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YMMV / Bram Stoker's Dracula

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  • Adaptation Displacement: To this day, there are negative reviews in pages like Amazon criticizing the book for not having any of the romance this movie had.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Lucy isn't slutty, she's just flirtatious. Before she's attacked by Dracula she doesn't seem to have slept with any of her suitors, it's only after his attack that she begin to act overtly sexual towards them. This is supported by how Mina acts after being bitten by Dracula, going so far as attempting to seduce Van Helsing.
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  • Awesome Music: Wojchech Kilar's score is excellent. Indeed, the composer went to see the movie in Paris and amazed that loads of audience members hung around for the end credits and left once the "Music by" credit had scrolled up - it should benoted that Kilar's "End Credits" cue, while present on the soundtrack album isn't used in the film, with Annie Lennox's "Love Song for a Vampire (From Bram Stoker's Dracula)." accompanying the credits instead (the song was a top 10 hit in France (...getting to #10).
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Jonathan Harker, depending on whether Keanu Reeves was good at playing the character or not.
    • Mina, with some fans feeling that she is an interesting character and others feel that she's unsympathetic. Winona Ryder's performance as her is still hotly debated to this day; there are some who feel she was horribly miscast and compare her unfavorably to Keanu Reeves, while others feel she did a good job, and a third camp suggests that the problem comes from Mina becoming hard to sympathise with at certain points. There's also the matter of her accent; some feel it's terrible, while others find it decent enough.
  • Broken Base:
    • Mina and Dracula being Love Interests is divisive, especially when compared to the Mina/Jonathan pairing, as some like it while others don't, and others think it would be better if it were handled better while others think it was handled just fine.
    • A lot of fans question how faithful the movie is to the book. Detractors cite the Mina/Dracula romance and the downplaying of Jonathan and making Van Helsing into a more ambiguous figure. Supporters argue that like all literary adaptations, Coppola interpreted the book while remaining faithful to the style and themes of it.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In the scene in which Dracula is approaching London, with a storm marking his arrival, Lucy and Mina run around outside and even kiss... and then forget about it happening right away.
    • Van Helsing laughing like a lunatic while humping Quincey Morris's leg.
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    • Van Helsing's random demonstration of Offscreen Teleportation, which he shows to Dr. Steward and co. to convince them that supernatural things exist. Moreover, he's talking about hypnotism at the time, but no hypnotist is capable of such a feat (unless he just hypnotized them on the spot not to notice him moving around for a few seconds, which would be actually almost as supernatural and is not hinted by the scenography). Basically, the man is a literal wizard, but everybody including himself forget it for the rest of the film.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Van Helsing's hilariously blunt response to Mina's question about her slain friend.
    Mina: Doctor, how did Lucy die? Was she in great pain?
    Van Helsing: (cheerfully) Ja, she was in great pain! Then we cut off her head, and drove a stake through her heart, and burned it, and then she found peace.
    • Even better/worse thanks to the brilliantly horrible Match Cut that precedes it - a shot of Lucy's severed head flying through the air cut to a delicious-looking slice of roast beef on a plate, which Van Helsing tucks into with relish.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Mina, unlike her book counterpart, makes a number of bad decisions that hurt those around her all for a man she's just met and is cheating on Jonathan to be with.
    • Van Helsing, also unlike his book counterpart, is also kind of a dick, more excited with being proved correct about the supernatural than the suffering and misery of his friends.
  • Designated Villain: The vampire hunters receive this treatment towards the end, if Van Helsing's comment about them becoming "God's madmen" is any indication. It may mean that their quest had led to Quincey's death, but it also comes across as a Heel Realization, as if they had became fanatics willing to tramp true love to get their goals... Except for a little thing: the monster they were trying to destroy wasn't an innocent victim, but an enormously destructive creature who had committed many crimes and who could take over England if left unchecked. In fact, they were trying to spare an actual innocent person from the same horrible fate her best friend suffered, whom the three men were in love with.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Any scene involving Tom Waits as Renfield or Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing.
    • Likewise, the brides are pretty well liked.
  • Evil Is Cool: Dracula, specifically in his backstory and later in his youthful form.
  • Evil Is Sexy: For the ladies, you've got Dracula. For the guys, you've got the vampire brides.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: The aged and decrepit Dracula at the beginning of the movie. While the red robe might look fine in the right context, the hairdo just looks silly.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the brides that seduces Keanu Reeves is Monica Bellucci. Years later in The Matrix Reloaded, she would once again have to try to seduce him as the villain's Femme Fatale.
    • Additionally in Van Helsing, Dracula's chief bride is played once again by an Italian. The actress in question - Silvia Colloca - has frequently been compared to Monica Bellucci too.
    • Keanu Reeves, who is rumored nowadays thanks to the Internet to be immortal, plays Jonathan Harker.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dracula may be Ax-Crazy and cruel, but it clearly stems from his Faith–Heel Turn-related Despair Event Horizon and Then Let Me Be Evil — and even then, he still hasn't completely lost his humanity.
  • Narm:
    • A very veritable buffet of it. Whether it's Keanu Reeves' terrible attempt at a British accent, the combined Large Ham of Oldman, Hopkins, Elwes, Frost, and Waits, or Dracula crying tears of... watercolor paint, this movie is a glorious helping of goofiness.
    • Old!Dracula's butt hairdo, ruthlessly parodied by Mel Brooks in Dracula: Dead and Loving It, by The Simpsons in "Treehouse of Horror IV" and by Genndy Tartakovsky and Adam Sandler in Hotel Transylvania 2, is the flagship of the narm in this movie. Added to his fabulous red robe and rubber-like white face, it turns the character's introduction scene into a potential source of hysterical laughter regardless of the viewer's mindset.
    • Lucy's outfits. For some reason Eiko Ishioka decided that her wardrobe would be themed around reptiles. This is fine for her serpent dress — although it still has a scandalously low neckline — but then we get her highly revealing nightdress, complete with flowing scarves and done in various shades of orange, meant to resemble a serpent's belly. And then there's her wedding/burial dress, which was based on a frill necked lizard...
  • Narm Charm: The film is most definitely entertaining for some in spite or because of the ham acting, hilarious costumes and questionable writing. It also helps that it is generally quite stunning to look at.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • That horrible noise near the end of the trailer. Listening to it for a full minute is enough to drive you insane with fear...
    • The Villain Opening Scene. As soon as the priest invokes Lawful Stupid No Sympathy over Elisabeta's suicide, Dracula invokes textbook Mood Whiplash from a grieving husband to practically a rampaging Eldritch Abomination — complete with Scare Chord background music, and blood oozing from the entire room.
    • The scene where Dracula finally turns Lucy into a vampire ends with an echoing scream from her as the whole room is drenched in blood.
    • As Quincy advances on Dracula's bat form, he transforms into an army of rats.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dracula only appears in the bat form in one scene - yet it's incredibly remembered.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Monica Bellucci has a small role as Dracula's lead bride - seven years before her worldwide breakout in Malèna.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: One of the biggest. How much you like the film depends in part on how you feel about the romance (and how annoyingly sexy you find Gary Oldman). Extra squicky because the original attacks from the vampire were clearly meant to invoke rape. A fan-edited version cuts out the love story, which shortens the film by an entire hour.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • When playing the ancient version of Dracula Gary Oldman is wearing very obvious extensions on the tips of his fingers that look more like nipples than fingers. It's not quite the paper tubes Max Shreck wore in Nosferatu but it's the same idea.
    • It was also pretty obvious that his shadow was moving out of sync long before it started moving independently.
    • Keanu Reeves is wearing an incredibly fake looking grey wig in the scene where Dracula is found in Mina's room. What makes this bizarre is that it looks different to his hair in the rest of the film - after he returns from Transylvania it's iron grey, but is a light grey in just that scene.
    • When Van Helsing decapitates the vampire brides just below the level of the camera, he swings the machete at an angle that would make it impossible for him to hit any of them, let alone produce the resulting spray of blood across the wall.
  • Squick:
    • Dracula licking the blood off Harker's razor, as it would have been mixed with the shaving soap.
    • The first time that Dracula attacks Lucy, it looks like he is having really violent sex with her bordering on rape... in his werewolf form.
  • Tear Jerker: Dracula's story, from the intro to the ending. Props to Gary Oldman for invoking a legit Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Despite the title declaring it to be a faithful take on the book (which it is in several narrative and stylistic features), it makes major additions, and character interpretations, that some fans of the book found distasteful, like the romance between Dracula and Mina, the portrayal of Van Helsing as a cackling loony, the changes to Lucy's character (in the book, she's The Ingenue who loves all three suitors, while the film turns her into a flirt who makes all sorts of innuendos in public at her three suitors and tries to seduce them after Dracula attacks her) and all the camp overall.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Mina comes across as pretty unsympathetic, especially because Jonathan is such a loving and devoted husband (if a little boring and stuffy) while she openly longs to be with Dracula, who raped and killed her best friend. It's not helped by the movie never making it clear whether Mina is doing this of her own free will, Dracula is seducing her, or Elisabeta's spirit is overpowering her, or that Love Makes You Dumb and Love Makes You Evil.
  • Vindicated by History: Divisive in its year of release, albeit commercially very successful, two decades hence, it is considered a classic of visual effects, production design, cinematography, and style, with many considering it one of Coppola's best films and one of Gary Oldman's best performances. While there are still complaints and issues raised about the nature of its adaptation, it's generally agreed that it was a movie that proved that there's still a lot of new ways to tell a story as overexposed as Dracula by going back to the source material. It's overall visual style has become quite famous and influential, especially in the popular Bloodborne.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The special effects are all very impressive, and although CGI had begun to come into its own by 1992, this movie's effects are all real. Taken Up to Eleven by the fact that the effects were all done with technology that existed at the dawn of film. Not only is there no CG, there isn't even optical compositing (the primary method of combining multiple elements into one scene before digital compositing was possible). Practical effects and camera trickery were all they used and it looks awesome.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Francis Ford Coppola himself expressed Creator Backlash at casting Keanu Reeves as a Victorian Londoner. Reeves was riding high from Bill & Ted and was chosen as a bankable heartthrob to draw in female viewers.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • Dracula's hairdo when Jonathan first meets him is a frequent target of ridicule. Essentially it looks like a pair of ass cheeks.
    • Lucy's wedding dress was modeled off frilled lizards of all things.


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