Bram Stoker’s Dracula 4K Blu-ray
By Chris Heinonen on
From award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola comes the remake of the classic and chilling tale about the devastatingly seductive Transylvanian prince (Gary Oldman) who travels from Eastern Europe to 19th century London in search of human love. After centuries alone in his crumbling castle, Dracula’s taste for humanity has grown bold with desire, drawing him out of seclusion. When the charismatic Dracula meets Mina (Winona Ryder), a young woman who appears as the reincarnation of his lost love, the two embark on a journey of romantic passion and horror. Now fully remastered in 4K, experience this sensual gothic spectacle like never before.
I’m just going to come out and say I did not enjoy this retelling of Dracula, at all. Usually, I’m a fan of Coppola, but it just didn’t work for me. What was happening on-screen was often confusing, the image is overly dark and moody to make watching it enjoyable, and the acting from Keanu Reeves was lacking.
The original version was almost 30 minutes longer, which I imagine would make it either a very bloated mess or somehow bring everything together to make far more sense. If you’ve seen it before and enjoyed it, you’ll like this disc. If you haven’t, be prepared for a film that might be far different than what you (or I) are expecting.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was shot on 35mm but gets the benefit of a 4K transfer for this release. Just like 4K can show the flaws in special effects with newer titles, it will show the flaws in the source materials of older titles. On 4K Blu-ray you can see far more film grain in the original negative and also far more detail. Unfortunately the original negative does not look great, with soft shots, images that are too dark, and an overall lack of detail. Special effects from 1992 look very dated here and do not shine in 4K. There are also a number of scenes where the color grading look off, with a red/orange push to the image while many other scenes look fine.
The overall image quality is highly variable from scene to scene, but most of this looks to be because of the negative. There are some spots that look to be noisier but that could also be from the original stock. Giving this transfer four stars for video feels fair as it is capturing what it on the negative, but it also is not something you’d even pull out to show off your home theater. If I was grading just on the quality of the image it would be closer to three stars, but 4K Blu-ray can’t suddenly make shots that were out of focus originally be clear. I can only think of a couple of uses of HDR in the movie, and overall the image is dark.
The soundtrack is much better than this, with decent use of the Atmos channels and good use of the surrounds. Voices are usually easy to understand, but sometimes they can be harder to hear than you would like. For a catalog title that wasn’t originally in directional audio, it is a pleasure to listen to, but was also already released on Blu-ray in Atmos.
- Reflections in Blood: Francis Ford Coppola and Bram Stoker’s Dracula
- Practical Magicians: A Collaboration Between Father and Son
- Deleted Scenes
- 4 Legacy Featurettes
- Audio Commentary & Film Introduction by Director Francis Ford Coppola
- 1993 Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola and Greg Cannom
Sony A1E OLED, Sony UBP-X800 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio XS30se Subwoofer.
Improved detail and soundtrack compared to previous versions of the film.
Original negative is soft and many images are murky, some color push issues, the story.
Bram Stoker's Dracula certainly didn't resonate with me, but the 4K Blu-ray shows all the details on the original negative, for better or worse. The soundtrack is better than most older films, and it might be as good as it will get for this film.