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 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 December 8, 2002
However in this case the film was not his to carry, only to support. This movie was primarily Gary Oldman's, and then Anthony Hopkins. There were a host of recognizable names in supporting roles, but none matched the two that I have mentioned. Francis Ford Coppola's version of this character that is one of the most filmed in history, is lavish for the eyes, slick with effects, even when a bit too clever for its own good. Fortunately the supporting parts are thankfully brief and even Winona Ryder who has a large role, only is appealing at the end as she become Satan's Mistress. Until this latter point she plays an insipid young girl with a tart for a best friend, and it is a contest between her and Reeves as to who has the most miserable English accent.
It is telling that while the film did win 3 Academy Awards in 1992, none were for acting, directing, or any other of the major categories. It did win best costume design, best make-up, and best sound effects editing, and it is appropriate, for the film is fun for the eye and ear. Coppola gets too clever by half at times, when eyes repeatedly appear in clouds, and some special effects are either intentionally obvious for a reason, or are just simply badly done. Some sequences are filmed in a rapid stuttering progression that you will either find interesting or vertigo inducing; I doubt you will find the technique necessary or effective.
The reason for the 4 stars is primarily for Gary Oldman who has placed a Count on the screen that will stand with those that have come before and those that will follow him. Hopkins is also very good, especially for the part he has, and the dialogue he was given to work with. He is an actor that can make the most of what he has, and more than other actors would dare attempt.
At 130 minutes it is not brief, and a few minutes shorn would not have hurt the film. At the very least we would have seen Keanu's hair change color with less frequency, and more continuity. I watched the film on a 17 inch LCD screen, at a resolution of 1280x1024 with 32 bit color. In this transfer the DVD was not up to the task. There is a new "superbit" version of the film which encodes with a higher bit rate process that would probably allow the film to be visually more appealing, and to make better use of the technology that is standard today, but was almost pure fantasy 11 years ago.
on October 17, 2002
This is a gothic love story of sorts, but is different in that it spans an amazing four hundred years.
In the beginning we encounter Prince Vlad who is leaving to battle the invading Turkish army. Leaving behind his beautiful, if somewhat emotionally fragile bride Elisabeta. When she receives a forged note telling her that her husband is dead, she flings herself into the river. Prince Vlad vows to avenge her death, by selling his soul to the Devil.
Forward four hundred years, Prince Vlad is still alive and kicking. He has hired a lawyer by the name of Jonathan Harker, who has left behind his fiancee Mina Murray. Prince Dracula sees her picture, realising that his beloved wife has returned, he imprisons Jonathan in his castle and travels to London to meet and woo Mina/Elisabeta.
Gary Oldman shone in the role of the tormented lovesick Count Dracula, he was dark, dangerous, mysterious and [...] on legs. Which made me wonder why Mina went through with her marriage to the bland and unromantic Jonathan even after she had met the Count. Winona Ryder was spectacular as the woman torn between the man she died loving four hundred years ago, and the man she's stuck with in this life. Anthony Hopkins gave some much needed wit and humour in the role of Dr. Van Helsing.
But don't be surprised if you find yourself barracking for the Count to woo Mina away from Jonathan, or for the Count to defeat Van Helsing, or praying that Mina will come to her senses and realise that she belongs with the Count.
Love comes but once in your life, but I guess it depends which life you can remember!
on March 9, 2002
Before 1992, Bram Stoker's chilling and masterfully written horror novel, "Dracula", had not been given the screen treatment it deserved. The Bela Lugosi version, while a fine film in its own right, was a far cry from what Stoker had in mind. The superb 1922 German made silent film, "Nosferatu", captured the mood of the book, but fell slightly short of being the definitive screen adaptation. Francis Ford Coppola succeeded with "Bram Stoker's Dracula".
Stylishly directed, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" packs quite a punch with delicious, eye-popping art direction that perfectly evokes the eerie atmosphere of Stoker's vision, Dracula's castle being the prime example. The cinematography, with its clever use of scenes dissolving into poetic montages, is just as impressive. The cast effectively brings the story's colorful characters to vibrant and vivid life: Gary Oldman is alternately frightening, seductive, and pitiable as the bloodthirsty Count; Winona Ryder is delicately charming as the ingenue, Mina Murray, the reincarnation of Dracula's tragically deceased love; Anthony Hopkins is witty and amusing as the eccentric vampire hunter, Professor Van Helsing; Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes and Bill Campbell also contribute crackerjack performances as a triumvirate of dashing vampire busters. Only Keanu Reeves is disappointing (although, it is excusable in a film this good) with his awkward portrayal of the protagonist, Jonathan Harker. He never does get that British accent right! The connection to the factual Romanian King, Vlad Dracula, while not in Stoker's book, made the film more interesting.
The only real drawback to "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is its explicit sensuality. With a more subtle use, it would have been an even better film.
"Bram Stoker's Dracula" is an atmospherically gothic visual feast that is not so much a horror story, but an allegory of man's darkest fears and desires, as well as a story of undying love. But, if you are not as intrepid as I am, I suggest you watch it in a brightly lit room with someone sitting close beside you!
on July 7, 2001
This is a fascinating movie, but not just for the reasons Coppola might have intended. It's a lushly shot, beautifully staged affair, oozing over-ripe, autumnal colours in obvious counterpoint to cool blues and bloodless hues asociated the cast of vampires. It is outwardly a fairly faithful rendering of Bram Stoker's novel, but in pretty much every other respect it puts a novel spin on the well worn story.
For one thing, it's not very scary; any horror is supplanted by the decadence and sexuality of the film. Coppola doesn't seem to care less about frightening the viewers; he seems much more interested devloping themes: for example, people and things spend A LOT of the film falling, and climbing back up again (I suppose this is sin and redemption) and there is a real feel of decadence and over-ripeness throughout. But it's never any more focussed than that - It's not clear exactly what he's getting at, other than just inverting the conventional wisdom.
The treatment of the good count is unusual; there's more than a sense that he's the victim in all of this - he's pegged out as having lost true love in tragic cirucmstances which, by operation of dastardly Christian law, inevitably pitted him against God and, by implication, the Great & Good.
But the film isn't consistent about this - on one hand Dracule is painted as a noble warrior defeating the (decadent) hoardes and re-taking Constantinople and cruelly being deprived of his one love, but then later, according to Van Helsing, he's Vlad the Impaler, who ritually murdered defenceless prisoners and drank their blood.
In any case the vamps definitely have the most fun: Gary Oldman has a whale of a time in the various iterations of the Dracula character (his Transylvanian accent is priceless) and Sadie Frost is sex on a stick as the doomed Lucy. Good guy Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, is as dreadful as you would expect - the man can't act, and his English accent, when he manages to hold it together, is surely one of the worst to ever have graced celluloid.
I don't think Coppola succeeds in making any grand statements, though he certainly tries. But the film works at pure entertainment level, so it doesn't really matter.