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Film / Dracula: The Dark Prince

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A 2013 movie starring Luke Roberts in the title role, Dracula: The Dark Prince is a very loose adaptation that borrows heavily from Bram Stoker's Dracula, though taking place in the 16th century.

Once the Prince of Wallachia and a Romanian knight to the secret Order of the Dragon, Dracula turns away to darkness after his wife Elizabeth is murdered by his advisers, while he was fighting against Muslim invaders. Now he governs over the region as a cruel and heartless vampire lord from his invisible castle that no one can find.

Fastforward to the 16th Century, two Crusader sisters Alina and Esme are tasked with delivering Leonardo Van Helsing a mysterious staff that is said to be the only weapon capable of killing Dracula called "Lightbringer". On their way, they are accosted by a band of thieves lead by Lucien and promptly attacked by a group of knights lead by a dark figure known as Wraith, who kidnaps Alina and takes her to his master. Dracula finds an uncanny semblance to the female warrior with his long-dead wife and the two start to fall in love with each other.

Meanwhile, Esme embarks on a quest to rescue her sister with the help of Lucien (who is revealed to be the only one capable of wielding the Lightbringer) and Van Helsing. But can the heroes stand in the way to love that managed to survive the ages?

Not to be confused with Christopher Lee's similarly named Dracula: Prince of Darkness or Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula.

Dracula: The Dark Prince features the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Count Dracula is tied to the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel. According to the legend, he is a descendant from Abel and he can only be killed by a Cain direct's descendant, revealed to be Lucien. This movie also states that Abraham's ancestors have been in conflict with Dracula long before his encounter with them in the novel.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Reinfield. In the original novel, he was a demented asylum resident who somehow fell to Dracula's power and became his servant until he pulled a Heel–Face Turn. In this movie, not only is he a vampire, but also the true instigator of Dracula's Start of Darkness.
  • Artistic License – History: There were no more Crusades by the time Vlad III lived, let alone in the centuries that followed. Yet Crusader knights are depicted after the prologue wandering during the 1500s. Ironically, while female Crusaders like Alina and Esme may seem unrealistic, it was not too uncommon.
  • Big Bad: Dracula, who is terrorizing the land and kidnaps Alina at the start of the story. It turns out that the real villain is Reinfield for having murdered Elizabeth and triggered Dracula's fall of grace.
  • Canon Foreigner: With the exception of Dracula, Reinfield and possibly the vampire brides, everyone else in the plot is an original character or an Expy.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Downplayed. While Esme and Alina are not wearing lingerie into battle and their costumes are very modest, it still bares more skin than their male Crusader counterparts at the start of the movie, who are fully armored.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Of all thieves they could have run into, Alina and Esme just so happen to meet up with one who is actually Cain's descendant and turns out to be the only one that can use the Lightbringer.
  • The Descendants of Cain: The lineages of both Cain and Abel from Bible have lasted for centuries and the two have been in conflict with each other. Dracula descends from Abel while Lucien is from Cain.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wallachia is freed from the vampires, Reinfield is killed for starting the whole thing and Dracula is mortally injured. However, Alina chooses to remain by his side and wait his return, while Lucien departs heartbroken for her having chosen Dracula. Its also pretty much stated that Dracula will return in the future and that the heroes' descendants will fight him once again.
  • Co-Dragons: Reinfield and Wraith to Dracula; the former serves as his direct adviser while the latter is his enforcer and military leader. Wraith turns out to be the only loyal one.
  • The Chosen One: Lucien, as the descendant of Cain, is able to wield the Lightbringer and is the only one capable of killing Dracula.
  • Decadent Court: Dracula's court both past and present. Back in 1453, his advisers plotted to overthrow him and killed his wife when she was left in charge to rule Wallachia because they didn't like her vision. In the present, his castle is populated by ravenous and cruel vampires.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Lucien is built up as The Chosen One since he can wield the Lightbringer, but the movie gives a big focus to the romance between Dracula and Alina. Turns out that Dracula isn't even the Big Bad - Reinfield is, and its Esme who dispatches him.
  • Dying as Yourself: Leonardo is bitten during Alina's rescue attempt and uses a crossbow to allow his friends to flee from the castle by breaking the ceiling, which also exposes him to sunlight and kills him.
  • Expy:
    • Alina is one to Mina Harker/Murray from Bram Stoker's Dracula, since she is the reincarnation of Dracula's wife Elizabeth.
    • Lucien could be considered one to Jonathan Harker since the two are Decoy Protagonists of their respective versions.
    • Leonardo Van Helsing to Abraham, though it could be argued he is a distant ancestor.
  • Fanservice Extra: Dracula's brides are all nearly-nude female vampires that stand in the background and don't talk much.
  • Haunted Castle: Dracula's Castle, naturally. Unlike most examples, its hidden very well by a invisibility cloak that hides it from prying eyes and as such, no one knows where it is.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Only a descent of Cain is able to activate the Lightbringer and turn it from a staff into a Sinister Scythe. Reinfield is able to bypass this issue entirely by biting Lucien and spitting his blood on the staff, allowing him to use it.
  • The Punishment: Its not shown how Dracula became a vampire in this movie, but legends state that divine retribution turned him into an undead monster after he renounced God when his own priests and holymen murdered his wife.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Dracula falls in love with Alina, due to her being Elizabeth's reincarnation. She also falls in love with him too.
  • Sibling Team: Alina and Esme, at the start of the movie at least until the former is kidnapped by vampires, and Esme spends the rest of the movie trying to rescue her.
  • The Starscream: Reinfield turns on Dracula during the final battle and reveals himself to have been behind his suffering centuries ago, as he was the one to have personally killed Elizabeth.
  • Tragic Villain: Dracula.
  • Uncertain Doom: Lucien is bitten during the final battle by Reinfield and is seen walking away into a unknown destination, implying he may have been turned into a vampire.
  • Where Is Your X Now?: Wraith gloats "Where is your God now?" to a dead crusader at the start of the movie.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Francis Ford Coppolla's Bram Stoker's Dracula, since its also a Reincarnation Romance story with even a similar opening (where Dracula departs to fight against the Ottomans and the death of his wife triggers his fall to darkness), albeit updated in the 16th Century rather than the late 19th Century and featuring a whole different cast.