Dracula Untold

Featured In Issue 195, March 2015

WSR Score4.5
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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Gary Shore
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Dracula Untold is the story of the origin of one of legend’s most captivating figures. The year is 1462 and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, the prince of Wallachia (Evans). But when Sultan Mehmed II (Cooper) demands 1,000 of Wallachia’s boys––including Vlad’s own son––become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must enter into a Faustian bargain to save his family and his people. He gains the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star, and the power to crush his enemies. In exchange, he’s inflicted with an insatiable thirst for human blood that could force him into a life of darkness and desert all that he holds dear.

Special features include commentary with Director Gary Shore and Production Designer François Audouy; four featurettes: Day In The Life––Luke Evans (HD 10:05), Luke Evans––Creating A Legend (HD 19:46), Dracula Retold (HD 06:55), and Slaying 1000 (HD 05:03); The Land Of Dracula; an alternate opening (HD 02:11); six deleted scenes with optional commentary by Shore and Audouy (HD 13:00); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture is gorgeously warm and rich, with strong saturated colors throughout, even in scenes with fire-lit interiors. Primaries are strongly hued with deep reds and earthy tones. Fleshtones are warmly hued and varied, depending on the light. Contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Dark scenes, which are prevalent throughout, retain definition, with blacks nicely defined. Resolution is excellent, as well with fine detail exhibited, especially in close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing, blades, and object texture. The imagery is darkly cast and hauntingly magnificent. This is an epic picture with strong dynamic contrasts and reference-quality imagery.

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is sweepingly dynamic and expansive, with an aggressively directional holosonic® soundfield. The orchestral music score is wide and deep, expanding to the surrounds and providing envelopment. Sound effects and atmospherics are dynamic and dimensional, and at times powerfully delivered with deep, energized sub-25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. The attack of the bats is spectacular, with effects panned to every channel. Dialogue consistently remains intelligible and spatially integrated throughout. This is a reference-quality soundtrack with epic character that is sure to please.