Another acting legend has passed on. Sir Christopher Lee, known …
Unlike Marvel, with its successful Tomb of Dracula series, DC never integrated a specific iteration of Dracula into their superhero universe. However, once the loosening of the Comics Code allowed for them, vampires of all different sorts certainly found their way into the pages of DC’s comics, but there was never a definitive Dracula that existed alongside Superman, Batman, and the rest. As such, the DC heroes have encountered a handful of different Dracula-esque characters through the years. Once such example can be found in 2002’s Superman #180.
Dracula Untold is one of those misfires that’s not even memorably or enjoyably poor, just a monotonous distraction for an admittedly brisk hour and a half. The revisionist Maleficient-like interpretation of Dr. Acula as a heroic figure just doesn’t work with material like this that’s so miserably solemn and lacking in any stirring entertainment value. Only in one brief part of the final act does the film gain some goofy spark, and it’s fittingly when the film actually embraces its horror roots as a fully vampire Vlad turns a bunch of his people and they all go sharp-toothed upon the Turk forces. Of course, that’s all for naught as Gary Shore’s feature debut goes back to neutering Dracula’s bite in making him the lone ‘good guy’ among his suddenly all evil people, and concluding with a likely far too optimistic franchise tease: ending a film with “Let the games begin” almost feels like mockery when there’s been so little incentive offered to come back and play.
Over the many years since the SNES and PSX had their day in the sun, their legacy and influence have still been felt with regular validity. Legend of Zelda games are still compared to SNES classic, A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy games are still measured by the stick of Final Fantasy VII, and exploratory action-platformers are leveled into a prestigious subgenre known as “metroidvania”.
NBC’s Dracula has been a tough show to love, or even like for that matter. One episode is effortless fun, another darkly intriguing, and the next unbearably frustrating. On one hand, lead Jonathan Rhys Meyers is delightfully fun and dark as Dracula/Grayson and supporting actors like Katie McGrath have been marvelous even when their plotlines are not. On the other hand, Dracula has never felt quite right. It’s just never really found its footing. At least that was the case until a few episodes ago, when it seemed to settle into a steady and entertaining pattern.
In its last few episodes Dracula has done what seemed impossible, especially after its meandering and somewhat disappointing first half season. The last three episodes have actually exceeded expectations, showing that things really aren’t as bad as they seemed. With its penultimate episode, “Four Roses”, Dracula has righted many of its early wrongs, starting with Grayson (the awesome Jonathan Rhys Meyers) declaring war on the Order.
Dracula is one of literature’s most enduring and adapted characters. What often sets each production apart is their ability to put a new (and believable) twist on the classic character. Expectations may be low going into any new version but the most surprising aspect of NBC’s take on Dracula is that it’s actually very good.