When you’re a public figure, reinvention can be difficult, it can be logical to keep giving your fans exactly what they want, but times change, tastes evolve, and technology steadily makes the un-adapted, obsolete. When you are over 100 years, this adaptation can be vital. With the dawn of the new millennium, a certain mythical figure, that inspired dread and allure in the public, embraced the young century to undergo a rejuvenation. That monster was Dracula, and that century was the 21st.
After their last encounter, vampire hunter Van Helsing sealed the famous count in a metallic coffin on his grounds. But when a chance robbery of the Van Helsing estate results in the coffin, and its new couriers, absconding to Louisiana, Mathew Van Helsing and his assistant, Simon Sheppard, travel to New Orleans to retrieve the Count, and to protect Mary, another descendant of the bloodline Van Helsing.
The film, despite following the bare bones of the classic Dracula plot, takes some interesting alterations to adapt to the final years of the 20th century. The transition from Transylvania to Louisiana (via London) with its rich cultural heritage, is a perfect location for the prince of darkness to haunt, with opulent mansions and alleyways is an inspired new location, and I can’t think of anywhere else in America Vlad could fit in. It just goes to demonstrate the interesting possibilities that come from taking concepts outside their comfort zone.
Just like in Dracula Untold, the backstory is given a spin. Except in this case, Dracula’s roots lie in being Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. This is an interesting backstory and makes a lot of sense considering Dracula’s classic weaknesses. These caveats of Dracula are also played around with in intriguing ways. Dracula can’t be seen in mirrors, so if you’re trying to pinpoint him using a camera (that relies on mirrors to focus), you’re out of luck.
Alterations aside, the casting is on par, with Gerard Butler is an unusual, but strangely effective, choice to don the cloak. Christopher Plummer as Van Helsing is more of a natural fit for the actor. New addition to the lore, Simon Sheppard is played well by Jonny Lee Miller, who adds a certain charm to the role. It was also a treat to see a young Nathan Fillion a couple of years before The Serenity catapults him to worldwide recognition.
Dracula 2000 is a solid attempt to pull Dracula into the 21st century, and for its efforts, it’s really effective at keeping what made the original a classic with modern twists. Dracula 2000, in that case does exactly what it sets out to do. While in the year 3000, the process may have to be restarted all over again, but until then Dracula 2000 is a perfect stopgap.
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