Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dracula Untold (Dracula: Year Zero)

 Released Year: 2014
Directed by Gary Shore

Casted by:
Luke Evans as Vlad III Țepeș
Sarah Gadon as Mirena / Mina Murray
Dominic Cooper as Mehmed II
Art Parkinson as Ingeras
Charles Dance as Master Vampir
In the Middle Ages, Vlad the Impaler is the prince of Wallachia and Transylvania. As a child, he was a princely hostage of the Ottoman Empire and trained to be a soldier in the Sultan's elite Janissary corp, where he became their most feared warrior, nicknamed the Impaler, after slaughtering thousands. Eventually sickened by his acts, he put aside his past and returned to rule his domains in peace. One day in the forest, Vlad and his soldiers discover a helmet in a stream, fearing that a Ottoman scouting party is preparing the way for invasion. They follow the stream to a high mountain cave called Broke Tooth Mountain. Upon entering the cave, they discover the ground of the cave is carpeted in crushed bone, before they are attacked in the dark by an unknown creature. While his men are killed, Vlad cuts the creature of the cave with his sword before being thrown to the ground. The blood on the sword he used to cut the creature dissolves when exposed to sunlight, and the creature does not pursue Vlad due to sunlight at the mouth of the cave. Returning to his castle, Vlad finds out from a local monk that the creature is a vampire, once a man who summoned a demon from the depths of hell and made a pact with it for dark powers before being tricked by the demon and cursed to remain in the cave forever until he is released by someone who has seen him, escapes, and returns to the cave a second time. The person is welcome to share his power in exchange for the freedom to escape the cave.

The next day, as Vlad celebrates Easter with his wife Mirena, his son Ingeras, and his subjects, an Ottoman contingent arrives unexpectedly at the castle. Vlad offers them the usual tribute payment of silver coins, but the emissary notes that a battalion of Ottoman scouts has gone missing, implying that Vlad has had them killed. Vlad professes that he had not killed them. The emissary demands an additional tribute of 1,000 boys to be trained as Janissaries, through the devşirme system. Vlad refuses, but his army is small and no match for the Turks. He approaches the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II to convince him by offering himself in place of the boys, but the Sultan refuses, and demands Vlad's son in addition. The sultan sends the emissary to bring Vlad's son. Vlad has an argument with his wife, as he is sending his son to meet the emissary and some Ottoman soldiers who are waiting for him to present his son. Vlad tells his wife to trust him before leaving his wife and son and going to meet the emissary and the soldiers alone. He disarms but his son, afraid for him, runs to him holding his hand. Telling his father that he is ready to join the sultan's army. As Vlad approaches the Turks the emissary ,smiling, tells Vlad that he thought there would be some kind of difficulty. Vlad tells his son to run back to his mom, then takes the emissary's sword and kills him and his small entourage of soldiers.

In desperation, Vlad returns to the Broke Tooth Mountain cave to seek help from the vampire. Once inside, the vampire starts running around Vlad with speed. Vlad draws his sword and the vampire appears in front him, frightening him. The vampire asked Vlad why he returned. Vlad replies by saying he needs the power of the vampire so that he can defeat the Ottoman army. The vampire tells him there are consequences. The vampire offers him some of his blood, which will temporarily give Vlad the powers of a vampire. If he resists the intense urge to drink human blood for three days, he will turn back into a human. Otherwise, he will remain a vampire forever, and will one day be called upon to help his maker. Vlad accepts the offer and drinks the vampire's blood.

Waking up in the forest afterwards, Vlad discovers he has been granted heightened senses, increased strength, and the ability to transform into a flock of bats, but his skin slowly burns in direct sunlight. When he returns to Castle Dracula, the Ottoman army attacks, but Vlad single-handedly kills them all. He then sends most of the castle's subjects to Cozia Monastery, which is situated on the edge of a mountain. During the journey, Mirena learns of Vlad's curse, but accepts that he will regain his mortality once the Ottomans are defeated. A Romani named Shkelgim, who knows Vlad is a vampire, proclaims himself as his servant and offers his own blood, but Vlad resists. As they near the monastery, the Valahs are ambushed by Ottoman soldiers, and while Vlad and his men successfully repel them, Vlad's sudden increased strength arouses suspicion among his subjects. The next day at the monastery, a monk learns of the curse and leads the the prince's subjects to turn on Vlad, trapping him in a burning building. Black smoke blocks out the sun, allowing an outraged Vlad to escape the fire, and he angrily reveals that he became a vampire for the sole purpose of protecting his people from the Ottoman suzerainty.

That night, the Ottoman army marches on the monastery. Vlad commands an enormous swarm of bats to repel them; however, the soldiers are actually a decoy force, allowing a handful of Turks to infiltrate the monastery and kidnap Ingeras. Mirena tries to defend her son, and falls from the edge of the monastery wall. Dying, Mirena pleads with Vlad to drink her blood before the sun rises to give him the strength to save their son. Vlad reluctantly drinks her blood, triggering his final transformation into a full-blooded vampire and granting him even greater powers. Vlad returns to the monastery and turns a small group of survivors into vampires as well. At the Ottoman camp, Mehmed prepares for a massive invasion of Europe through the Balkans and Hungary. Vlad's vampires arrive and massacre the soldiers, while Vlad himself goes after Mehmed, who is holding Ingeras captive. Aware that vampires are weakened by silver, Mehmed has lined the floor of his tent with silver coins and fights Vlad with a silver sword. He overpowers Vlad and prepares to impale his heart with a wooden stake, but Vlad turns into a flock of bats and evades him. Taking the name "Dracula, Son of the Devil", he kills Mehmed and drinks his blood.

As they leave Mehmed's tent, Dracula and Ingeras are confronted by the other vampires, who demand that his son be killed because he is human. The monk who had previously led the Valahs against Vlad appears and keeps the vampires at bay with the Christian Cross. Dracula orders the monk to take Ingeras away, then uses his power to clear the black clouds in the sky. The sunlight burns the vampires into dust, while Dracula collapses into a charred corpse. With Europe saved from invasion, Ingeras is crowned the new Prince of Wallachia, and Vlad the Impaler is presumed dead. However, Shkelgim secretly takes Dracula into the shadows and revives him with his blood.

In the present day, Vlad meets a woman named Mina, who strikingly resembles Mirena, in the streets of a modern city, and they have a conversation about a line of poetry they have in common. The vampire who cursed Vlad watches them from afar, and anticipates what he has planned for Dracula in the future, saying, "Let the games begin."
 L² Scored: 8.5/10

L² Comment:
Vampire/Dracula kinda movie has always been my favorite genre types. Luke Evans surprise me in this movie with his eyes. Love how he stares at the camera, as if he was connecting with me thru it ~ lol... Overall the storyline is great, but of course, we know that this is not how dracula was born in the beginning, but well, who cares? Its a myth and there might not be any dracula in this world at all~

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