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Witness the origin story of one of legend's most captivating figures in the action-adventure, Dracula Untold. The year is 1462 and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, the prince of Wallachia (Luke Evans, Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit series). But when Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper, Captain America: The First Avenger) demands 1,000 of Wallachia's boys – including Vlad's own son – become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must enter into a Faustian bargain to save his family and his people. He gains the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star, and the power to crush his enemies. In exchange, he's inflicted with an insatiable thirst for human blood that could force him into a life of darkness and destroy all that he holds dear.
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It moved fast, never dragged, and I was riveted to the screen for every minute. It mostly had to do with Luke Evans. I wasn’t familiar with him at all and when I watched the trailer I wasn’t particularly taken with his looks, but he is mesmerizing on screen as Dracula. He has an intelligence about him, with lots going on behind those dark eyes. He perfectly conveyed suffering, tenderness and, yes, a monstrous dark side.
The plot wins points for creativity and remaking Dracula as a hero. The writers incorporated enough of real historical events (the Ottoman Empire, the Janissaries being composed of non-Turks, and Vlad the Impaler having been a royal hostage in his youth) to give this untold story some solid heft. There are some plot twists that made me scratch my head and the fact that all the Transylvanians had British accents, but I can forgive most anything in a movie if it entertains the heck out of me – and this one definitely did.
I can’t not talk about the special effects – AMAZING! I was breathless with awe. This is the type of movie that demands to be seen on a big screen. This is what I want when I pay $11 at the box office.
Now about that intriguing ending … I smell a sequel. Pretty please!!!!
As Vlad III rules in peace at the beginning of the movie, Sultan Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper) asks Vlad for a thousand of his boys, eventually including even his son Ingeras (Art Parkinson), to serve the Ottoman Empire, instead of just the usual tribute. Vlad goes to Broke Tooth Mountain to seek the strength of the Master Vampire (Charles Dance) in order to resist the Turks. As the suspicious Vampire has his hand on Vlad's throat, Vlad says, "Sometimes the world no longer needs a hero. Sometimes what it needs ... is a monster." This makes me think of something I once heard a priest say on a television show: "At a time when the world had stopped believing in the Devil, Hitler came into the world and showed it the face of the Devil." - Father George William Rutler
Back to the movie, where if Vlad drinks some of the Vampire's blood, he will gain the Vampire's strengths to take on the Turks. But if he subsequently drinks someone's blood before the third day, he will become a Vampire. If he doesn't, he will resurrect, so to speak, to his former self. Vlad drinks, making a pact, a deal with the son of the Devil, so to speak. With the Vampire's strength, Vlad has the ability to take on "a thousand" man army by himself. (Someone younger needs to be able to do that, Sly, Arnold, Bruce, and Liam are getting up there.) 3 and 1000 are important numbers in the Bible. Christ rose on the third day and His servants will reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4; 7:4-8).
As the soldiers of the Ottoman Empire are coming for Vlad, a group of his subjects are on their knees in prayer to which Vlad responds: "The Turks are coming. Prayers will not defend these walls. Get these men off their knees." Why not have the women, children, and men who can't fight continue their prayers while Vlad and his soldiers prepare to fight (and they should be praying too)? The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on the Catholic Church calendar commemorates how the Christians turned back the Muslims at Lepanto to save Europe while the Pope prayed the Rosary.
But Vlad subsequently makes his own prayer in a church: "Lord, if you've not yet forsaken me, grant me your strength that I may resist the darkness. Allow me to endure this test one more day. ... I beg you. ... Please."
This made me think of some Scriptures: "Then he told them a parable about the need for them to pray always without losing heart ... 'Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. ... Sufficient for a day is its own evil. ... My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.'" - Luke 18:1; Matthew 26:41; 6:34; 2 Cor 12:9
The acting in "Dracula Untold" was excellent. Luke Evans definitely has a strong presence. The movie is definitely a strong PG-13, meaning the bloodletting, war scenes, and a bit of sensuality are inappropriate for pre-teens and the squeamish. I'll end with a quote I recently came across that seems to fit here:
"The difference between the City of God and the City of Man is like the difference between Jesus Christ and Dracula. Jesus Christ shed his blood so that you can have eternal life. Dracula sheds your blood so that he can have eternal life." - E. Michael Jones
("The Culture Wars come to India", Culture Wars magazine, March 2015, P.27)
Scary, action-packed, great special effects, and romance. Love it!
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