Dracula Untold Parent Review
Of course any movie about vampires is going to be full of exposed fangs and gory depictions of feasting episodes. Luckily, Evans does an admirable job of convincing us his intentions are good.
Vampires enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks to the iridescent Edward from Twilight. However Dracula Untold hearkens back to the darker days of the bloodsuckers when they wore black, turned into bats and gorged themselves on human blood. Yet, as this origin story explains, Dracula isn’t bad as much as he is conflicted.
As a child, Vlad III Tepes (Luke Evans) and hundreds of other boys were forced to fight as child soldiers for the Turkish army. Despite the cruel training conditions, Vlad excelled and over time earned the nickname of Vlad the Impaler because of his fondness for skewering his enemies. Eventually however, the Transylvanian prince gave up his warring ways and returned home to marry Mirena (Sarah Gacon), father a son (Art Parkinson) and rule over his kingdom as a peaceful leader.
Now he pays tribute to the Sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) as a way to maintain the ceasefire. But this year Mehmed wants more than money. He wants 1000 boys, including Vlad’s son, to fight in his army. Remembering his own horrific childhood experiences, Vlad vows to find a way to protect Ingeras and the other boys from being forced into the Sultan’s service. Resorting to his old ways, he manages to lay waste to a small group of soldiers who have come for his son. But he knows he’ll need more power to protect his people from the advancing battalions.
Journeying alone, he scales Broken Tooth Mountain to make a deadly deal with an ancient sorcerer (Charles Dance). After drinking a bowlful of blood, Vlad gains extraordinary powers of speed, strength and perception. If for the following three days he can avoid drinking human blood, he will return to his human form. But if not, he is destined to live the rest of his life in the shadows as Dracula. Given that we know the rest of the story, we can guess how things go with the abstinence stipulation.
Vlad’s motivation—saving his son from a horrible plight as a child soldier—is honorable, as is his desire to protect his subjects. Luckily, the clenched-jaw Evans does an admirable job of convincing us his intentions are good. Yet turning to the dark side seems like a risky option.
Of course any movie about vampires is going to be full of exposed fangs and gory depictions of bloodstained feasting episodes. And Vlad’s reputation as the impaler also means we see hundreds of soldiers run through with poles and hung to dry on the battlefield. Others are killed with swords, relieved of their limbs and subjected to heinous war-related injuries.
Along with a sensual scene between Vlad and his wife, and a parade of low cut dresses that don’t leave much to the imagination, this ancient tale explores the lengths a father will go to in order to protect those he loves. It’s a bit of an epic undertaking to take that role on single-handedly. Still, it’s hard to fault this man of action. However, selling his soul comes with eternal consequences for the devilishly handsome Dracula… and a blatant plug for a sequel.Directed by Gary Shore. Starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release October 10, 2014. Updated May 19, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Dracula Untold here.
Dracula Untold Parents Guide
The Turks want children to train as solders that will kill without question and die without complaint. The use of child soldiers still occurs today. Organizations such as Child Soldiers International are involved in combating the use of children in armies. Why is Vlad so determined to save his son from becoming a soldier? What, if anything, can parents do today to protect their children from being forced into servitude?
Vlad sells his soul in order to protect his child. What examples can you think of where parents have made extreme sacrifices for their families? Do you agree with his choice?
Vlad feels a sense of elation when he first discovers his new powers. What impact can power, in any form, have on a person? What dangers are associated with unchecked power? Why are checks and balances important in government, large businesses and other organizations?
Learn about the legends behind the mythical character Dracula.