I just finished watching Dracula 2000, #68 on the Top 70 list, and it was one of those movie watching experiences I hate. And that is, I hate it when you feel like a movie could have been WAY better and actually sort of cool but then something must have gone very, very wrong in production. What I liked about the movie were the references to Dracula, the novel, the angry soundtrack (I’ve been in an “angry music” sort of mood of late), and the fact that the actor who plays Hyde from That 70’s Show is in it for like 15 minutes. What I did not like about the movie were the super cheesy jokes, the cheesy “dream” sequences, the cheesy “hero” and the cheesy explanation of who Dracula “really” is (I’ll give you a hint: he knows Aramaic and is obsessed with pieces of silver…..).
Everyone is in this movie and I mean everyone. We’ve got the guy who was Captain Von Trapp and then the guy that was the guy who was in some stoner/ frat boy movie from the 90s and then was the boyfriend of the witch in that show with the three witches and the girl from Beverly Hills 90210, Omar Epps was in it and Jennifer Esposito, and the girl that was the half-Borg woman with no emotions from that one spin-off of Star Trek where the captain was a woman who was in something else, and a guy that I’m really sure I’ve seen in other stuff but I can’t place him now. Oh. And Gerald Butler is Dracula. He often doesn’t wear his shirt so there you go.
Dracula 2000 takes place in the year 2000 (duh). Matthew Van Helsing, grandson of Abraham, is an obscenely rich businessman/ antiques collector with a bizarre secret involving leeches. One fateful night, a group of thieves break into Van Helsing’s ultra high tech vault. They figure that anyone who has a vault with that crazy of a security system must have something really good inside it. What they discover, to their dismay, is just an old coffin. They can’t figure out how to open it and, once they start setting off the booby traps, decide to take the coffin and run. You and I know this is a big mistake because the coffin, of course, contains Dracula himself.
At this point, I would just like to interject into my own review and say that this is all very similar to the Hellsing manga series. In Hellsing, the heirs of Abraham Van Hellsing are now located in England and are charged with protecting the crown and kingdom from vampires. Their secret weapon is Dracula himself. He too is kept chained up as a dry corpse in the basements of the Hellsing estate. He is also inadvertently revived when blood splatters his corpse. I’m just sayin’….
As it turns out, Matthew Van Helsing is actually THE Van Helsing. He has been keeping himself alive by injecting himself with Dracula’s blood, which he has been acquiring with leeches. Van Helsing does this because he had promised the original team of vampire hunters that he would stay alive as long as Dracula did and until the secret to killing Dracula once and for all could be discovered. But the unintended consequence of injecting himself with Dracula’s blood is that when Van Helsing finally settles down and has a wife and child, his blood contaminates the blood of his baby daughter, thus creating a connection between the girl, Mary, and Dracula (students of my E216 class will know that this sort of problematic blood sharing also occurs at the end of the novel to trouble its seemingly-happy ending). Hijinx ensue, they end up in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, secrets are revealed, goodness triumphs, and the ending is suitably open as is befitting these kinds of films.
I thought it was sort of fun that Dracula quickly acquires three new brides for himself. Evidently, one gets a new wardrobe when one becomes the bride of Dracula. I also thought it was funny that Mary Van Hellsing/ Dracula’s daughter?/ Dracula’s lover?/ whatever she is, works at the Virgin Mega Store and so she’s mostly wearing either a skimpy tank top or a a black t-shirt that has “Virgin” splashed across it. But overall, the cheesy jokes were just killing me. And at one point, I swear they were trying to make the dream sequences like The Cell.
As I said, Gerald Butler plays Dracula. Once I figured that out, I spent the whole movie waiting for him to say “Spartans! Prepare for Glory!” Alas, that never happened.