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Dracula 2000
Reviewed by Jason Myers, © 2003

Format: Movie
By:   Patrick Lussier and Joel Soisson
Genre:   Horror
Released:   December 22, 2000 (Theatrical Release)
Review Date:   June 27, 2003
Audience Rating:   R
RevSF Rating:   6/10 (What Is This?)
A newly-made vampire bears down on our young hero, who reaches frantically for his salvation: a metal cross. As he pulls it to him, the vampire says,

"Sorry, sport. I'm an atheist."

Our hero releases a catch, and a blade slides from the haft of the cross.

"God loves you anyway."

Even though Dracula 2000 is, when all is said and done, a "just above average" vampire movie, there are moments (see above) when I absolutely love it. Dracula is trying to find Mary (who, naturally, works at the Virgin Megastore). When he walks into the record shop, every woman in the place is drawn to him in a way that only happens in music videos. He meets Mary's friend Lucy (whose name will be familiar to anyone who's ever read Bram Stoker or seen a Drac movie). Lucy offers him some coffee, and he replies "I don't drink . . . coffee."

What's amazing is not that the film-makers included these types of jokes, but that they manage to include them while (here's what a lot of post-Scream movies missed) still telling an interesting story. The movie's take on the Van Helsing character is original and compelling. And the presence of Christopher Plummer (as Van Helsing) palpably raises the quality and believability of Dracula 2000. Heck, Plummer could give Peter Cushing a run for his money in the Van Helsing Olympics. Also of note to vampire enthusiasts is this film's take on the origins of vampirism. While the film-makers can't take credit for inventing this particular concept of vampirism (which I'm not going to spoil by telling you), they may be the first ones to put the idea on film.

While the acting (Plummer aside) isn't particularly notable, it is, overall, decent. Gerard Butler (Dracula) is no Gary Oldman (who is?), but he's got an icy charisma, and appearances by Jeri Ryan (Voyager), Danny Masterson (That 70s Show), and Nathan Fillion (Firefly) add (respectively) fun, laughs, and depth to the proceedings. The action scenes, too, are decent (with some damn cool weaponry). The effects are perfect for a film of this size and scope: simple, but slick. While the overall arc of the movie is pretty rote, and (except for Drac's back-story) we're not often truly scared or surprised by where the movie takes us, the details themselves make Dracula 2000 an entertaining diversion, and an especially fun pit-stop for vampire fans.

DVD Details

A pretty healthy helping. The main course: an audio commentary by the director and writer, plus deleted scenes and extended scenes (also with optional commentary tracks).

Usually, I have no patience for the storyboards included on DVDs, but this DVD's storyboards feature a lot of concepts that didn't make it into the final film, which makes it a more informative experience than just looking at pencil sketches of scenes you've just watched.

Also: actor audition tapes. Including excerpts from the auditions of some of the actors is an interesting concept, but in practice . . . not so interesting. The problem is, the actors you might like to see audition (Christopher Plummer, for example) probably didn't have to audition.

The only major misstep here is "Behind-the-Scenes Featurette", which, like so many of these things, is heavy on the "ette", light on the "Behind-the-Scenes."

The Movie Itself: 6 out of 10
The DVD Features: 6 out of 10
Whenenver Van Helsing was near a set of stairs, Film/DVD Editor Jason Myers thought that Van Helsing would blow a whistle, and then Liesl, Louisa, Friedrich, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl would come down the steps. But that never happened.

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