Sunday, March 2, 2014

DARIO ARGENTO'S DRACULA (2012)


Okay, well, if some bureaucrat says it's great, I guess that's the final word, then.  So the question is, is this as bad as everybody says.  And the answer is yes, it certainly is.  So the second question is, why?  Why has Argento, whose talents were evident throughout most of his career, sunk to these depths?  Why would a God who created humanity allow this to befall them?


If you don't know the story of Dracula, google it, askjeeves it, or ask a grown-up to read the book to you.  ARGENTO'S DRACULA doesn't deviate all that much from the well-worn path: we get the opening with Harker going to Transylvania; Dracula's own travels (sans Demeter); then the vamping of Lucy, then the seduction of Mina.  Some blood occurs amidst gigabytes of disappointing CGI.  Breasts and penises flop around momentarily, then are stuffed back under many layers of garments for interminable talking scenes.  This DRACULA has periodic spikes of amusement, but mostly it's a dull and spiritless crawl.


Bad movie?  Yeah, of course.  But, interestingly enough, in places DRACULA seems hellbent on sabotaging itself!  The dubbing sucks, the effects suck, and all that could be chalked up to the creators trying and failing.  But it's hard to reason out why we're seeing "wolves" that are clearly not growling and yet hearing loud growls on the soundtrack.  Even odder: the image below is preceded by a line like "How happy you look!"  It's like Argento was either consciously or unconsciously rebelling against doing this project at all and deliberately stuffing it full of ridiculous things.


Some of this looks okay, especially the scenes with lots of light and the exterior stuff.  You're not getting swoopy camera trickery of the PHENOMENA stripe, so don't even ask.  The interiors here often look very drab and constrictive, like they were shot in the corners of a warehouse or something.  Lots of scenes just look ugly, not necessarily spare or antiquated or whatever.


This is a hilarious image, but hang on.


Because it's topped by this.  Which is maybe the best example of something added to the Dracula story to make it ARGENTO'S DRACULA.  It's also indicative of the kind of tossed-off care that the more vibrant scenes receive here.  Scenes of women dressed like pilgrims at a table are lit and shot with the greatest precision, but effects scenes, which are generally interest-grabbing high spots, are like rendered in 30 minutes of GIMP animation and just sort of limply shuffled out for viewing.  Which is maybe, again, an example of Argento not wanting to do the thing he's doing.  


Whatever the explanation, watching this movie won't help you understand or help you with anything, really.  

RATING: 3

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