Nude Memphis Review: Dracula - Book vs Movie


I began reading the book "Dracula" a few weeks ago, after seeing it in the bookstore and realizing that despite having seen numerous movie and TV depictions of the story, I had never actually read it. So I picked it up and bought it. Halfway through the book I began to wonder if there existed any movie versions that followed the book at all, as the book was unlike anything I had seen.

Google/Bing led me to the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula" directed by Francis Ford Coppola and made in 1992. I ordered the DVD and before it had even arrived I stumbled across the movie playing again and again on one of the movie channels that I pay for. The timing was perfect.

I watched the movie, now having read the book, expecting something great. All the actors and actresses in the film are top-notch and the director is known for having great talent. But as the movie played on, I couldn't ignore a critical difference that I can only attribute to a problem with the director himself. Let me see if I can explain it to you.

Something ain't right here
In the book, "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, a very long and detailed account of the lives of numerous individuals involved with the story is given from their own point-of-view, with pages from their own diaries supposedly compiled together to create the final document.

In the movie, "Bram Stoker's Dracula", featuring Keanue Reeves as Jonathan Harker, perhaps the main character of the film, everything is shown from a sort of omniscient point-of-view, with the viewer seeing everything as it happens.

In the book, the main character, Jonathan Harker, is a decent man whose very kind boss has sent on a mission that is expected to be good for his career. The mission turns into a nightmare, though, and Harker is trapped by Dracula inside his castle for several months.

In the movie, Jonathan Harker is a bit of a doofus played by Keanue Reeves, who not so long before portrayed a drugged out moron in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." The choice of Reeves for this role was odd, but seemed to offer a preview of the director's attitude towards Dracula's victims.

In the book, Lucy Westenra is a decent, very loved girl whom everyone admires greatly. She is decent and pure and a tragic victim of a cold-blooded predator.

In the movie, Lucy Westenra is a very sleazy girl who takes every opportunity to show her tits and seems perpetually in a state of sexual desire. There is nothing particularly tragic about her death or transformation into a vampire. Her character is paper thin. The actress who played Lucy said Coppola described the character to her as "an exhibitionist with no inhibitions." Nothing in the book suggested any such thing.

Coppola's Lucy
In the book, Mina Harker is Lucy's best friend and also a very decent and popular girl who is intensely in love with her husband, Jonathan, and revolted by Dracula as he preys upon her.

In the movie, Mina Harker is indifferent to her husband and actually begs Dracula to take her and let her drink his blood.

Mina Harker seems to 'date' Dracula in the film
In the book, Van Helsing is a highly intelligent doctor who makes great sacrifices in order to help his friends deal with a terrible medical crisis which turns out to be a sinister attack by Count Dracula. Van Helsing takes a very long time to figure out that a vampire is at work in causing the suffering and ultimate death of Lucy Westenra. Once he realizes this, though, he is determined to put a stop to it, as Lucy's death is very upsetting to him and everyone concerned.

In the movie, Van Helsing is an arrogant, selfish, insulting brute who says mean things and doesn't care who he hurts. His character is not likable or interesting. His faith in God is portrayed in a very 1970s Satan-movie kind of mocking light.

In the book, Dracula is depicted as a classic sociopath, even a complete narcissist. He loves no one and cares only for himself. He feels no pity for his victims and does not care who he hurts in order to get what he wants. He uses people. He even kidnaps babies from their mothers and feeds them to his vampire harem in Transylvania. When the children's mothers show up at his castle screaming for justice, he coldly sends his wolves to tear the women to shreds while he ignores their cries. He is a completely cold-blooded monster.

In the movie, Dracula is a kind-hearted, tragic figure with great power who cares deeply for the women he preys upon. He tells Mina Harker that he doesn't want to inflict upon her the terrible fate of eternal living death that he himself suffers. This is utterly ridiculous.

In the book, the characters who oppose Dracula are average, decent human beings who have come face-to-face with a monster and decided, bravely, to try to stop it.

In the movie, all the characters who oppose Dracula, from Van Helsing to Jonathan Harker, are depicted as mindless, religious brutes with no understanding and absolutely nothing sympathetic about them. They smash Dracula's property and burn down his house in London, none of which they did in the book. In fact, their strategy in the book was to leave no trace of their having been there to warn Dracula, other than that they put holy communion wafers in his boxes of dirt so that he could not rest there and would have to go elsewhere. They smashed and burned nothing in the book. They were not some mob.

In the book, when Dracula comes face-to-face with Van Helsing and the men, they hold up crosses and throw holy water at him while he runs around and tries to dodge them. Then he jumps out a window and runs off, stopping long enough to turn and threaten them, telling them that he can afford to hide for eternity while Mina Harker slowly transforms into an undead vampire because of what he has done to her.

In the movie, Dracula mocks the Christian symbols and sets the crosses on fire, forcing the men to throw them onto the ground. And yet for some odd reason, never explained in the movie since he doesn't fear the Christian symbols, he is unable to attack. The scene makes no sense.

Bram Stoker
The book was written by a man who seemed to respect and understand average people in London and the Christian faith that most people in England shared. His description of Dracula reveals a deep understanding of a criminal mind. He even refers to Dracula as having a criminal mind, a "child brain," that does not learn the way normal people do. In an age before the term "sociopath" had even been defined, in fact a full 50 years before it was defined, Bram Stoker demonstrates a perfect understanding of the personality disorder in his description of Dracula. Van Helsing is depicted as using his understanding of this criminal way of thinking to accurately predict what Dracula will do next, the way FBI profilers do today. But this was written in 1890, long before any FBI profilers ever existed. It required remarkable intelligence and understanding by Bram Stoker to write this story.

The movie appears to have been made by a man who has a drug problem or is in some way experiencing a personality disorder such that he cannot sympathize with normal people and finds himself admiring the most despicable characters. Drug addicts and sociopaths often admire other sociopaths while despising everyone else who does not think and feel like they do, viewing them as weak and inferior and deserving of being preyed upon. Such a man would naturally admire Dracula and the way he uses women as he sees fit before tossing them aside and leaving them to spend eternity ruined and destroyed. Francis Ford Coppola's depiction of Dracula as a heroic and sympathetic figure reveals either that he was either a heavy drug user at the time, a sociopath, or a man who believed that the climate in Hollywood was such that only a film which turned the story on its head, depicting good as bad and dark as light, would receive the necessary funding to be completed. Whatever the case, to anyone who has read the book, his movie was a dark perversion of the story, and not simply another poorly done depiction. It made a lot of money, so apparently he knew what he was doing.

Francis Ford Coppola

I give the book 5 stars out of 5. It is excellent.

I give the movie 2.5 stars out of 5. It had excellent talent in it, but it was a mockery of the story and an insult to Bram Stoker. I disliked it immensely.

You have read this article book review / Dracula / movie reviews with the title Nude Memphis Review: Dracula - Book vs Movie. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...