The immortal vampire Count Dracula travels to London and seduces a
young woman who bears a striking resemblance to his long dead love.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by James V. Hart
Starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves,
Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes, Richard E. Grant,
Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits
Based on the novel by Bram Stoker
Oscar Wins - Best Costume Design, Best Makeup,
Best Sound Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Art Direction
Dracula is a story that has yet to be done perfectly, though every interpretation has its positives. This 1992 adaptation was mostly true to the classic novel, though Dracula's obsession with Mina was added in to make the film a love story. The problem is that Bram Stoker's Dracula is not a love story. It's the story of an immortal and irredeemable monster with one goal: To populate the world with vampires like himself. Coppola's vision may have kept the same tone and atmosphere of the novel, but once again he lost sight of the novel's point; that monsters lurk in the dark and want nothing more than to cause murder and mayhem.
Apart from Gary Oldman, the entire cast was horribly miscast. Watching Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves murder the British accent like Jack the Ripper was painful to watch every time. Anthony Hopkins seemed like the perfect choice for Professor Van Helsing, but his fake Eastern European accent made the character seem off-putting and phony. Then there's Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, and Billy Campbell, who did a decent job with the roles they were given. Unfortunately, they are barely in the film as their roles were substantially cut down from the book. Oldman doesn't try to imitate Lugosi's Dracula, which was good. He does his best to make the role his own, and he accomplishes this by mimicking the Count from Sesame Street. It comes off as hammy and insincere most of the time, but he still feels threatening and wins me over in the end. If only the narrative was the same way.
To put it bluntly, this film is dull. It starts off promising and ends with gusto, but getting there is a slog through the winter snow without shoes on. Major plot-centric scenes of the novel are missing and glossed over with over-sexualized interpretations. We get that vampirism is an allegory for sex, but we don't need it constantly shoved in our faces. Coppola's Dracula stands apart from any other version, but still fails to fully adapt one of literature's most famous works into a faithful adaptation. One day, somebody will do it, but until then, this is pretty much as close as we're going to get.