Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Collector’s Edition, Blu-ray (1992)

by | Sep 30, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Collector’s Edition, Blu-ray (1992)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 15020
Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English PCM 5.1 uncompressed; English, French, Hungarian, Czech and Polish VO 5.1 surround; Russian 4.0 surround 
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Romanian, Icelandic, Bulgarian
Extras: Audio commentary and introduction by director Francis Ford Coppola; four-part documentary (“The Blood is the Life- The Making of Dracula,” “The Costumes are the Sets – The Design of Eiko Ishioka,” “In-Camera – The Naïve Visual Effects of Dracula” and “Method and Madness – Visualizing Dracula”); Deleted scenes, Trailers
Length: 127 minutes
Movie Rating: ***    AV Rating: ***

Centuries ago, Prince Vlad Dracula sets out on a religious battle to defend the church from Turkish enemies.  Dracula bids farewell to his love Elisabeta, knowing that there is little hope of him returning alive.  Against the odds, Dracula is successful in battle and returns home to be with her.  Unfortunately, Elisabeta had already received false information that Dracula was killed in battle, and being overcome with grief, she took her own life.  Dracula, in a fit of rage over her death, renounces the church and is thereafter transformed into a vampire (an immortal being that relies on drinking the blood of others for sustenance). 

Several hundred years pass and Jonathan Harker, a young clerk from England, is sent to Dracula’s castle in Romania to complete a real estate purchase for him.  Coincidentally, Jonathan’s fiancée, Mina, bears an uncanny resemblance to Elisabeta.  When Dracula sees a picture of Mina, he travels to England to find her and leaves Jonathan trapped in the castle.  Dracula arrives in England, attempts to win Mina’s heart, and drains the blood of victims along the way.  One of Dracula’s victims, a socialite named Lucy, is examined by Dr. Van Helsing who determines that a vampire is responsible for Lucy’s illness.  Van Helsing then gathers a group of men, including Jonathan who has escaped from the castle, to hunt Dracula and save Mina.  I liked this film despite not being a big fan of the vampire genre.  Acting was first-rate, especially that of Oldman and Hopkins, and there was minimal graphic violence and gore given the subject matter. It left things to the imagination, like the best horror efforts. Recommended.

The high definition video quality of this Blu-ray DVD is only average.  Images are somewhat soft but otherwise clean with decent detail.  Blacks are uniformly dark with detail throughout and there is good contrast.  Colors are vibrant and warm with saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is fairly solid with no major flaws or digital compression artifacts although the film grain is definitely evident.  The overall audio quality is also average with the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track (and better with the uncompressed PCM option…Ed.]  The soundtrack is not as dynamic as one might think given the subject matter.  Dialogue is crisp and intelligible.  Utilized for both the sound effects and the ominous music score, the surround channels are a bit subdued.  The low frequency effects channel is selectively utilized.

 – Calvin Harding Jr.

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