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Flash Movie Review: Dracula Untold

Sometimes I wish I could have seen the earlier years of a person I have known or recently met. An individual, no matter how hard they have tried, will still act out a particular way based on past interactions from their life. I am sure all of us have had times where we silently wondered why a person was acting a certain way. It could be something as benign as not liking candles or as wicked as mercilessly teasing a cat or dog. I knew someone who rarely gave an opinion about anything. Being asked where they wanted to eat or what movie to see, they could not voice their thoughts, only say whatever or it did not matter. It wasn’t until I happened to meet their parent that I finally saw the reason why they were acting that way. The parent was overbearing and quick to belittle their child. My curiosity goes beyond people in the present; I would enjoy finding out what transpired with historical people, like Napoleon or Catherine the Great, that influenced or molded them that has not been told in our history books. Purely for entertainment value, I find taking liberties with a known character or actual person an acceptable form; look at the success of Wicked, the story about how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be.    VLAD III dubbed Vlad the Impaler, played by Luke Evans (Immortals, Fast & Furious III), was an ideal candidate to use to create an action fantasy backstory. Protective of his family and subjects, not wanting to see the children of his kingdom experience what he had as a child, Vlad would have to look beyond his kingdom if he was going to repel the Sultan Mehmed, played by Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double, Need for Speed). His search would lead to a force that could even overpower him. The idea for this dramatic story was appealing to me and I found the opening scenes compelling. Joining Luke and Dominic was Charles Dance (Game of Thrones-TV, Gosford Park) as Master Vampire; all three had a strong screen presence. The special effects were not the greatest but were darkly fun to watch. With a good start it was all the more disappointing that the script got sillier and sillier as the film progressed. Seriously, I was stunned that the writers thought the idea of a blindfolded army going into battle was a good idea. Add in the trendy haircut for Dominic’s character Mehmed and this was a movie sorely lacking the guts for a great backstory. There were multiple scenes that had blood and violence.

 

1 3/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania

To be independent and responsible adults is the hope parents have for their children. Though for some it may be hard to let go and allow their kids to make their own decisions. In a recent review I mentioned how my dad taught me how to drive a year before I had driver’s education. What I failed to mention was how he would tell me not to go out driving if it was raining outside. Another thing he would say was not to turn on the radio because it drained the battery. To this day when I call him up to say hello, all he wants to hear is that I am driving straight home. Keep in mind I moved out of the house when I was in my 20’s, but to him that does not matter. That is why this fun movie gave me an extra kick. I found the idea of a classic horror film character being an overprotective parent hilarious. The story was about Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler (Grown Ups, Reign Over Me), throwing a 118th birthday party for his daughter Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez (Monte Carlo, Remona and Beezus). Several past scary film characters traveled to Dracula’s exclusive human free resort, Hotel Transylvania; to help in the celebration. But during the festivities Dracula’s fatherly concerns would be tested when teenager Jonathan, voiced by Andy Samberg (Celeste & Jesse Forever, That’s My Boy), accidentally stumbled into the hotel. There were enough gags and jokes for both kids and adults; though some of the jokes were more bathroom type humor. Adam’s voice perfectly matched the Dracula role, along with the fine animation. With a little more substance than the average animated movie, I had a good time at the theater watching this comedy. Who knows, maybe I will finally tell my dad about the time I drove his car with 9 people squished in with me.

 

3 stars

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