Why Coppola’s Dracula Sucked

There is a lot right with the Francis Ford Coppola version of Dracula. Unfortunately there is a lot wrong with it too.

In fact, with the outstanding production design, brilliant old school film techniques, gothic soundtrack and wonderful lead actor, it is very hard to imagine how it turned out to be highly mediocre. And yet it did.

The film draws no blood from the audience, in fact Mel Brooks’ Dracula : Dead and Loving It from 1995 can be said to be a better and far more entertaining version of this story.

But why? There are three main reasons.

Let’s start with Keanu Reeves. Why on earth he was ever considered for any part in this film is a mystery. He shouldn’t even have been allowed to go and see it, never mind be in it. He is dreadful. He accent seems to travel more than he does – frequently jumping between holiday homes in England and California and enjoying the latter so much it remains there, occasionally sending postcards and pictures of itself having a nice time shitting all over the film we are watching. It is a performance of note for all the wrong reasons and one that sadly eclipses the whole film. When he appears on screen all credibility runs for the hills, as if sunlight has been poured onto its face or a crucifix has been waved in its direction.

This is a real shame as from the moment Gary Oldman begins his virtuoso performance you feel like saying to him, “Gary, honestly, don’t bother, the film’s ruined. Chill out”.

Keanu is not the only one to blame, Anthony Hopkins is also in trouble, but for the opposite offence. Those aware of Hopkins’ work will know that if there is one thing that Hopkins loves, it’s over acting, hamming it up and chewing on the scenery. All he needs is a good director to coral him and keep him subtle to get the best out of him. However, after being bullied by Brando on Apocalypse Now, it seems Coppola no longer had the time or nor inclination to bother. Hopkins puts on his best pair of vampire teeth and begins to start eating the scenery as soon as you see him, seemingly with the hunger of a thousand men. He shouts when he should speak and makes Van Helsing seem as though he has just been banished from a nut house for being too mad.

The third culprit is the pacing and bloated feel of the whole film. It seems like it takes an age to get the the final third of the film and by the time you reach that point you are kind of hoping that Dracula eats everyone and lives happily ever after. Certainly when you see the band of good guys, lead by Keanu with hair tinged with grey and that constipated look on his face, you hope they all get eaten alive. It is such a shame that the end is a mere whimper instead of a bang and that we don’t get the ending the opening of the film richly deserves.

At the end of the day, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a very mediocre film with stunning visuals, music and production design. That is why it bites and sucks.

Originally posted 2012-04-02 19:10:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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