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Bram Stoker's Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel, reinterpeted as a Gothic romance.

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Still One Of My Favorites

  • Nov 8, 2004
Rating:
+3
I was a junior in high school when this film first came out. I went with one of my friends on one of the coldest Louisiana evenings of that year. That cold atmosphere, along with the dark, damp and aging cinema that I saw the film in made "Bram Stoker's Dracula" one of my favorite films of all time. It's been awhile since I read the book, but I think the film follows the pages of Stoker's novel reasonably close, with a couple of adjustments in characters and in sequences(as is the usual for books-to-the-big-screen).

One thing that I loved about this film is that it makes a decent attempt at connecting the story of Vlad Tepestt with that of Stoker's beloved vampire. The opening sequence with Gary Oldman going to war and then coming home only to find his love to be dead was a great addition to the tale. The sequence where Oldman denounces God was, to me, one of the most uncomfortable moments in film history. God just isn't someone to mess with, but Oldman does it in convincing, over-the-top fashion.

Oldman's performance is one of the best in this movie. Sir Anthony Hopkins does well with Van Helsing. His eccentric, out-there portrayal of the good doctor reminded me of another far out physician--Doctor Who(most notably Tom Baker's version of Who). Winonna Ryder is sufficient as Mina, though her portrayal didn't come across as anything worth giving up your soul and becoming a condemned immortal for. The three suitors of Lucy, played by Cary Elwes, Richard E. Grant and Bill Campbell were decently played. Grant is perhaps the best, though his character is given more depth than the other two. Campbell's performance came across as a little too stereotypical as the cowboy from Texas, but he sufficed. Elwes, much like Keanu Reeves' Jonathan Harker, played his role in a stiff manner. Reeves was okay, but I just kept waiting for him to go into "Bill and Ted" mode. The rest of the cast was pretty good, especially Sadie Frost, who played Lucy Westenra. She was devilishly dirty. She was the perfect foil to Mina's wholesome looks and thoughts. Ms. Frost was every bad man's fantasy in this flick.

The movie was a marvel to look at. The beautiful, gothic air about the entire film made me look beyond some of the less than stellar acting performances. Some of the scenes were downright chilling, and the numerous beasts that Oldman took the form of were vile to look at. The opening sequence, though shot in a silhouette style, showed great carnage as Vlad the Impaler took on his enemies. The huge castle on a cliff, the carriage driver who picks up Harker, even the streets of London, all added to the atmosphere of this movie. You also get to see two worlds at once in this movie. One world, the cold, uncivilized world of savages(Dracula's Transylvania), and another, London on the brink of a new century. It gives you the sense that an age is coming to an end and with it, the legends and myths of the old world.

While not a complete masterpiece, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is a wonder to view. It does take some liberties with the original novel if I remember correctly, but they don't take away from the overall story. I would suggest you read the book, though, because it is better than this movie, or any other vampire film for that matter.

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October 18, 2010
I thought Tom Waits was excellent in this film
 
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More Bram Stoker's Dracula reviews
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2010
my favorite
review by . December 23, 2008
Poster
Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film, Bram Stoker's Dracula, is a lavish, visually stunning treatment of the Dracula tale. The film features exquisite production design, startling special effects, and one of the best film scores that I've heard in a long time. But the film, which had so much potential, is deeply flawed. Altogether Bram Stoker's Dracula suffers from an excessive amount of visual stimuli, which takes priority over characterization and acting. Much of the cast gives either flat, unconvincing …
review by . October 26, 2008
Bram Stoker's Dracula
In an exercise of cosmic madness, the essence of vampire lore is born with Count Dracula and his centuries-long yearning for the deceased Mina, an erotic love story lost in a netherworld of dreamless musings.   In this sensual feast of images, saturated with thick, red blood, an epic struggle is waged, a battle for eternity. Count Dracula purchases real estate in Victorian London, transferring crates of Transylvanian earth, where he will rest by day, pursuing the reincarnated Mina (Winona …
review by . July 07, 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 …
review by . August 31, 2000
Pros: a pleasant retelling of his oldie     Cons: ..     THE PLAYERS:   Dracul - Gary Oldman   Elisabeta/Mina - Winona Ryder   Jonathan Harker - Keanu Reeves   Van Helsing - Anthony Hopkins      In a twist to this timeless tale, we are finally given a peek into the background and lifestyle of Count Dracul, played remarkably well by Gary Oldman. In his life (former life, first life?) Dracul is the …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #30
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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