Dracula 2000 (R)
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This came out in 2000, as you might guess from the title. I didn't see it until 2015... on August 31. I had bought a DVD containing this movie and its two sequels sometime probably shortly prior to Halloween in either 2013 or 2014 (I forget), but didn't get around to watching it. But then on this day in 2015, facebook had mentions of Wes Craven dying. I'm not particularly familiar with his work, but I'm familiar with his name. I don't know how much involvement he actually had with this movie, but it's billed as "Wes Craven Presents..." (which can mean anything or nothing). In any event, I decided this would be a good time to finally watch it. I'm not sure quite what I was expecting, but I don't think it was quite what the movie turned out to be. I mean, trying to think back to ads I saw for the movie before it came out (fifteen years ago), if I remember anything, it's the idea of there being, like, three hot "brides" of Dracula. And they're here, but not really as important as I expected them to be. I guess. Another thing I kind of expected was that the movie would suck. Certainly it didn't do well critically. But I liked it more than I expected to. It's kind of silly, but there are bits I found genuinely amusing. And bits I found genuinely cool or sort of badass. Maybe bits I found sort of scary. And bits I found sort of interesting. Also it had a decent cast.
It starts out with a brief scene of a sailing ship in the 19th century, but that's not important. The story really begins in the year 2000, in London. There's this old man named Matthew Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer), who owns an antiques dealership (apparently a very lucrative business). He has a couple of employees named Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) and Solina (Jennifer Esposito). One day a group of thieves break into Van Helsing's vault, and it turns out that Solina is working with them. A couple of the thieves are killed by booby traps, but the rest of them get away with a coffin they found in the vault. They fly toward the U.S., and one of the thieves (played by Danny Masterson) is tasked with figuring out how to open the coffin, which is pretty tightly sealed. When he does, it turns out to contain Dracula (Gerard Butler), who turns the thieves into vampires (and Solina becomes one of the "brides"). The plane crashes in a town near New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is currently going on. (I cannot imagine a better venue for Dracula's first appearance in America.)
Meanwhile, Van Helsing has been tracking Dracula, and unbeknownst to him, Simon has been following him. Also, there's a young woman named Mary, who has been having nightmares about Dracula. And it turns out she's Van Helsing's daughter. It also turns out that "Matthew" is actually Abraham Van Helsing, having previously claimed to be the grandson of Abraham (an inspiration for the character in Bram Stoker's book). I really don't want to say too much about all this (assuming I haven't already). But Dracula has a keen interest in finding Mary. But first, he turns a couple of other women into vampires: there's a reporter played by Jeri Ryan (who covered the crash of the plane that Dracula was on), and Mary's roommate/coworker, Lucy. Oh, and before I forget, Nathan Fillion had a small role as a priest. And um... Simon eventually tracks down Mary, and tries to explain things to her. And we learn an interesting twist on Dracula... something I saw coming a while before it was revealed, but it was still... crazy. (And kind of made sense, I guess, in a weird way.) Also... supposedly Van Helsing had tried everything he could think of to kill Dracula, but it was impossible. Nothing that killed other vampires killed him. (And then in the end, one of the main things you would think of as deadly to vampires killed him, so... I dunno, man. Weird.)
It's kind of a redonk movie, but not too redonk. Mostly I just thought it was fun. You know, not really good, but... not bad.
Followed by Dracula II: Ascension