Monday, October 28, 2019
Dracula Adaptations | Dracula (2006)
Who's in it?: Marc Warren (Wanted), David Suchet (Agatha Christie's Poirot), Stephanie Leonidas (Mirrormask, American Gothic), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, The Guest, The Man Who Invented Christmas) Sophia Myles (Underworld, Thunderbirds), Rafe Spall (Prometheus, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Men in Black: International), and Tom Burke (The Musketeers).
What's it about?: The BBC creates the craziest version of the story yet.
How is it?: Apparently, I don't like any Dracula adaptation after 1979. This one weirdly inserts an English devil-cult that's actively working to bring Dracula (Warren) to London. They sent Van Helsing (Suchet) as their first unwitting agent, but when Dracula decided to keep him captive, they needed a new plan. Fortunately (for them), Arthur Holmwood (Stevens) is persuaded to help in exchange for their promise to use Dracula's powers to cure him of syphilis. He contracted it as an infant from his parents, but the revelation that he has it makes it impossible for him to marry Lucy (Myles) until he's healed.
When Arthur meets Lucy's friend Mina (Leonidas) and her fiancé, Jonathan Harker (Spall), Arthur hires Harker to go to Transylvania and bring back Dracula, knowing full well that there's danger involved. Harker goes missing, but Van Helsing escapes and follows Dracula back to England where he teams up with Mina to defeat the vampire. Helping them is Dr Seward (Burke), a friend of Arthur and Lucy who also happens to be in love with her.
The cast is really really good, especially Sophia Myles and David Suchet. Lucy is probably closest out of any adaptation to whom I imagine in Stoker's novel; updated slightly so that she has more intelligence and power. She's beautiful and sweet, but she knows that Seward wants more from their relationship than she wants to give and she handles that gently and firmly. As she does Holmwood's determination to keep postponing their wedding.
Suchet is a determined, half-mad Van Helsing; a whirlwind of a character who has all the passion and drive to defeat Dracula, but doesn't always know the best path to achieve that goal. I wish he was in a better version, but sadly, in spite of these bright spots, the plot is so mixed up that it's not at all Stoker's story, even in spirit.
Rating: Two out of five Minas.