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Dracula Di Dario Argento
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Quando Johnathan Harker trova lavoro nella biblioteca del castello del conte Dracula, la sua giovane sposa Mina si mette in viaggio per raggiungerlo, e sosta a casa dell'amica Lucy. Qui scopre un paese sconvolto dalla barbara uccisione di una ragazza, attaccata da un lupo, e deve rimandare l'incontro col marito perché Lucy si ammala di una febbre inspiegabile fino a morirne. Dopo aver incontrato il conte ed essere stata sedotta dal suo straordinario potere di persuasione, Mina è sempre più sospettosa riguardo agli strani accadimenti del luogo e si affida all'unica persona che sembra sapere cosa fare: Abraham Van Helsing, esperto di vampiri. Per lui e per la sua famiglia, nei secoli, i libri sono sempre stati la cosa più importante: questo è ciò che Argento fa dire a Dracula, al suo primo incontro con Johnathan, e questo è il ponte che lancia con libro di Bram Stoker, allo stesso tempo tradendolo (nell'originale mister Harker è un agente incaricato di una transazione immobiliare) e però recuperandone i personaggi e parte della trama. Scegliendo di eliminare i tanti viaggi dei protagonisti letterari per concentrarsi su un unico luogo, il regista disegna un piccolo e riuscito universo di riferimento, tra il fiabesco (il bosco) e il western (la casa del sindaco, la taverna), sul quale domina, geograficamente e non solo, il gotico rappresentato dal castello.
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Argento's latest work, Dracula, official title Dracula 3D got killed in reviews, it currently has a 3.6 on IMDB, it's in the Ed Wood league. Now I am sorry I can't have Dario Argento in the Ed Wood category. There are some real positives to take from Argento's take on Dracula and some negatives, so let's break it down.
- The whole film has a nice gothic, Hammeresque look to it, the costume designs and settings really stand out.
- Thomas Kretschmann as Dracula is generally very good and a worthy vampire.
- Some gore effects are fantastic.
- Rutger Hauer is a bad ass Van Helsing killer
- The English dubbing is a real put off. It has always hindered Argento's films, but at least those were classics. Try and get an Italian only version with subtitles, which I believe would turn this movie into a four star one.
- The script overall is very 'flat', again maybe this is just a language difference?
- The CGI is awful, wish Argento didn't dwelve into it.
So really this is a balanced act. Dracula is neither great nor bad. It's entertaining enough- probably could have been better at 90 mins rather than 110.
The movie stars Asia Argento, and again daddy isn't afraid to shoot his daughter in love scenes or being washed naked by a woman. It does feel like an odd admittingly artistic relationship.
I need to talk about the praying mantis CGI moment, that has garnered almost legendary attention, as being one of the most awful CGI moments in movie history. First up that credit goes to Snake Plisskens 100ft wave in Escape From LA. Secondly, the mantis was a bad idea and does look silly, but it is there for less than ten seconds.
Rutger Hauer, he is someone I really like. His acting here reflects the film very much- It's not great but not bad, just subdued. I suppose he is getting old- but I liked his no holds barred way of doing things and the fact that he looks like a broken man who has arrived in town for one thing only.
Overall, I feel the fans and critics lashed out at Argento for making this, because they wanted him to fail, and ceased on any opportunity of him not making a masterpiece, and went gung ho. Yes Argento doesn't make great films anymore, but Dracula is a good decent horror film, that does its job. Don't go in with any expectations and you should enjoy this, especially if you like the early Hammer films.
Argento has always been an inconsistent director, but every few years he'll show some hints of his old mojo creeping back - the first half hour of Sleepless, his enjoyable TV giallo Do You Like Hitchcock? - to raise his admirers' hopes, only to plunge back to rock bottom with a turkey like The Card Player or Mother of Tears. Where once he could construct elaborate setpieces that were as ingenious and intoxicating as they were unlikely if you stopped to think about them, now he just seems to have settled into being a guy who points the camera at stuff every few years. Occasionally he'll move the camera, but he seems to have once again mislaid his ability to move the audience. Aside from the presence of Asia Argento, there's little to mark this out as one of his films, the dominant personality of the film being a TV homage to Hammer with added sex and violence but none of the genuine atmosphere or sporadic imagination.
As with his dismal Phantom of the Opera, it's a fairly liberal reinterpretation of the original that never leaves Transylvania (which at least this means this doesn't begin with a baby being adopted by rats in the sewers of Paris) but conjures up no atmosphere as it trudges along with little of interest to distract you. It's one interesting idea is that, far from a feared outsider, having paid off the locals' debts and built a schoolhouse, this Dracula is regarded as the saviour of the small town he secretly terrorises even though he's never seen to interact with it. But then Thomas Kretschman's Dracula, dressed like a very formal Victorian industrialist and at least trying to convey a sense of an ancient man in a young body, doesn't really interact much with anyone, being reduced to an occasional walk-on presence who enters scenes briefly through the magic of bad now-you-see-him, now-you-don't special effects that even Georges Melies probably thought were getting a bit stale when he was doing them, grabs a quick bite and departs. Occasionally he appears as a wolf, a swarm of flies or rodent or, in a laughably bad special effect worthy of Timbo Hines' infamous no-budget version of The War of the Worlds, a giant preying mantis, but you get the impression they're only waking him from his coffin to try to perk things up a bit before the next commercial break (it really does have a TV miniseries feel to it at times). The same rationale applies to the occasional bit of nudity, including a bath scene with the director's daughter, who once again demonstrates her amazing ability to spend so many years in the business while remaining uncorrupted by much in the way of acting talent.
Unax Ugalde makes a very odd Jonathan Harker in a performance that's like an early Christmas present to Keanu Reeves ("At last! They've someone else to take the piss out of!") and, when he eventually turns up in the last third of the film, Rutger Hauer makes a very old and very tired Van Helsing delivering; his; lines; as; if; there; were; a; semi-colon; between; each; word, but at least the very healthy Miriam Givanelli is easy on the eye as the Count's, er, niece, as is Marta Gastini as Mrs Harker. Also on the plus side, Kretschman has one good scene taking on a group of villagers having second thoughts about their pact with the Count, and, seen in 2D, much of talented veteran Suspiria cinematographer Luciano Tovoli's digital photography of the night time scenes and interiors is surprisingly good (even if the nightmare scene looks like bad 70s rock videos, the daytime forest scenes are in danger of looking overexposed and the train station scene just looks like there must be something wrong with your eyes). That's more than can be said for the dire CGi, which is down to the usual low 80s video game standards you expect in an Argento film, or the presumably unintentionally comic use of a Theramin in Claudio Simonetti's disappointing score that at times threatens to turn into Toto's main title theme from Dune. There are undoubtedly plenty of worse Dracula films out there, but that doesn't make this one particularly worth watching for all but the increasingly dwindling bad of Argento completists.
The Italian Blu-ray release offers the film in English and Italian (the latter without English subtitles), with only cast and crew interviews - some (a distracted and uninterested Kretschman, Hauer) in English, others unsubtitled Italian - and a poor music video as extras.
without question his worst effort (beating even the dreadful THE CARD PLAYER),and probably the worst filmic
version of the famous tale I have ever seen..woeful script,appalling CGI backdrops and effects,Rutger Hauer turning up for
the last 20 minutes to phone in a terrible reading of Van Helsing,what can I say except - avoid!? The days of SUSPIRIA and INFERNO are a long way behind Dario now!
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