As most of my friends and family know, I sorta like vampires (* grin *). That said, I rarely catch any of the vampire movies put out until cable or DVD releases. I don't spend many hours in movie houses watching the latest blockbuster shows anymore due to my personal time constraints and the simple fact that I want to slap the cell phones out of the hands of perfectly annoying strangers who litter most audiences. Not good, given what with the litigious society we live in now. But I am pretty sure that I can use 'stand your ground' as a defense if I do give into that primal instinct. I mean, really. I pay serious coin to see a movie, and some empty-headed twit feels the need to attack my vision and give me the ability to read their tweets and messages perfectly well from two feet away, while blinding me to the mystery of the show I am trying to watch -- that will be a selling point with any jury. Right?
So my company annually does a dog and pony show they call 'employee appreciation outings.' Usually it involves a hundred or so folks, but now that my company is outgrowing the small-time picnics in the park or cruises around the coast, things changed. This year it was by manager choice, not the departmental division head. In one of the many meetings we have had lately the question was asked what we'd like to do for our employee appreciation trip. I said, "Movies" just to be contrary because my new manager and her entourage like 'team building' stuff -- they were pushing for team games and cheerleading events. Other folks blurted out bowling, picnic or Dave 'n Busters (sucking up because that would be gaming against each other as it was disclosed in the meeting). So the new manager sent out an email to our group with choices. We were to pick something and share with the gang -- nicely organized peer pressure, which I found was mildly amusing. One of my co-workers suggested a movie instead of the choices offered in the mass emails, picking up on my idea from the week before in that meeting. Then a solution was suggested from one of the other co-workers!! One of the newly opened IMAX places in our area also had bowling and arcade games.
Literally two days later it was booked. I picked a movie while three quarters of the folks picked the bowling. So this past Tuesday we screwed up our work day to go out and 'team build.' I was supposed to go to the Disney thing currently showing with Steve Carrell because nobody wanted to see the Dracula movie, but to my joy, I found out in the rah-rah meeting on the day of the 'field trip' that three other folks were going to see Dracula: Untold. Not just the average movie but in IMAX ... I have to say this was my first IMAX movie. Yeah, sure, I've done the Disneyland surround stuff and all, but never IMAX. But the company was paying for it, so why not?
The daytime trip worked to my advantage. I think there were only 8 or 9 people in the whole place. I selected the middle of the theatre with an empty row below and the 'close' seats. Nobody to pop up in front of me in the middle of the movie going to get more from concessions stands or to visit the restroom. And best of all, no visual disturbances from cell phones!!! I let the movie suck me in quickly.
I'm a tad familiar with the vampire legends both in America and Europe. I've done my research and I liked the twists this movie brought. Admittedly, die-hard vampire fans will either love this movie or totally hate it. There isn't any middle ground. The movie takes the Vlad the Impaler story and spins the totally new back story -- hence the "Untold" part of the movie title. This wasn't Bram Stokers' excellent tale, but something new.
I liked it. I enjoyed the 'real' feel to the movie. The leading actors and actresses were virtual unknowns to me, which I found quickly pulls the viewer into the movie very well. Watching in it IMAX is visually stunning with the thumping of the music and drama sucking the viewer even deeper. It is not for the faint of heart -- it earns the PG-13 rating, and isn't gore free. But that resonated for me. I liked the scenery, having been to Hungary and surrounding area. The imagery was what I remembered of my ride down the Danube from Austria to Hungary -- which was funny, since the movie was filmed in Northern Ireland. But the ruins of long-abandoned castles were alive in this movie, and made me feel like I was in Europe.
The supporting cast was filled with extras that appeared genuine to the time. Having glanced at the full cast listing in IMDb, I have to admit I didn't know a single name. That said, in the futureI will definitely be looking for the lead actor, Luck Evans, who played Vlad, as well as Dominic Cooper, who played Mehmed. There are already talks of either a sequel, or Vlad going into monster movies forthcoming. It was a visually rich movie with some minor plot flaws, but I didn't buy the ticket and didn't have to pay for the popcorn. And also avoided having to team bowl with my coworkers!!! Would I buy it on DVD? Probably not, but I'd watch it again on cable.