It's almost becoming too easy nowadays to criticise the recent movies directed by Dario Argento, but when the man who was such a master of his craft starts to churn out rubbish as bad as this . . . . . . . . well, I think all of that criticism is well and truly justified.
Because, make no mistake about it, Dario Argento's Dracula (AKA Dracula 3D) is a terrible movie in almost every department. It's so inept at times that you start to wonder whether or not Mr. Argento is having a laugh at our expense.
Everyone knows the story by now, and if you don't then it's up to you to quickly get up to speed, so I won't include too many details here. There are differences, such as the film taking place almost exclusively in Transylvania, but the main characters remain the same. Thomas Kretschmann plays the big man, Rutger Hauer comes along as Van Helsing just in time for the finale, Marta Gastini is a pleasant enough Mina Harker, Asia Argento is Lucy, and Maria Cristina Heller is a sexy vamp for most of the runtime. Let's not mention Unax Ugalde as Jonathan Harker because, well, it's just too painful for me to remember his performance.
The script, written by four people including Argento himself, is a muddled mess, with the recognisable central story strand, and one or two famous moments, surrounded by scenes that range from the ridiculous to the gratuitous, with the latter at least providing SOME entertainment value.
The direction makes it seem as if Argento considered not having his name in the credits at one point. There are a few nice flourishes here and there, admittedly, but from the opening sequence - in which the camera flies through a poorly rendered CGI village - to the anticlimactic finale, this is clumsy stuff, not helped in the slightest by some of the shoddiest editing I've seen in a long, long time.
I've already mentioned some of the performances, but let me just say that Hauer is great and Kretschmann looks like he could have done better with the role if it had been better written and placed in a competent movie. Asia Argento is, as usual, godawful, Gastini is okay, and Heller shows that she's very proud of her breasts. And good for her. And did I mention that I don't want to mention Unax Ugalde as Jonathan Harker?
If you want to be cruel to yourself then watch this immediately. The special effects alone will have you reaching for the nearest spoon with which to scoop out your eyeballs. A few moments featuring different insects made me think, once more, that this whole thing might just be Argento playing a joke on us. Viewed in the right frame of mind, some people may find this funnier than Dracula: Dead And Loving It.
It's not as if the source material doesn't provide some great stuff to develop, for goodness sake. In fact, the strength of that source material is the reason that the film isn't quite a COMPLETE disaster. One or two moments still manage to remain effective, despite the best efforts of Argento and co. to totally screw up everything.
See what I endure? Which is why I also pimp out my book, because every copy of my book sold gets a few pounds in my pocket, and gets you a good read (if I say so myself).
The UK version can be bought here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395945647&sr=1-3&keywords=movie+guide
And American folks can buy it here - http://www.amazon.com/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395945752&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=TJs+ramshackle+mov
As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.