Coppola's stunning masterpiece is an audacious and passionately seductive version of the classic legend. Oldman's extraordinary portrayal of a mysteriously sexual Dracula as he grows young to old, from man to beast, is an amazing metamorphosis. Ryder stars as Mina Murray, fiancée of Jonathan Harker (Reeves) and object of Dracula's devastating desire as he believes she is his beloved wife reincarnated. His sole being as a vampire is set on their reunification as he sets out to reclaim her. Hopkins stars as the famed Dr. Van Helsing, who dares to confront him.
Besides a record breaker for the most subtitles I've even seen on a movie (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish & Turkish), special features, which are available with optional subtitles in various languages, include commentary by Francis Coppola; the following documentaries: The Blood Is The Life—The Making Of Dracula (28 minutes), The Costumes Are The Sets—The Design Of Eiko Ishioka (14 minutes), In-Camera—The Naïve Visual Effects Of Dracula (19 minutes), and Method And Madness—Visualizing Dracula (12 minutes); 12 deleted scenes; the theatrical trailer; the teaser trailer; and additional trailers.
Compared to the Superbit edition (reviewed in Issue 57), this new anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD still shows excellent color fidelity, even looking bolder—while still looking natural—than the previous release. Fleshtones are nicely rendered, and black levels are deep. While details can be delivered well for much of the presentation, there are times when the picture is slightly smeared. Source artifacts are cleaned up very well in this release, when compared to the previous releases, and edge enhancement is still not a problem. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc looks overly soft, and its less-than-perfect shadow delineation can limit the dimensionality of most scenes. Heavy film grain and noise dominate many scenes, but others can look fairly good. Colors are bold and vibrant, but it is not enough to make this one of the better high-definition releases. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack can sound dated on occasion, especially with many effects, but the mix is superb, really keeping the listening space engaged. Spurious effects are delivered excellently around the room, adding to the intrigue and disquietude of Dracula's castle. Deep bass is delivered nicely through each of the full-range channels as well as the LFE. Unfortunately, the distorted, dated effects and music can be distracting, otherwise, this is a well-delivered soundtrack. The Blu-ray Disc's uncompressed linear PCM encoding sounds good, but the increased resolution of the lossless codec makes it easier to notice that the fidelity is slightly dated, with thin, forward-sounding dialogue. Still, the mix is generally exciting and enjoyable. (Danny Richelieu)