stands out in BluRay. Vlad the Impaler's red suit of armour is visually stunning as he renounces God & stabs the heart of the cross. Sadie Frost looks sexy as the life is slowly sapped from her beautiful neck, while Winnona Ryder does a good job as her friend Madam Mina.
Strong performances from Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins & the supporting cast; as it is a proper projection of the novel, you should really enjoy this in HD if you have never watched it.
on March 11, 2004
This 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker's magnum opus is fairly faithful to the source, though there are a few noticeable changes, not the least of which is a blatant depiction of the sex and eroticism that are only tacit elements of the Victorian novel. Another obvious change is the addition of a prologue in which it is revealed how, as his punishment for blaspheming God and cursing the church, the Turk known as Vlad the Impaler was transformed into Dracula the vampire (Gary Oldman). The real purpose of this scene is to set up a later plot point--also an augmentation of the original story--in which Dracula, now residing in England, learns that Mina (Winona Ryder) is the reincarnation of his true love from his previous mortal life and subsequently becomes obsessed with re-acquiring her. This, of course, becomes the underlying impetus behind all of his later actions. (At the time of this film's release, many film critics pointed out that this reincarnation concept is lifted directly from Dan Curtis' 1973 TV-movie adaptation of the novel, which was scripted by the venerable genre writer Richard Matheson.)
Still, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA does, overall, return to the novel's gothic roots. A lot of the action takes place in crumbling old Carpathian castles, filthy Victorian insane asylums, or dusky English manor houses, and most scenes are played out dramatically in the usual operatic style of a period piece. Director Francis Ford Coppola skillfully layers nearly every shot with rich detail, and often the foreground action is in danger of being upstaged by spooky little events or eerie bits of scenery in the background. (A prime example of this is the now-famous shadow imagery in Dracula's castle, which moves independently of the people or objects casting those shadows.) And aesthetes and art historians are often quick to point out that some of the more lavish costumes, especially some of those worn by Dracula himself, are directly inspired by the ornate artwork of Gustav Klimt, a Viennese artist who was a contemporary of writer Stoker.
For the most part, the acting in the film is excellent. Gary Oldman's portrayal of Dracula is superb. Through the course of the film, he skillfully segues from a Turkish warrior to a centuries-old bloodsucker, and he is especially effective (i.e., downright scary!) when his character assumes the form of a giant, gargoyle-like bat. Master thespian Anthony Hopkins appears as Dracula's primary nemesis, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and his eccentric characterization of the enigmatic occultist is delightfully over the top. Hopkins often nibbles playfully on the scenery, nearly upstaging his co-stars. Though her British accent is sometimes obviously phony, pretty Winona Ryder does an excellent job as the object of Dracula's romantic interests, and the casting of Tom Waits as Renfield is a master stroke, as his bizarre but affecting performance so suits the mentally deranged character that it rivals Dwight Frye's much-lauded and equally outré portrayal in the classic 1931 Universal film. The only real weak link in the cast is Keanu Reeves. Though he tries hard, he just can't entirely shake off that surfer-dude posture that has become his trademark, and it takes a little effort on the part of the audience to accept him as a (whoa!) Victorian-era solicitor like Jonathan Harker.
All in all, 1992's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA is a very satisfying horror film that, though not a stringent interpretation of Stoker's famous novel, is nonetheless loyal to the book's gothic ambiance and Victorian roots. In fact, fans of Stoker's literary opus will be delighted to see that, unlike the more famous 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi, this film keeps the book's primary plotline more or less intact. True, the pursuing-lost-love graft is a bit distracting at times, and it really doesn't work all that well, but it's only a minor flaw in the film's overall scope.
Columbia/Tristar's basic DVD release of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA is a no-frills disc, the only bonus (?) being the option to view the film in either 16:9 anamorphic widescreen format or 4:3 pan-and-scan. Picture quality--at least on the widescreen side--is very good and the retail price of the disc is reasonable. But Columbia/Tristar also offers a SuperBit edition, and as with most of their SuperBit offerings, the picture quality is superior, especially when viewed on a widescreen HDTV. Though it is a bit pricier than the standard edition, videophiles in the horror-fan crown will think it well worth the additional cost.
on January 13, 2004
I only gave this film 4 stars, because after you see it so many times you notice alot of things that could have been corrected had the spent a little more time on it. Over all, this film is amazing. I would recommend it above any other Dracula movie out there. It's based on the original Dracula story written by Bram Stoker. They changed the plot quite a bit, but for the better.
The cast alone could have made this movie great even if the plot lacked. With names like Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, and Winona Ryder how can this movie fail? Gary Oldman is astonishing. If Dracula looked and acted as Gary Oldman did who could refuse him? Anthony Hopkins is the only person I could ever see playing Van Helsing. He fit the character perfectly. Eccentric, a bit psychotic, wise, and charming, who better to play that role? Winona Ryder did a good job playing Mina, but I wouldn't say it was the perfect role for her. The only complaint I could have about the cast is Keanu Reeves. What were they thinking with that? No matter how hard he tries he will never shake the surfer persona he took at the beginning of his career. They could have found many more that would have suited the role of Harker much better. Besides that, he did a bad job with the english accent. It sounded fake and not well rehersed.
The film was well adapted to the book, despite the fact that it completely changed the plot. They turned it from a story of sheer malice and revenge to an epic love story. Dracula's wife threw herself into the river after receiving false news of his death. This is true in accounts of history, but isn't directly mentioned in the book(if memory serves me right), but it's a strong point in the movie. In the movie, Dracula searches for centuries to find his lost wife. Finally that comes when Harker comes to Transylvania to finish the transaction between Dracula and the firm Harker represents. He finds that Mina, Haker's finace, is reincarnate of his beloved Elizebeta who flung herself into the river. From then Dracula's plot to win his love back begins. The entirety of the movie is based on the struggle of choosing between the power of eternal love or the bonds of religion and the decisions between right and wrong. The movie brings Dracula from this horrible, murdering monster which he's always portrayed to a man with a heart struggling between life and love. He risks everything to be with his one true love. Heart warming, right? As the cover says, love never dies.
Francis Ford Coppola does an amazing job with the imagery of this film. The special effects are amazing for the time. And the costumes are utterly astounding. The images in this movie are hardly forgetable.
On top of all that the sound track is amazing. During the ending credits they play a song by Annie Lennox. 'Love song for a vampire' is such an amazing song. After seeing the ending of the movie it will make you at least come close to tears.
Again, I would higly recommend this movie to anyone who likes the story of Dracula. Even to those who like love stories, just as long as you don't mind a bit of gore.
on December 30, 2003
First of all, I have enjoyed the film from my first viewing in the theater to my most recent viewing on the Superbit DVD. The film gives a rich, tragic subtext to the Dracula legend that most other films ignore in favor of gory special effects or cheap scare tactics. The cast is spectacular, featuring Gary Oldman as the fanged one, Winona Ryder as his lost love, Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker.
The only thing I was a bit disappointed in was the digital transfer of the film. Although I recognize that the film was released over a decade ago, Columbia apparently didn't take the time to digitally restore the film before the transfer, as there are still some visible pops and dust even on the Superbit edition. The 5.1 soundtrack, however, will blow you away. It was so crisp and clean, I had to turn down the sound significantly so that I did not wake up my baby. The soundtrack makes good use of all channels and covers the discriminating viewer who has a decent home theater system in excellent sound quality. Thus, the movie sounds great, but I could not discern a significant quality difference in the picture from other DVDs.
on November 1, 2003
In the early ninties, several superb horror movies like 'Candyman' lost column inches and theatre audiences to 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'. On a tide of publicity it swept through the cinemas, touted as the most faithful adaptation of Stoker's novel ever produced, and while critics remained stony-faced, audiences loved it.
And with good reason.
With the exception of Keanu Reeves, who really should be banned by the UN Supreme Court from ever making another motion picture, 'Dracula' is definitely the best Vampire movie ever made. It remains extremely faithful to Stoker's original novel and its strength lies in Francis Ford Coppola's visualisation of Stoker's 19th Century London-based Count.
Big Names like Winona Ryder, Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins turn out excellent performances, but the real stars of this movie are the visuals used in production. Gowns are big and complicated, sets are lush and wholly convincing, and set-pieces like Lucy Westenra's Tomb scene and the opening sequence set in Transylvania are exquisitely realised and very engaging. Put simply, 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' is a wonderful movie for its visual beauty alone, and coupled with some strong performances, becomes a wonderful series of powerful images and sequences linked into one excellent production.
The Superbit version of the DVD is really the only version worth owning, as the quality is almost unimaginable. Hook up some stereo speakers and indulge!
Note: Keanu Reeves is the only reason I can't give this movie 5 stars. He's awful. In fact, he's worse than awful. But thankfully, he can't spoil the film. His part isn't big enough!
on August 1, 2003
The main reaasons for seeing this film are based around the craft of filmmaking itself, as the sets, costumes, cinematography, and score are all excellent. This film won many "technical" Oscars, and with good reason. It is a feast for the eyes and ears.
The actual acting and script are not bad, though a little overdone on both accounts. That's the greatest weakness of the film, the pacing is uneven, and the dialog and acting can be a bit hammy.
Now, as for its closeness to the original novel, well, its hardly exact, but the main changes related to the romance are not unprecedented. Dracula has become an increasingly sympathetic character in each film version produced. The rest of the details are fairly close, however, with the vast majority of the books cast included, unlike most film versions. (The reviewer of July 2 2003 form Australia is wrong, Coppola didn't add the Texan, Quincey Morris is a character straight from the original book.) The inclusion of Stoker's name in the title was done largely for copyright reasons, and invariably gives a false impression that this is a 100% faithful adaptation.
So,in short, this is an enjoyable version of the classic tale that strives for a great artistic statement, but could have used a better script.
on June 20, 2003
This movie is one of the greatest movies ever made, best vampire movie ever out there, a surely 5-star.. It's based on Bram Stocker's best-seller Dracula. This is as close as the movies can get to the original book, and, in my opinion, the best Dracula movie ever made.
Starring stars such as Keanu Reeves, who is rocking with the Matrix movies today; Gary Oldman, perfect as Dracula; Anthony Hopkins, as Van Helsing; and Winoma Ryder, great in her role. Great acting, make-up, special effects for that year (1992)... This movie won 3 Oscars in 1992 Academy Awards (Best Costume Design / Best Make-Up / Best Sound Effects Editing).
As you see, the movie is great, but the edition is not... The movie didn't diserve this edition... NO EXTRAS AT ALL! Not even a Theatrical Trailer, Talent Bios or Commentary... Absolutely nothing... And this is really sad.
The sound is awesome in 5.1 (thank God it's avaliable in this DVD edition). It's a 2-Side DVD, in side A, the movie is presented in widescreen; in side B, standart (much better, in my opinion). There are 52 charpters in this DVD. It's captioned in English, Spanish, Korean and French.
A Francis F. Coppola's masterpiece in a poor DVD edition. Only worth for the movie and the 5.1 sound. But, like I said, it's definetly worth your money..
on April 20, 2003
More Francis Ford Coppola's than Bram Stoker's, this "Dracula" near-faithfully adapts the novel but adds a superfluous romance between the Count and Mina Murray - probably to give the material an emotional pitch to match Coppola's baroque staging. Many have interpreted this version as being "about" HIV, but with its dazzling array of cinematic tricks and deliberate intertextual references I think it's more about the history of cinema (and the startling parallels between vampirism and the rituals of Catholicism). The performances are thoroughly indulgent, and rightly so. Hopkins and Oldman positively revel as Van Helsing and Dracula. Restraint might be the basis of style, but not here: the players are the perfect match for the otherworldly production design, ludicrous costumes, lush lighting, and Wojciech Kilar's wonderfully evocative score. The result is a kind of Romantic excess which will have you either swooning or smirking - probably a bit of both. Either way, it's great fun.
on March 21, 2003
First, let me say that this version of "Dracula" is the first film adaptation to do justice to the novel. It is strikingly shot and directed with an almost operatic style. It draws the viewer in and does not let go.
Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins absolutely chew up the scenery. It's enough to make you think, "Bela Who?" The supporting cast is also superb (I especially liked Tom Waits as the demented Renfield).
Then there are Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. Sometimes, unexpected casting can yield unexpected rewards (Tom Cruise in "Born on the Fourth of July" comes to mind). This, sadly, was not one of those times. Ryder seems uneasy in the role, like she never quite found her groove. Reeves, on the other hand, was an all-out distraction. First, he doesn't sound British; he sounds congested. Coming, as it did, only a year after Kevin Costner's now-you-hear-it-now-you-don't accent in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", this was a glaring flaw. His manner, in places, actually made me think he was having another excellent adventure. It just doesn't work.
But back to the good stuff. Gary Oldman's Dracula is mesmerizing. This one deserved an Academy Award, in my opinion. And Anthony Hopkins' Van Helsing is another scene-stealing turn for this enormously gifted actor. The film would be worth the price for these performances alone.
Francis Ford Coppola's direction gives the whole film a foreboding quality that never seems forced. He has made the definitive Dracula movie. It is too bad about the miscasting, though.
A highly recommended film that could have been just a little bit better.
on March 7, 2003
The acting and effects in this film were very well done and the story was deeper than the shallowness of horror as it recognized that all have their motives. It was, despite the critisism of some of the nay sayers, very faithfull to the book in many ways ( the vampire being abroad in day light, the facination for the modern, etc). The only real point of divergence from the book was the love story added. Many have complained that the Dracula of the novel was an heartless unfeeling monster not the gentle mis-understood lover in the film. While this analysis has textual merit, the film was certainly within the relm of legitamate interpretation. The novel was in the epistolary form, each section being only a letter, diary entery, recording, etc of a specific characters recounting of events. There was no omniscient narrator, to tell us how dracula viewed things. The only examination of dracula in the epistolary form was, per-force, that of those who were bent on his destruction and would tend to view him as a monster, and from Mina, who might understandably leave out some detail. Thus, while this was probably not what the author intended, there is actually plenty of room in the text to contain such an interpretation.
Also the complaints about the nudity and so on are misplaced when one considers that, with even a tighter eye on the text and sociolgical background, a huge part of the "evil" of dracula was the symbolic sexulaity verboten at the time it was published. The wontonness/nudity of dracula's "wives" was ther very symbol of evil at the time. In addition the films focus on the lush sexuality of Lucy and the more restrainted, but perhaps just under the surface sexuality of Mina would mark them as easy tagets for the devil of the time. Any discomfort we as veiwer feel about the nudity, sexuality, etc, indicates that the film/novel is makeing its point.
The interseting thing that I have not seen addressed by most reviewers relating to the film is the nature of faith. In the film Dracula basically become what he was becuase of the injustice of God againt him. He fought to protect christiandom from invation, he was rewarded with his love dead and, apparently, damned. He become what he is becuase he rejects God. We don't all have the paitence of Job, in this film even after failing at his test of faith, it is implied that he can still be reconciled with God through love and the triumph over fear.
While this film looks beyond the book it never contradicts it and it tells a story that has levels of meaning that the text does not contain. If I have to choose between a fun book or a thoughtfull and fun, meaningful film, I will take the film.