February 12, 2007

Dracula on Masterpiece Theater

This doesn't exactly qualify as a review, but last night I watched PBS's presentation of Dracula as done by Masterpiece Theater and I wanted to mention it, since Dracula is one of my favorite books and I tend to love film adaptations of the story, even if they have little to do with the original text. I love the Coppola film version as one that follows Stoker's text pretty faithfully, but I also really like Wes Craven's Dracula 2000, which had little to do with the original text aside from the fact that the vampire's name was Dracula and Abraham Van Helsing tries to stop him. I'm not really a purist, I just like the literary and cultural mythology that's grown up out of Bram Stoker's book

Unfortunately, the Masterpiece Theater version of this often adapted work kind of sucked. Please forgive the pun. I guess they had to fit as much as they could into 1 hour and 45 minutes so they sort of cut and slashed through the story. They fit in new material (like syphilis and a secret cult being the reason for Dracula's arrival on British soil) with some of the tale's more famous elements (like Lucy's sexy death and vampiric resurrection) so haphhazardly that nothing ended up being very well developed.

I can say this though: it does just keep moving. Which I suppose could be considered a good thing, if it weren't so unsatisfying. As the Lemurhubby said last night, "wow, I've definitely heard of a minute feeling like a hour, but not an hour feeling like a minute...at least not in a bad way." It did so much whizzing over both new and familiar territory that you just kind of missed out on any substance. And believe me, Dracula is chock full of substance.

It was sort of breezy, it was sort of pretty. But for my money, check out Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula or Wes Craven's Dracula 2000. Or Bella Lugosi's portrayal for that matter. Or hell, just read the book. Any of those would probably be more satisfying than the Masterpiece Theater version which sort of merrily skipped right over the mark it was trying to hit.

1 comment:

Rianna said...

Good post.