Blu-ray of the Day: Wolfman Week – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Cast: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E Grant, Tom Waits.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Screenplay: James V Hart.
Score: Wojeciech Kilar.
Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus.

Part-original, part-homage and 100 percent-enthralling, this Francis Ford Coppola triumph is a sweeping Gothic epic of awesome scope and spectacle. The screenplay by James V Hart (Hook) both respects and expands on Bram Stoker’s novel while invigorating its tainted blood theme with a radical HIV perspective and a Vlad the Impaler twist. Coppola and Hart also re-interpret Dracula as a fallen angel rather than a bloodsucking cliche, hence Gary Oldman playing him as frightening, affecting and beguiling (in contrast to Anthony Hopkins’ overripe gusto as vampire slayer Van Helsing). The soft, grainy HD quality of this 1992 release means it’s only marginally better than mediocre, but the extras are outstanding. Coppola’s non-stop yet scholarly commentary is a textbook example of how one should be done, there’s nearly half-an-hour of deleted scenes and the meaty, movie-length documentary reveals Coppola’s obsession with Dracula, from his favourite screen version (predictably, Nosferatu) and screen count (surprisingly, John Carradine) to how he wanted to make the definitive adaptation after seeing one-too-many Billy the Kid versus Dracula exploitations: “There were so many of them but nobody ever did the book.”

Movie: 😀 😀 😀 😀 😐
Image: 😀 😀 😀
Extras: 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

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