Plot: What’s it about?
A band of thieves have broken into the personal vault of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, led by Marcus (Omar Epps) and Solina (Jennifer Esposito). Solina works for Van Helsing and as such, she knows he hides a most valuable treasure inside, but she is unsure just what the prize could be. The vault is loaded with skulls, relics, and antiques, but nothing stands out…until the thieves catch a glimpse of a coffin in one room. A series of traps kills two of them and force them to leave without opening the coffin, but they lug the behemoth along, to crack open at a later date. Van Helsing soon realizes what has happened and with his assistant Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), a search is started for the coffin, as it holds something most dangerous. Just what force lies within this strange coffin and if it is unleashed, will anyone be able to control it?
I love vampires movies and no matter how much bad press I hear, I always give new releases a chance, so I saw Dracula 2000 at the theaters. Now, I had heard bad reviews across the board on this one, so I had low expectations, but in the end, I was very entertained here. I suppose I approached this in a different fashion than some folks, as I expected some good visuals, hot chicks, and maybe some humor tossed in. I feel as though Dracula 2000 delivered on all those fronts, but if you wanted a good movie in the traditional sense, then I can understand why you’d be displeased with this one. I never planned to take the film seriously however, so I was entertained and now that the title is out on DVD, it is one I will add to my collection. There is style to burn in Dracula 2000 and that means some cool visuals, but the film seems so serious at times, you can’t help but laugh. So no, this is not a good movie in the usual sense, but I thought it was fun, looked great, and had some cool vampire moments. I mean, it even has the gorgeous Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick (Vitamin C) and that alone makes this one worth a look. I recommend this release as a rental to those interested and if you like the flick already, this disc is more than worth a purchase, to be sure.
This movie has a few memorable performances, but I think Jennifer Esposito takes the cake here, with a great female vamp turn, very cool stuff indeed. She is able to harness such energy in this role and she seems to be having fun also, which never hurts. Esposito hasn’t really impressed me with her work to this point, but she is very fun to watch here, especially after she’s been turned to the vampire side of the coin. I love how primal her character becomes, but she also retains her sense of humor and intelligence, which makes her character very interesting to watch, I think. The scene in the police station alone should have won her this solo spot in the review, but she has a few other memorable spots also. You can also see Esposito in such films as The Proposition, Summer of Sam, Kiss Me Guido, and He Got Game. The cast also includes Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick (Scary Movie 2, Get Over It), Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, Hackers), Justine Waddell (Mansfield Park), and Gerard Butler (Tomorrow Never Dies, Tale of the Mummy).
Video: How does it look?
Dracula 2000 is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a very dark movie so I had some doubts, but this presentation is rock solid and never falters. The contrast remains razor sharp from start to finish here, which preserves a strong level of detail and in a darker picture like this one, that’s very important indeed. Oh and those reds, this is a vampire film after all and that means plenty of reddish hues, but there’s never a problem with those shades. The reds never smear in the least and the other colors look terrific also, while flesh tones come off as warm and natural as well. I also saw no traces of compression flaws or other errors to soil this fantastic transfer. I am giving this treatment our highest score and I think it is more than worthy of that kind of praise, as this is a tremendous visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
Almost as impressive as the video is the audio, which offers a superb atmosphere and one of the better tracks I’ve heard of late. The surrounds were active throughout the flick and alive with passion, whether via subtle presence or out and out impact moments, very impressive stuff indeed. I was blown away by the creative use of the channels, from directional effects to excellent pans to all other manner of usage, this is one awesome track. The subwoofer even gets to chime in on many, many occasions and I think this mix could easily be used to showcase a home theater, as it is that damn good. There’s never a problem with dialogue however, which remains clean and easy to understand, even in the most powerful audio sequences. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As if the excellent audio and video presentations weren’t enough, this disc also comes loaded with extras, such as an audio commentary track with director Patrick Lussier and screenwriter Joel Soisson. The two provide a solid session on the whole, but seem to take the film way too seriously, which makes them seem like jackasses, if you ask me. I think they should have discussed the film’s flaws a little more, but instead decide to focus more on how good their work was, which is a real let down. But some good moments also arise and in the end, there’s enough information in here to justify a listen, if just to laugh at these two and some of their comments. You can also view three extended scenes and optional commentary with Lussier is offered again, although none of these scenes are that important. A selection of four deleted scenes also appears on this disc, complete with optional commentary from Lussier and Soisson, should you decide to listen to their thoughts. This disc also includes a brief behind the scenes featurette, a selection of audition videos, storyboards for eight scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.