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Old September 11 2009, 11:27 PM   #27
john titor
Location: the universe
Re: Bram Stoker's Dracula - Yea or Nay?

Thrall wrote: View Post
The book was terrible, it was just a hokey chase story with the vampire mythos plugged in, it was the first to popularize ancient legends using a semi decent plot format.
Actually it was a story about parallels. Old Europe vs New Europe. Technology vs Mysticism. Science vs Superstition. Purity vs Sin. Faith vs Doubt. Feminism vs Female Oppression. Good vs Evil. The Enlightenment vs The Dark Ages. Love vs Lust. Death vs Life. The chase was only at the end of the book. And it was to point out what a truly cowardly being Dracula really was, once you aren't scared of him any more.

The movie is much better and more enjoyable. Its fantasy so the vlad the impaler ethics is not important in this context.
Considering he was more or less presented as BEING Vlad The Impaler in the film, I'd say it is.

Secondly the move to complicate him was a good idea, one thing I strongly dislike in films is one sidedness and obviousness, I prefer shades of subtetly and character development, bending conventions rather than adhering to them. The film is a bit lumpen but then given the source material that was somewhat inevitable.
I still fail to see how a character who is supposed to represent The Bubonic Plague could be sympathetic. I mean, the guy's a mass murdering, baby killing, rapist. Not exactly the guy you want to have a beer with.

It is the definative dracula movie and I don't see it being bettered as its interpretation of the source material is successfully realized and its uniqueness excludes the possibility of it being superceeded, it can only be rivalled with alternate versions.
It's probably the most popular currently. Mostly because of the sex. And chicks dig evil guys with a heart of gold.
Any story can be good if you read into it. I read Moby Dick, its 100 pages of establishing the setting, 300 pages of a whale manual and 100 pages where Melville thinks, oh shit I forgot about the plot, better resolve it quickly. Thats why it tanked and then the literary critics come round to reading it and say that the descriptions of whaling and the whiteness of the whale are meant to represent the meaningless of life and the universe staring back at Ahab on his essentially pointless quest. Still doesn't detract from the fact that the book is a hokey whale quest story with most of it being a whaling manual. Its been 7 years since I've read it but the characterization was stiltled, it was full of Victorian preachiness and it was just meh, anyone could have pulled the plot out of the proverbial backside of plot ideas, this is Dracula I'm talking about. However I'll qualify it by saying that he successfully integrated this contrived plot with the vampire mythos which up until then was largely unknown. Its as to the vampire genre as Doom is to Wolfenstein. Doom wasn't that original but it got the ingredients just right on the first go and popularized the fps genre. Same with Dracula, he fashioned something iconic and perfectly brought plot and concept together, what I'm saying is that the plot was very conventional and the concept wasn't really his to begin with, he just personified it wisely through Dracula.

The ethics of Vlads portrayal are almost parallel to the historical accuracy of Inglorious Basterds, both are using reality as a springboard for the phantastical. Its not the real Vlad of historical antiquity, its a characterization in a totally made up world. Just to play devils advocate, the Russians consider him to be a strict but fair ruler (although he was mass murdering insanely cruel psychopath).

As regards the characterization in the film, yes he is the villain, yes he eats babies and spreads nosferatu plague like its bubonic cousin, but wait, here we have a film where a contemptible character is explored and we are shown that while he is undoubtedly evil he is not a one dimensional evil figure but a character in a private hell who curses god and is subsequently compelled towards these acts as a vampire. He doesn't choose some of these acts, his transformation has occured due to his on the spur reaction to the unfathomable cruelty of life which has beget a further cruelty on his self, in that by cursing this he has cursed himself to an eternity of damnation. He is a victim of his own passion and christian idealism and as a result he can be read as a representation of the dangers of assuming that ones actions can be justified through fundamentalism in the vein perhaps of such groups like the Spanish Inquisition. Coppolas interpretation is an improvement to my mind of Bram Stokers original. I'm just not convinced that the book must always be better than the filmic adaptation. Fight Club is another example where I thought the film version was just far superior in a multitude of respects.
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