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Dracula - BBC One - 1, 2, & 3 Jan.


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Hmmmm an adaptation of an old classic involving Dracula, that’s a bit rough and ready, but still promising,!that ends on a *gasp* it’s modern day reveal. Only for the next instalment to completely and utterly shit the bed and dissolve any good will for the endeavour.
 

 

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13 hours ago, grindmouse said:

 

Watch the first two, but switch it off 90 seconds from the end of part two, or after the line 'my friends call me...'. and you'll have a highly enjoyable Dracula two-parter.

 

Nah, watch the whole of episode 2, but think of the ending as a homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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44 minutes ago, Ste Pickford said:

 

Nah, watch the whole of episode 2, but think of the ending as a homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


Or as an intro to an episode of Flying Circus:

 

Spoiler

Dracula emerges from the sea - police cars and helicopters swarm around within seconds. Camera close-up on Dracula’s face as he turns to the lens and says “It’s...!”

 

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I saw the Gatiss documentary on Dracula and laughed at Moffat's mantelpiece, lined with awards that are carefully (and unsubtly) placed in the background of the shot. Not sure if it's hubris, insecurity or both but knowing that Moffat has absolutely blown it again on something as straightforward as Dracula makes me want to peep at the car crash you're all describing.

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I didn’t hate episode 3, I think I have you guys adjusting my expectations to thank for that. It was a hard decline in quality however. I liked some of the writing and ideas, but they got buried in hasty plotting. The main issue is that it felt jarring, muddled and rushed, whereas the previous two episodes felt sharply plotted and luxuriously lengthy. Perhaps if they’d split the series into two parts, two episodes either side of the split, it might have felt more balanced and less rushed? They could have developed some of the new characters more and injected more intensity by drawing out some of the scenarios. 

 

It’s definitely not a total car crash, more of an engine that started misfiring when it got above 20.

Spoiler

Or 2020 lolololol.

 

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5 hours ago, DeciderVT said:

I saw the Gatiss documentary on Dracula and laughed at Moffat's mantelpiece, lined with awards that are carefully (and unsubtly) placed in the background of the shot. Not sure if it's hubris, insecurity or both but knowing that Moffat has absolutely blown it again on something as straightforward as Dracula makes me want to peep at the car crash you're all describing.

It is an incredibly dense and complex piece of literature far from the penny dreadfuls that it was compared to when written - it as anything but straightforward to adapt unless you want to produce a hammer horror. The fact there have been so many adaptations that explore so many facets of the original source is to its credit.

 

If you produce a straightforward Dracula adaptation you have wasted your time. It has been done a thousand times before. This one brings forth something new to the table - is it too smug for its own good? yes probably. Does it take missteps, most definitely. But the final episode takes the section of the book back in England and turns it on its head whilst keeping the characters somewhat in place. Each character represents a tangible trait and this is one thing they get right in this adaptation even in the 3rd episode. Argue the toss about Lucy as much as you like but she is a modern representation of Lucy as portrayed in the novel. It is a common complaint that Lucy is not handled well in adapatations and this one is no exception but it does have some verve about it. I quite liked the way her character developed once she had moved on - in the novel and most adaptations she becomes a simple horror figure - but still serene and beautiful. Here they play with some very dark concepts and this time her finale is handled much better. Beyond that the explanation of Dracula's foibles and the denouement are harder to forgive as they are sketchy at best!

 

The 3rd episode is the weakest but then I found the first a bit too derivative and slavish to the novel in terms of theme so there was a breath of fresh air in the 2nd and a flawed third.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Clipper said:

It is an incredibly dense and complex piece of literature far from the penny dreadfuls that it was compared to when written - it as anything but straightforward to adapt unless you want to produce a hammer horror. The fact there have been so many adaptations that explore so many facets of the original source is to its credit.

 

If you produce a straightforward Dracula adaptation you have wasted your time. It has been done a thousand times before. This one brings forth something new to the table - is it too smug for its own good? yes probably. Does it take missteps, most definitely. But the final episode takes the section of the book back in England and turns it on its head whilst keeping the characters somewhat in place. Each character represents a tangible trait and this is one thing they get right in this adaptation even in the 3rd episode. Argue the toss about Lucy as much as you like but she is a modern representation of Lucy as portrayed in the novel. It is a common complaint that Lucy is not handled well in adapatations and this one is no exception but it does have some verve about it. I quite liked the way her character developed once she had moved on - in the novel and most adaptations she becomes a simple horror figure - but still serene and beautiful. Here they play with some very dark concepts and this time her finale is handled much better. Beyond that the explanation of Dracula's foibles and the denouement are harder to forgive as they are sketchy at best!

 

The 3rd episode is the weakest but then I found the first a bit too derivative and slavish to the novel in terms of theme so there was a breath of fresh air in the 2nd and a flawed third.

 

 

I only just revisited the text in the last month and I simply don't agree that it is incredibly dense and complex. I have no doubt it was at the time, but today not so much. I'm not sure how you tell any supernatural story in these woke times, but giving total credence to a 100 year old story probably isn't the best kicking off point. 

Romero kicksarted a gothic new reality. The dead now walk among the living. But we didn't accept it.  

There is a whole wealth of ingredients for great new fiction. I'm not sure why everyone is still looking beyond it into the past. 

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4 hours ago, kerraig UK said:

I only just revisited the text in the last month and I simply don't agree that it is incredibly dense and complex. I have no doubt it was at the time, but today not so much. I'm not sure how you tell any supernatural story in these woke times, but giving total credence to a 100 year old story probably isn't the best kicking off point. 

Romero kicksarted a gothic new reality. The dead now walk among the living. But we didn't accept it.  

There is a whole wealth of ingredients for great new fiction. I'm not sure why everyone is still looking beyond it into the past. 

you are welcome to disagree

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There were some bits about part 3 I didn't quite get that occurred to me whilst I was watching 

 

Spoiler

When Dracula and Lucy visit the graveyard it is revealed that there are 9 undead buried there. They weren't created by Dracula and other vampires are alluded to, it seemed a bit daft to me that this was almost business as usual and yet the Harker facility had not caught any vampires before. "let's look for any unusual deaths such as someone being drained of all blood and work back from there"  "Lets also look see if any of them come back as undead, just like our founder did"

 

Lucy is cremated and Dracula says "I told her not to do this, oh no" yet his other plans were very detailed and well executed. Considering this was his future immortal bride it seems a bit sloppy that he didn't arrange for a burial in some way or do anything to prevent this. I also think he should have discussed his plans with Lucy beforehand too but maybe I am old fashioned.

 

I wasn't sure what the purpose of the facility was, I wondered if it was to cure diseases like cancer but the conversation with Helsing about her having a dark shadow on her heart implied a possible military/ bio weapon aspect? 

 

Totally agree that the final scene made her seem like a vampire life-coach and I couldn't make the leap as to how any of that would have helped her cause

 

 

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Yes, it's quite inconsistent.

Spoiler

They talk in ep 1 that sometimes just people become undead by chance. And that normally what this means is a sort of semi-sentient, shambling almost zombie-ish vampire. Like the wretches in Dracula's dungeon, or the vampire baby in ep 3. It's also dicussed that Dracula is a major unusualness and a key vector of infection (although it's left unclear if that's because he's the original or just a successful vamp.) It's discussed that Dracula's success is likely down to him being very selective about who he feeds on.

 

Then, when Harker turns, Dracula is surprised about how quickly he returns to life and how much sentience/free will he has. So it's again unusual.

 

So yes, it's really inconsistent that over 100 years building on this that the Harker foundation doesn't seem to have spent much time working on all the normal vampires that just happen naturally. And they leave the purpose of the Foundation entirely unexplored.

 

But I think you're getting into diminishing returns if you examine it too deeply. The answer will just be "we didn't think of that."

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15 minutes ago, Jonnysaxc said:

There were some bits about part 3 I didn't quite get that occurred to me whilst I was watching 

 

  Hide contents

When Dracula and Lucy visit the graveyard it is revealed that there are 9 undead buried there. They weren't created by Dracula and other vampires are alluded to, it seemed a bit daft to me that this was almost business as usual and yet the Harker facility had not caught any vampires before. "let's look for any unusual deaths such as someone being drained of all blood and work back from there"  "Lets also look see if any of them come back as undead, just like our founder did"

 

Lucy is cremated and Dracula says "I told her not to do this, oh no" yet his other plans were very detailed and well executed. Considering this was his future immortal bride it seems a bit sloppy that he didn't arrange for a burial in some way or do anything to prevent this. I also think he should have discussed his plans with Lucy beforehand too but maybe I am old fashioned.

 

I wasn't sure what the purpose of the facility was, I wondered if it was to cure diseases like cancer but the conversation with Helsing about her having a dark shadow on her heart implied a possible military/ bio weapon aspect? 

 

Totally agree that the final scene made her seem like a vampire life-coach and I couldn't make the leap as to how any of that would have helped her cause

 

 

 

 


I need to rewatch part 1 as the "undead" mythos seemed to indicate that undeath was not uncommon and was caused by a contagion. Vampires are one form of undead that seems to be different but can pass on the contagion - Agatha says Dracula passes on contagion in a voiceover and is special but I am sure she mentions other ways.

 The Harker facility was glossed over too much, hints that it was shady with no actual explanation. If I was being uncharitable it sounded as if they wanted to setup the Harker facility as being an ongoing new tv series and so were keeping their powder dry

Dracula is massively egotistical and often sets wheels in motion and assumes it will all go to his grand plan muahahahah. As a result he does get careless. He was witnessed on the ship more than once and totally fucked that up in the end despite the fact he had meticulously planned it all. He left the captain for dead allowing the ship to be blown up as he was over confident in his own plans. I place this in the same category. Basically he is portrayed as this sophisticate but in fact reverts to his anmila instincts often - he is more monster than man but he gives the appearance of being in control always then show him a bit of blood and the animal shows.

 

The rest was them trying to play a very different Dracula/Van Helsing dynamic making them even more entwined than they are in other adaptations - limited success there.
 

 

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Definitely agree with diminishing returns on over analysing! For me if something “takes me out of it “ whilst I’m watching it’s worse than something I think of later. 
 

what does fascinate me is that in general there doesn’t seem to be a part of the process where someone’s job is to say hold on a minute...

 

I did love how they captured the Terence fisher / hammer lighting in the dream sequences I really thought it looked amazing and reminded me very much of the masque of the red death

 

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I'm entirely ignorant of the source material, but watching the documentary that was on BBC2 afterwards has given me a little more insight into what they were trying to do with this adaptation (and from where their inspiration was being drawn). I think on the whole, it was pretty successful, despite the last episode not being up to the same standard, and having twists "for twists' sake". They set up Dracula's "mystery" for a big reveal and then fucked it, but that pretty much always happens. Rarely is a mystery satisfyingly unravelled.

There's still moments to like in ep3, and I enjoyed the performances.

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12 hours ago, Clipper said:

It is an incredibly dense and complex piece of literature far from the penny dreadfuls that it was compared to when written - it as anything but straightforward to adapt unless you want to produce a hammer horror. The fact there have been so many adaptations that explore so many facets of the original source is to its credit.

 


I'm not claiming the novel itself is simple, nor did I make that comparison to other stories. I'm just amused that Moffat appears to have spun lead from gold yet again, especially in light of his award-laden appearance in the documentary and despite the strong source material.

As for the rest of your post, I'll have to see for myself when I watch the rest of the series. The fact that the last episode has received such a negative reception has piqued my curiosity and encouraged me to continue, ironically enough.

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6 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:


I'm not claiming the novel itself is simple, nor did I make that comparison to other stories. I'm just amused that Moffat appears to have spun lead from gold yet again, especially in light of his award-laden appearance in the documentary and despite the strong source material.

As for the rest of your post, I'll have to see for myself when I watch the rest of the series. The fact that the last episode has received such a negative reception has piqued my curiosity and encouraged me to continue, ironically enough.

 

Stoker was missing out on fourth-wall fan winking. Moffat fixes that.

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37 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:


I'm not claiming the novel itself is simple, nor did I make that comparison to other stories. I'm just amused that Moffat appears to have spun lead from gold yet again, especially in light of his award-laden appearance in the documentary and despite the strong source material.
 

My exposure to Moffat is mostly Joking Apart and Coupling along with the odd early Dr Who episode (the angels one when Ecclestone was the Doctor and I think another when the shouty scottish man was Dr Who) so I don't have the recent history to compare to.

 

I was just saying that adapting Dracula isn't straightforward unless you want to make a run of the mill paint by numbers job.

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Let's just say almost everything Moffatt makes eventually ends up being about a morally dubious lonely genius engaged in a patronising relationship with an extremely-powerful British secret agency whose gadget-laden secret mission links the protagonist's apparently small adventures with every important event throughout the past and indeed the future.

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2 hours ago, Alex W. said:

Let's just say almost everything Moffatt makes eventually ends up being about a morally dubious lonely genius engaged in a patronising relationship with an extremely-powerful British secret agency whose gadget-laden secret mission links the protagonist's apparently small adventures with every important event throughout the past and indeed the future.

yes post-ecclestone Dr Who was a bit formulaic in the way they strung together every tiny thing into being about him (the shouty scots one - the english young one was better ish) - that's why I stopped watching it.

 

Didnt watch Sherlock as I have alwyas found the character faintly annoying.

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Oh that leap is what he meant ( i was wracking my brains to work out which one he meant as I'd assumed it was dracula leaping up/onto something) . Cushing (or his stuntman) nails it better but it isn't impossibly athletic - the new version is a nice homage.

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8 hours ago, Clipper said:

Oh that leap is what he meant ( i was wracking my brains to work out which one he meant as I'd assumed it was dracula leaping up/onto something) . Cushing (or his stuntman) nails it better but it isn't impossibly athletic - the new version is a nice homage.

Cushing was surprisingly athletic from what I can gather. He was still  doing his own stunts when he was in his 60's apparently.  And knowing film production in those days probably at even greater risk to himself than an actor would nowadays. 

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32 minutes ago, Purin said:

I was referring to the Olympic athlete style leap by the woman at death's door.

Yes which is referencing Cushings leap at the end of 1958 Dracula. Keep up :P

 

That's a joke btw the keep up bit. 

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2 minutes ago, cassidy said:

Yes which is referencing Cushings leap at the end of 1958 Dracula. Keep up :P

 

That's a joke btw the keep up bit. 

 

Thank you for explaining it to me :P

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