Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Dracula Adaptations | Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Who's in it?: Gary Oldman (Air Force One, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Batman Begins), Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Alien Resurrection, Stranger Things), Anthony Hopkins (Magic, The Silence of the Lambs, Thor), Keanu Reeves (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Point Break, John Wick), Richard E Grant (The Age of Innocence, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Logan), Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Kiss the Girls), Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer), and Tom Waits (The Dead Don't Die).
What's it about?: Francis Ford Coppola attempts a faithful adaptation and fails spectacularly.
How is it?: It bugs me more than it should that this is called Bram Stoker's Dracula, because it really, really isn't. It gets the characters and their relationships to each other right and the casting is exactly correct, at least visually. When I picture Mina, I imagine Winona Ryder. Keanu Reeves makes a very good-looking Harker. And I have much respect for including the one and only faithful version of Quincey Morris (Campbell), a great, cool character in the novel, but one who's either dropped or merged with Arthur Holmwood in other versions.
Another positive thing is just how visually inventive and gorgeous the film is. To distraction, in some parts, but I appreciate the thought and artistry that went into the film's look and visual language.
But what I absolutely can't get over is the way the film makes Mina a consensual participant in an actual romance with Dracula. I hate that more and more with every viewing. There's at least one other version where Dracula believes that Mina is the reincarnation of his wife, but that's not what bothers me. It's that she acknowledges it and embraces it. The "Love Never Dies" tagline is shameful. Coppola's Dracula owes more to Anne Rice than Bram Stoker.
And that's not even getting into Van Helsing's (Hopkins) humping Quincey's leg. There are so many weird, unexplainable choices in this film and it kills me that the title presumes to herald it as Stoker's vision brought to the screen. The fact that I do keep rewatching it is a testament to its look and mood and Quincey Morris.
Rating: Two out of five Minas.