Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Dracula 2000 (2000)
Who's in it?: Gerard Butler (300, RocknRolla), Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), Justine Waddell (Mansfield Park), Jonny Lee Miller (Dead Man's Walk, Mansfield Park, Eli Stone, Elementary), Vitamin C (The WB's Superstar USA), Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager), Omar Epps (Major League II, House), Danny Masterson (That '70s Show), and Nathan Fillion (Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Castle).
What's it about?: A hundred years after the events of Bram Stoker's novel, Van Helsing (Plummer) and a freshly resurrected Dracula (Butler) search for the woman (Waddell) who is the legacy of them both.
How is it?: Much much stronger than a movie called Dracula 2000 has a right to be. I love how it makes itself a sequel to the novel while expanding the mythology in cool ways. I say that it makes itself a sequel to the novel - and it mostly works that way - but there is a weird flashback to Dracula's defeat in the 19th Century that doesn't exactly match up with the way Stoker described it. It's still a cool defeat though. And Van Helsing's method of prolonging his own life into the 21st Century makes sense.
I also love the explanation of Dracula's origin and how it ties together and justifies some of his classic weaknesses. It's a clever bit of speculation and world-building that reminds me of some of the stuff White Wolf Publishing used to do with vampire history in their Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing game, tying vampires back to the Mark of Cain in Genesis. Without going into detail, Dracula 2000 has its head in a similar place.
The cast is pretty great, too. Plummer is the tired, but determined Van Helsing. Miller is his tough, but sympathetic protégé. Butler plays a sultry and dangerous Dracula. And Waddell is the frightened and confused woman who has to figure out how she's connected to Dracula and Van Helsing, then rise to the challenge of finding her own place in the story. Add to all that cool, smaller roles for Esposito, Epps, Masterson, Ryan, and Fillion and you've got a super watchable story.
One thing keeps me from loving it more, though. Mary is obviously a Mina-like character, which is fine, but her roommate's (Vitamin C) name is Lucy Westerman. That's a tough coincidence to swallow considering that Lucy Westernra is also a person who existed in this world. It's a small thing, but it pulled me out of the story when her name was revealed.
Rating: Four out of five Marys