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gorgeous production design; amazing performance from Gary Oldman; fantastic musical score; great support from the likes of Winona Ryder and Sadie Frost and Richard E Grant and Cary Elwes; the best screen Renfield EVER as performed by Tom Waits; and beautiful cinematography, all add up to make a fantastic film (that even manages to overcome Keanu Reeves wooden performance, absurd delivery and ridiculous accent!) Not perfect - but when it's good, it's incredible!
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on 23 February 2018
Superb and gripping movie - Gary Oldman's take on Dracula is great combination of macrabre/sinister and an almost slightly gothic parody of evil. Thought Keanu Reeves was to put it mildly a bit flat in this though, and that surely on arriving in Transylvania and meeting the very eccentric Count (surreal hairdo or what!) alarm bells would have immediately starting ringing in his mind.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 December 2007
Originally intended as a TV production by Michael Apted, who stayed on as executive producer, Coppola's film may be a long way from his best work but at least is a welcome throwback to the days when big pictures took risks. Most of these are in terms of style, but for once this does not mean the designer gloss of the mainstream blockbuster. This at least gives the punter something different.

Filmed entirely in a studio, there are some quite wonderful visuals. Bite marks become the eyes of a wolf, a peacock's 'eye' becomes a train tunnel, a train in the extreme background casts a shadow over a journal superimposed over the foreground while unseen eyes edge into frame on the blood red sky, all to the accompaniment of Wojciech Kilar's stridently foreboding score.

Stoker's novel is told in the form of various letters and journals and Coppola's interest in toys and turn of the century technology (not for nothing did he call his company American Zoetrope) finds expression in the various forms used by the main characters to record events - journal, typewriter, phonogram - and with the inclusion of an early Kinematograph (introduced by a street scene shot in the style of an early Lumiere camera at a jerky 18fps). Indeed, the whole film owes much to early cinema with its use of fades to iris and expressionistic touches. The castle is straight out of Cocteau with the odd nod to Caligari and Escher in its impossible gravity. The Count's shadow has a life of its own and betrays his true intentions. Revelling in it's sense of the purely cinematic, many of the effects seem to be designed not to create the illusion of reality but the illusion of illusion.

Venereal diseases, diseases of the blood and dark desires are all interwoven with rather more skill than usual for the tale. Yet despite some very sexual blood sucking and one of the most beautiful love themes of the past decade that harks back to the days when Hollywood composers came from Hungary it is less effective as a love story than the under-rated Frank Langella version. Nonetheless, those sexual fantasies on display perfectly reflect those of the period it is set in, a cross between the European brothel and dirty postcards of the turn of the century, while the film manages to touch on the fear of cultural contamination by foreigners implicit in the book.

Gary Oldman impresses as the Count in his various guises of medieval hero, embittered old man and mittle European romantic, a man who can throw a baby to his brides to feed on or turn tears to a diamond. There is something about Van Helsing that tends to bring out the worst in actors, and if Anthony Hopkins isn't as dizzyingly awful as Laurence Olivier he still veers sharply towards ham. Richard E. Grant (not Renfield, surprisingly enough) is comparatively restrained, although in his case that simply means barking rather than baying at the moon, while Tom Waits is surprisingly good as Renfield and Keanu Reeves' much mocked accent is quite acceptable, as is his performance as Harker (though quite how Winona Ryder's atrocious Anglish Arksunt got a free pass is beyond me).

Fascinating, occasionally frustrating and frequently very striking, Coppola may sometimes lose sight of the narrative with his stylistic thrust, but this doesn't disgrace itself when compared with Lugosi, Lee (1958 version) and Nosferatu.

While the single-disc edition doesn't offer as much in the way of extras as the 2-disc edition (which reportedly has regraded the colour in some scenes), it's not completely free of extras. As well as the trailer and a costume design gallery, a rather sanitized view of Coppola at work is offered in the accompanying documentary, Bloodlines, with none of the drug abuse, madness and rampant egotism so prevalent in Hearts of Darkness. Instead, it's a straightforward promotional short with a heavy emphasis on the pre-production rehearsals. We do get Gary Oldman singing Sinatra songs and otherwise behaving oddly at almost every opportunity and Anthony Hopkins does point out that he thinks rehearsal is pointless in films, but this is more interested in putting bums on seats than showing you what really happens on a movie set. Gore fans will be disappointed to note that the special effects side gets short shrift here, but it is well put-together.
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on 15 January 2018
Gary Oldman is the best Dracula ever. This is also the best Dracula version. The music the atmosphere. Sit down with a cheeky red wine dim the lights press play and make sure u can't be disturbed and enjoy because
Love Never Dies.
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on 2 April 2018
The best ever Dracula movie; superb masterpiece by one of the greatest masters of directing movies; great cast, great performances.
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on 7 February 2011
be you vampire who yearns for a lost love or spectator who loved the movie 20 years ago and now finds it a bit comic. Indubitably it is a most romantic take on Stoker's antihero, due in no small part to the excellent score from Wojciech Kilar, as well as Gary Oldman's uniquely passionate and emotional Dracula. I'd say the others are selectively inspired by Oldman's assumption of the role, Keanu and Winona making the best of things, Hopkins going over the top. I s'pose a story about people biting each other is bound to have its comic side. Coppola's script could have used some tweaking but he does give the cinematography the blurred edges of dream and fireside fable. The outcome is more erotic than scary, with a hint of Lloyd Webber about it. Hammer did the predatory Dracula better and the colder reality of the story's locations is better realised by the BBC's version with Louis Jordan.

A must see for Oldman's Dracula. Or Drac. Or D.
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on 3 December 2017
Movie is a must watch and just as good as I remember it, but the encoding is not HD... this movie needs a remaster or a better encoding at least...
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on 14 March 2015
Too long, too hammy, and marred inescapably by the worst performance by Keanu Reeves in anything he's ever done - his efforts to speak with an English accent make him sound as though he's talking with a mouthful of thistles. The characterization of Dracula is interestingly done, but several hundred miles adrift of the book - at least it leaves room for the definitive performance, which this isn't.
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on 3 February 2015
Shame that the most faithful adaptation of Stoker's great novel has the weakest Dracula. Coppola's film is ravishing to look at and conjures up a neo-gothic treat and Anthony Hopkins hams it up like all get-out as Van Helsing, but the idea of a romantic Prince wandering eternity looking for peace doesn't work. There were TV Draculas who were just as noble - Louis Jourdan, Jack Palance - and could still scare the beejesus out of you, but Oldman never does. However, it's a magnificent adaptation of a brilliant novel and quite fabulous!
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on 24 May 2018
Absolutely my favorite among the myriad of Dracula movies.Excellently directed, with a very good cast. I love it.
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