I can think of no finer example of genuine movie crack than Dracula 2000.
It’s a godawful movie. It hammers you over the head with the subtext; the idea of (spoiler!) Dracula originally being Judas Iscariot is nothing new; it takes characters from the original Bram Stoker novel and warps them beyond recognition. It’s nothing new or inventive, but yet it somehow manages to entertain me and my admittedly low standards.
The plot is ridiculously simple: Van Helsing now owns an antiquities dealership in London, England. He has stayed alive for many years to keep watch over Dracula by injecting Dracula’s blood and using its restorative powers to keep his body going. (And here I thought milk alone did a body good.) Some of his shifty employees break into his ubersecret vault to steal whatever precious jewels lay inside only to discover a single, silver coffin containing – GUESS WHO? Ignorant of its contents, the sneaky employees smuggle it over to America to sell on the black market, but Van Helsing finds out and follows them. A non-shifty employee of Van Helsing’s, Simon, tags along against Van Helsing’s wishes and soon discovers that Van Helsing has two missions: recapture a now-escaped Dracula and protect his daughter Mary, who was born after Van Helsing started shooting himself up with Dracula essence. This makes her a prime target for Dracula, who now wants her. And not just in the whole “I shall suck your blood” kind of way. More like the eternal kind of way.
Sucks to be Mary!
Jonny Lee Miller is in this movie and he is bad, bad, bad. Not in a villainous way, in a “I really needed the money but I’m phoning this one in” way. He’s got to be the most boring performance in the movie. This movie could use a lot less Jonny Lee Miller. He basically just runs around and is all English. Really. He pretty much is like, “Cheerio, where’s the Earl Grey?” Oh, Jonny – you had such potential post-Trainspotting. Stupid Sick Boy.
You know who else is in this movie?
You guys remember her, right? Her annoying Graduation Song is on the radio at the end of every school year; it’s practically a rite of passage nowadays to be forced to listen to this song on repeat if you’re graduating ANYTHING, I think. Yep, she’s in this one too as Mary’s semi-skanky friend who thinks she’s going crazy. Her name? Wait for it…wait for it…Lucy Westenra.
Ohhh, yeah. She’s nothing phenomenal as an actress, but she beats Mr. Union Jack Lee Miller up there, that’s for damn sure.
Here’s the selling point of the movie. The one, the only…Gerard Butler.
Screencap courtesy of Movie Screenshots, since my screencapping software decided it was TOO GOOD to cap Dracula 2000. Uh huh.
It really was the first movie role that brought Butler to the attention of American women everywhere and even I have to admit he looks positively gorgeous here. Plus, I will say that Butler does pull off the whole ageless evil thing quite well, considering what he had to work with here (:cough: not much :cough:) and the quality of the acting near him. Sure he’s cheesy at points but not only is he pretty, you can tell he doesn’t take himself QUITE that seriously as Dracula, which is actually…nice.
Bottom line is that the special effects are pretty awful and shockingly, Danny Masterson of That ’70’s Show Fame and Omar Epps, he of the future role of Dr. Foreman, put in bit appearances here. It shouldn’t charm me. The movie falls somewhere distinctly in the middle of the heap as vampire flicks go, but there’s something redeemably charming about the movie. Is it doddering Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing? Or perhaps Gerard Butler’s blank, vacant, listless Dracula? Maybe it’s Dracula’s badly-acted Vampire Brides. Who knows?
I probably have no excuse for liking it but what really puts me into the realm of the pathetic is the fact that I’ve seen at least one of the sequels (there are two). And yes, they were nothing to write home about either – but they also lacked the charm of the first.
However, if you asked me any day to pick between Dracula 2000 and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I would easily choose the Gerard Butler fare ANYDAY over that Coppola piece of crap, even if it does have Gary Oldman in it.