The pre-publicity for Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast might have revolved around any number of subjects: Why make a live-action redo of a classic animated film? How would Emma Watson fare outside her Harry Potter world? Had Disney spent too much money (a rumored $300 million, including marketing costs)? As it happens, the actual conversation has mostly been about director Bill Condon’s recent comment that a character in the movie might perhaps be seen as gay. This idea, that something about an American musical had gay coloring, apparently came as a great shock to—whom, exactly? After a minute of fuss about whether or not Russian film censors would allow the movie to be shown in their country (they will, but only to people over 16), the issue seems to have died down.
The title is Dracula Untold. Which means that despite all the movies and TV shows and comic books over the years, there’s still something left to be said about Bram Stoker’s great fictional vampire.
Well, now it’s been told. And it’s pretty boring.
This movie skips past Stoker’s time period and concerns itself with the historical character cited as an inspiration for the blood-sucker: Vlad the Impaler. His rad nickname is just about the only thing that isn’t in dispute about the Impaler, but he was a 15th-century Eastern European ruler who battled the Ottoman Empire and managed to stick a number of his enemies onto large sharpened poles.