Dracula Untold (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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post #1 of 18 Old 02-03-2015, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Dracula Untold (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



For almost a century, the legend of Dracula has mesmerized audiences with the story of a charismatic royal who feasts on the blood of innocents after the sun goes down. Dracula Untold reveals the man behind the myth in the thrilling, action-packed tale of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (Luke Evans), who makes a terrifying deal with a supernatural ally that will allow him to save his family and his country – at the cost of his soul.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88



Details:

Studio and Year: Universal - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Genre: Horror/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish French
Starring: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance
Directed by: Gary Shore
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Written by: Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 3, 2015


"Every bloodline has a beginning"


My Take:

Witness the origin story of one of legend's most captivating figures in the action-adventure, Dracula Untold. The year is 1462 and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, the prince of Wallachia. But when Sultan Mehmed II demands 1,000 of Wallachia's boys – including Vlad's own son – become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must enter into a Faustian bargain to save his family and his people. He gains the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star, and the power to crush his enemies. In exchange, he's inflicted with an insatiable thirst for human blood that could force him into a life of darkness and destroy all that he holds dear.

Dracula Untold is a “contemporary” spin on the iconic character’s origins that finds his turn to the dark side forced by the need to protect his family, specifically his son, from the whims of the Turkish Sultan. It all gets very melodramatic at times as Vlad struggles against the “thirst” after allowing himself to be turned by an ancient vampire (Charles Dance) who lurks in a nearby cave, in order to obtain the power necessary. His focus remains true as he lays waste to the hordes seeking to fulfill the Sultan’s promise to take Vlad’s only son.

As far as reboots go this one doesn’t have much bite (sorry couldn’t resist) but I wouldn’t call it terrible. I like Luke Evans and thought he did well enough but the script didn’t do the character justice. There was too much focus on the drama of protecting his son and everlasting love of his wife which derailed the epic darkness of Dracula. The action wasn’t particularly engaging and the special effects didn’t add much either. The mushy final scene mated with the nonsensical closing moment was the icing on the cake.

At the end of the day Dracula Untold is a vapid reimaging that fails to build upon the depth of its subject. It’s not all bad but when compared to the better films about the legendary Dracula it comes up noticeably short.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for intense sequences of warfare, vampire attacks, disturbing images and some sensuality.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element):


Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Dracula Untold comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

This film’s elements aren’t lent to overly vibrant colors and high gloss video quality. Images tend to lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story’s elements. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting sequences which gave those scenes better visual depth. Stable contrast and black levels allow scenes containing mixed content to appear dynamic with punchy dark highlights. Detail is rendered quite well with crisp textures and definitive resolution that brings forth subtle nuance within images onscreen. Colors are limited to darker tones with occasional splashes of vivid hues which stand out nicely against the film’s dark visual aesthetic.

This 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA audio presentation features solid dynamics built around a nicely balanced surround mix that sounds great. This isn’t what I consider to be an aggressive soundtrack. Dialogue and music play an integral however there are several battle sequences/engagements that allow this mix to flex its muscle. Clarity and detail are exemplary which reveal lots of subtle nuance in the recording. Bass isn’t consistently room energizing but there are moments where it definitively augments the richness and tangibility of the film’s action and hits hard. Dialogue is crystalline with excellent intonation and descriptive character.

Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Alternate opening
  • (HD) 6 deleted scenes with optional filmmaker commentary
  • (HD) The Land of Dracula – Interactive map feature
  • (HD) Luke Evans: Creating a Legend – 19 minute featurette
  • (HD) Day in the life: Luke Evans – 10 minute on set documentary
  • (HD) Dracula Retold – 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) Slaying 1000 – 5 minute production featurette
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy





Final Thoughts:

Dracula Untold seeks to reimage the iconic character but unfortunately fails to deliver a meaty enough story to do him justice. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video mated with a fair supplemental package that fans of the film will enjoy. If you’re curious Dracula Untold is a rental at best.







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7702 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-03-2015, 11:31 AM
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I just received this one in the mailbox like 10 minutes ago. I did not see it in the theater but the trailer intrigued me. So, I ordered it. I was hoping for a better review, Ralph, but I will still keep an open mind during my 1st viewing.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-03-2015, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perpendicular View Post
I just received this one in the mailbox like 10 minutes ago. I did not see it in the theater but the trailer intrigued me. So, I ordered it. I was hoping for a better review, Ralph, but I will still keep an open mind during my 1st viewing.
Greetings,

Low expectations will hopefully give it a bit more luster. Be sure to post back with your thoughts Perpendicular..


Regards,
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-04-2015, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

Low expectations will hopefully give it a bit more luster. Be sure to post back with your thoughts Perpendicular..


Regards,

I will too, in time
I got about 12 movies to watch and the full 2 season of "Rome".


Also "Games of thrown season 4" is coming-out
My wife bought-it so I will go in a low expectation


I like B-movies, so it may be perfect for me.


Ray
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-07-2015, 07:49 PM
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Well after watching it.


I would agree on Ralph assessment for PQ/AQ.
Now for the movie.


I am easy to please, but this one should be rental.
I do not rent movies anymore, I buy the Blu-ray.
I do like to/or wired for download.
For rental, I got feed-up with scratches and finger prints, so I take a chance to buy or not


The story was a fresh one for Dracula, a story told many times.
The movie had some good moments, but not often enough to warrant a second viewing.


I like the story, but I think the director miss the spot, and could have been much better at retaining attention.
I like B-movies, but this one left me on, kind of like it and other time, is it over yet


So give it a rent


Ray
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-07-2015, 09:07 PM
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I enjoyed the movie although the black levels seemed a little high for a dark movie.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-10-2015, 07:29 AM
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Bought this Blu-ray and my son and I watched it last night. It barely held our attention. There are much better Dracula movies out there.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-10-2015, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edfowler View Post
I enjoyed the movie although the black levels seemed a little high for a dark movie.
Hmm, it appeared very rich and deep/bold contrast when I saw it last night. However… Gorgeous looking picture! Very, very dark and rich. Sadly I was expecting a very dark and gritty story. I miss some of the scripts of the 80s films that were very dark, gritty and gruesome. Though I did love the cave scene with Dance who I honestly was not expecting.

Shame there was also no huge eerie castle surrounded in mist near the end.

93 minutes is far too short a film for my liking. Ironic its pretty similar to I, Frankenstein. Which also wasn't dark and a gritty enough story.

Hollywood really is watering these down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuse311 View Post
Bought this Blu-ray and my son and I watched it last night. It barely held our attention. There are much better Dracula movies out there.
The trailer looked so much better and gave me high hopes. :/
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-11-2015, 08:31 AM
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Dracula Untold (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

Finally got a chance to watch this. I was enjoying this very much until the very end bit.

Spoiler!





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post #10 of 18 Old 02-12-2015, 02:27 PM
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That part reminded me of Bram Stokers with the lookalike wife in modern time. Reincarnated.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-13-2015, 05:07 AM
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There was hardly any bass in this one.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-13-2015, 05:47 PM
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The two best things are the shortness of the film and Charles Dance from GOT. It was rather disappointing for me. I could see why the low rating from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-16-2015, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

Low expectations will hopefully give it a bit more luster. Be sure to post back with your thoughts Perpendicular..
Quote:
Originally Posted by darthray View Post
Well after watching it.
I like the story, but I think the director miss the spot, and could have been much better at retaining attention.
I like B-movies, but this one left me on, kind of like it and other time, is it over yet


So give it a rent

I agree that this is a rental...if even that. Sorry I purchased it outright which I only do about half the time. The other movie that I purchased recently that I didn't like was "Skeleton Twins". "Dracula Untold" went by so fast, it seemed like less than an hour of lots of action and cheesy plot line. Though, I did like how the movie ended, and the bride was beautiful.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-04-2015, 07:15 PM
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Loved the film and love the surround mix!
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-04-2015, 07:19 PM
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No Dolby Atmos though. ...No biggie.

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post #16 of 18 Old 03-25-2015, 12:15 AM
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Hi Ralph


The wife and I watched this tonight as it's been sitting for awhile waiting for the system to get back up and running. We found more than a few hints from Bram Stokers Dracula with Gary Oldman and I'll admit to liking that a bit but did find they could have had a longer runtime and perhaps more overall depth to the story and for the characters but these days I'm not sure Hollywood believes we can take such depth anymore The A/V was of good quality with a good overall presentation.


Wasn't away for to long but good to be posting here again
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-25-2015, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Ralph


The wife and I watched this tonight as it's been sitting for awhile waiting for the system to get back up and running. We found more than a few hints from Bram Stokers Dracula with Gary Oldman and I'll admit to liking that a bit but did find they could have had a longer runtime and perhaps more overall depth to the story and for the characters but these days I'm not sure Hollywood believes we can take such depth anymore The A/V was of good quality with a good overall presentation.


Wasn't away for to long but good to be posting here again
Greetings,

Good to see you back Jeff!

Thanks as always for offering your thoughts.


Regards,
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post #18 of 18 Old 07-03-2016, 12:24 AM
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I liked this movie from beginning to end (Dracula Untold) I thought it was an amusing (not LOL though) comedy...oops...it's not a comedy. Oh well, I won't be renting this again but a once through was fine.

Cheers,
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