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.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Universal - 2014
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
English SDH, Spanish French
Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance
Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
February 3, 2015
"Every bloodline has a beginning"
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.
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.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
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.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
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.
- (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
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.
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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)
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