“I have crossed oceans of time to find you.”
Oh dear, I feel a rant coming on. You have been warned.
I have a love/hate relationship with this film. On one hand, the atmosphere and visuals are perfect, but, on the other hand, it really irks me that the film is called Bram Stoker’s Dracula even though so much of the film has little to nothing to do with Stoker’s novel. Dracula was not a love story. It was never a love story. This film, however, feels the need to turn it into a love story, which is, quite frankly, very forced and unnecessary (especially if you’ve read the original novel). Dracula never loved Mina, nor did she have any romantic feelings for him; rather, he wanted to seduce and corrupt her as a form of revenge. In the book, the scene where Dracula bites Mina is practically a rape scene, and, when she feels that she’s becoming a vampire, she’s feels both repulsed and bound to him— these conflicting emotions are what make their relationship interesting. The romance in the film is just… boring.
What’s really sad, though, is that this version of Dracula is the one that comes closest to following the novel. I get that people feel the need to change the original story when they adapt books for film, so that there’s something “new” for audiences to look forward to, but there’s a difference between adapting and completely rewriting. It’d be nice to have at least one film that really goes above and beyond to bring the book to life— as Stoker imagined it. Changing the plot and rewriting chunks of the original work don’t make your version more creative or original because altering source material is easy— it’s convenient and lazy; what’s difficult is being as faithful as possible to the original story while still making it your own (through music, costumes, scenery, etc.).
On the plus side, Van Helsing was delightful in this version:
Van Helsing: Jack. Come here. I know how deeply you loved her. That is why you must trust me and believe.
Doctor Jack Seward: Believe? How can I believe?
Van Helsing: I want you to bring me, before nightfall, a set of postmortem knives.
Doctor Jack Seward: An autopsy? On Lucy?
Van Helsing: No, no, no. Not exactly. I just want to cut off her head and take out her heart.