Dracula 2000 Recap

Jamie

Dracula is back, Jack! It’s Y2K and he’s ready to party (amiright?). When a group of cybertheives steal Dracula’s coffin and awaken the monster, he arrives in New Orleans looking for his part-vampire bride. But the Van Helsing gang ain’t having that, especially since it’s his daughter. *gulp* Can they defeat Dracula before it’s too late? Find out in… Dracula 2000.

How?! Van Helsing is an elderly antiquities collector with a dark secret. When some high tech thieves break into his office and open his locked vault they are shocked to find that it’s just filled with lame ol’ bones and a coffin. What’s extra lame is when a bunch of boobytraps kill half of them. Assuming what’s in the coffin must be extra valuable they take it and attempt to fly it back to America. On the way they inadvertently awaken the tenant of the coffin, Dracula, who has been kept in continual slumber by Van Helsing in hopes that he could figure out how to kill him. In scientific terms they are totally pwned by Dracula and turned into more draculas. Realizing that Dracula is probably going after his daughter, Van Helsing travels to New Orleans where she lives, followed closely by his assistant Simon. Once there, he attempts to take care of bizness, but finds himself outmanned by the number of vampires already on the loose. Heading back into the city he tries to find his daughter but is confronted by Dracula himself. Being an old rickety man who’s only stayed alive by infusing himself with dracula blood he is immediately killed, duh. Meanwhile Simon is able to find Van Helsing’s daughter, Mary, but they separated as they try to stay ahead of Dracula and his gang. Once separated Mary is almost immediately turned into a vampire by Dracula and they totes make out on the rooftops. He then goes on to explain exactly who he is, bum bum BUM Judas! What a twist! He’s actually Judas, unwelcome in heaven or hell for all eternity and feeding on blood and afraid of crosses, etc. etc. etc. Super twist. Simon confronts Dracula but is captured and Mary is forced to drink his blood. But then, double twist, Mary didn’t actually drink Simon’s blood and instead they do a little kungfu and hang Dracula/Judas all over again and he totally dies this time. Still worried, Mary vows to guard his ashes, setting up for the sequel that definitely will happen (spoiler alert: it didn’t). THE END.

Why?! Dracula is a monster so really just for that sweet sweet blood. He is the last of his kind and wants to make a whole mess of draculas, particularly with the help of his part-vampire bride. Van Helsing and the rest of the good guys just want to protect the world from Dracula. It’s all very straightforward… except the part where Dracula turns out to be Judas… not sure how it influences the motivations. It all just happened so quickly.

Who?! Been a while since we had a legit singer-turned-actor in one of these. No, I don’t mean Gerard Butler, star of Phantom of the Opera and formerly in a band called Speed (apparently). And no, I don’t mean Coolio (breakout star of Dracula 3000). I mean Vitamin C, who played Lucy in the film. She was the lead singer of the band Eve’s Plum before setting out on a solo career. This was pretty obviously the peak of her acting career.

What?! One of the best Product Placements we’ve had in a while. Mary works at the Virgin Megastore and boy howdy do we know it. Multiple scenes and multiple t-shirts are devoted to this fact. Is it somehow relevant to the story? The release of the soundtrack by Virgin suggests that the answer is no. There are a few props for sale, but nothing that allows me to dress exactly like Gerard Butler, so no thanks.

Where?! Can’t understate how fun New Orleans is as a BMT setting. Always know you’ll get a parade and beads and stuff and people in masks and crazy shit happening and everyone ignoring it because it’s New Orleans. There is also a significant portion that takes place in London. All around solid B+.

When?! Secret Holiday Film, Alert! This film clearly takes place during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Normally this would just be a great A- specific setting that is promoted up from B+ because of the significance of holidays in general. HOWEVER, given the bonkers twist that Dracula is in fact Judas and given that Mardi Gras occurs the day before Lent, which is meant to prepare for the celebration of Easter, this has to be elevated to an A. I’d even hear arguments for an A+ given 2000 in the title and the significance of the particular date.

The first half of this film I was just startled by how similar aspects of it was to Vampire in Brooklyn. Not just the obvious Dracula references but like… the search for his half-vampire bride, which seems to be unique to later adaptations. Because of this I was like, ‘lame, cliche’ even as cyberhacker thieves were stealing his coffin. After a certain point I started to kinda dig the visuals though. Nice mix of artistic and early 2000’s BMT. And so I was starting to get a little torn… until the twist happened. It is nuts. Just crazy that they dropped that in there at the end. It’s such a heavy twist thrown in at the very very end of a film that it really takes some balls to do. All of a sudden you can’t even pay attention to the climax of the film anymore because your brain can’t process the casual mixing of Judas and Dracula as if such a mix is a natural addition to the classic Gothic tale. It’s the twist we deserve. As for Dracula 3000, the movie is Transmorphers garbage. They were too tongue-in-cheek and in on the joke that I couldn’t even enjoy it. On top of that Dracula looked like trash, like straight out of a kids movie or something. It’s hard to imagine how it was delivered in the state that it was. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I’ve consumed like 14 pieces of vampire media in the last two months … for Dracula 2000! What is wrong with me? What have I done in my life that has led me here? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had just read Dracula and watches Coppola’s vision of that adaptation, so the big thing was obviously going to be comparing this to those two. Also skinny Gerard Butler, an actor whose BMT fame was a mere glimmer in his sexy eyes, is an interesting proposal. What are my expectations? If this movie has just wall to wall references to Dracula I think I’d pretty much be satisfied. Anything else is a cherry on top.

The Good – While the twist is the worst thing in the world (and we’ll get to that), in an alternative universe that twist is a really really cool idea for Dracula, and it is pretty sad it is wasted on this trash film. Up until they get to New Orleans the idea of the film is actually quite cool: Dracula can’t die and Van Helsing doesn’t know why, so he invents a way to live forever to watch over his sealed coffin while trying to figure out how to kill him. That’s a pretty good conceit. Unfortunately everything else goes off the rails.

The Bad – The twist is awful once you think about it for five seconds. So here’s the twist: Dracula, the original vampire, is in fact Judas, rejected by both heaven and hell and thus doomed to walk the earth forevermore. The good here: it explains quite nicely the idea of drinking his blood, much like drinking of the transubstantiated blood of Jesus, makes you his follower (a vampire as well). The bad: but why does he need to drink blood? Why does he have sharp teeth? Why does he live in Transylvania? Why does sunlight kill him? Even within this same film, why does filtering Judas’ blood through leeches render it safe to inject into our veins as Van Helsing does to stay alive forever? It completely rejects the book it is adapted from for a, only vaguely, decent twist and that is a slap in the face. That twist would have been much more fitting for a reenvisioning like Dracula: Untold than what seems to be a direct sequel. Along with that the fact that it is a long Virgin Media commercial is insane, and the acting, outside of Plummer, is terrible.

The BMT – I think so, I think this will be a good benchmark for vampire / Dracula films from here on out. It basically has enough interesting additions to the vampire lore to legitimize its existence, but yet it tosses it all away for a twist that ends up being worthless at best, and a slap in the face at worst. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, it indeed had wall to wall references to Dracula. The best being that the plane they use to transport Dracula to New Orleans is called the Demeter and the pilot is ultimately lashed to the steering wheel, which is an iconic image from the original novel and probably any film adaptation of Dracula. And they toss a bad twist in for good measure.

Roast-radamus – Obviously we have one of the greatest Product Placement (What?) examples ever with the film quite literally being a commercial for Virgin Media. It also has a strong Setting as a Character (Where?) for New Orleans. A common setting, but only effectively used in my opinion to allow weirdos like Dracula to roam around without attracting attention. We have a fantastic Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the film specifically falling on Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And naturally it’ll be stiff competition for Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dracula has been Judas all along. That is a decent lineup that maybe could mean this sneaks in as a BMT in the end, but we’ll see.

StreetCreditReport.com – It didn’t get any play from the worst of lists for the year, but that is fine. It will almost always end up on a list for worst vampire films. Funny enough that description gets it wrong, Plummer isn’t a descendant of Van Helsing, he is Van Halsing. That is a pretty early reveal so I would be a bit surprised if that was a spoiler consideration, but maybe it is. I would say this deserves the title as the worst Dracula film, but that is unlikely. Not only did we watch Dracula 3000 which is obviously much much worse, but there is also Argento’s Dracula 3D which is on the worst film ever wiki page. So really it is just a really bad Dracula film, not the worst. Still enough cred for me.

You Just Got Schooled – I also read the book and watched Coppola’s 1992 adaptation. The book is very long and pretty dry, but I was genuinely surprised at how much of the Dracula lore comes directly from the book itself. Stoker really went out of his way to flesh out the character. I was also a bit surprised that Dracula could walk around in the sunlight, that seems like a strange and bold change for someone else to have made after the fact, and yet getting killed by sunlight in a major point in True Blood and ‘salem’s Lot and even Dracula 2000. The adaptation I thought was very visually cool, but I found Mina’s characterization to be off putting and a very strange choice. Almost insulting. In the book she is a woman living in a man’s world who is just as smart and capable as the men, but who ends up in trouble partially because of how delicately the men treat here. Here she is kind of played off as the cheating woman whose love for another man (Dracula) is almost her doom … it was weird and wild stuff. In the end I could give or take either, but I’m glad I read/watched both as it gives me a much better perspective on Dracula as a character.

Bring a Friend Analysis – So as a friend we naturally brought along Dracula 3000 with Dracula 2000. I guess I didn’t have much expectations, although the idea of going to space with Dracula makes sense, no sun. But this is the exact type of “friend” I don’t like. It is intentionally dumb, intentionally cheap, all the while winking at the camera like “eh, get it, we’re really dumb and cheap. That’s fun right? Like, a real cheap dumb movie, right?”. I do not find films like that amusing. The characters are annoying, the lore bastardized, the ending is just tacked on once they met the obligatory 90 minute run time. Chockablock with Dracula references, all of which are unearned. We should have done Argento’s Dracula 3D. F, terrible friend, more like Bring an Enemy, amirite?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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