The chief complaint I hear about this movie is about its unfaithfulness to the actual novel, which is a very valid claim, as it is quite true, and particularly jarring, given the title of the film. Dracula is now far removed from his incarnation as the festering force of evil and darkness, and instead is presented as a broken-hearted attempt at The Woobie
. His desire to feed on and enslave Mina now is replaced by him loving her, as the reincarnation (somehow) of his long lost love.
The film's lack of faith to the original book nonwithstanding as a flaw however, there are three very large problems with this movie:
1. The romance simply is not entertaining or believable. It is one of the biggest Romantic Plot Tumors
I've ever seen in a movie, as nearly every scene between Dracula and Mina not only undoes any sympathy for the character of Mina, as we are being expected to respect her infidelity, but it also undoes whatever actual gravitas and menace that Dracula has. Compounded by the fact that the majority of their shared scenes consists of them repeatedly telling each other how much they love each other, or alternating between staring "soulfully" into each other's eyes, and making out.
2. The film's horror elements fail abysmally.
3. The acting. Good lord, the acting. Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder seemed to be locked in combat as to who can deliver the flatter performance, with Keanu winning just a few snores ahead. Nearly every female character's performance seems to be comprised of 90% semisexual moaning and panting, and 10% confessing how much they love whatever male characters they share the scene with. Oldman's performance as Dracula is decent, as long as he isn't sharing the scene with Ryder; when he is, the character just falls apart with pseudoromantic blandness. Anthony Hopkins' performance is the one that really sticks with me however, mainly because he seemed to have snorted a line of cocaine before each take. The performances of the rest of the cast are rather forgettable, with the possible exception of the equally insane acting Tom Waits
The fanservice element of the movie was also completely unnecessary. Lucy seemed to have spent almost half of her screen time with her breasts exposed, which really felt completely out of place with the time period.
Overall, I'd give the film a C minus.