29 December 2006 | keysersoze13
Messy and disappointing but entertaining.
The new BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula is flawed but makes for enjoyable viewing. It seemed so promising, with a great cast and the aim to create an exciting new take on the old tale. Also, the BBC rarely produce a bad piece of TV drama.
So where did it all go wrong? I think the sometimes drastic changes from the source material were poorly constructed. The writing was competent but the plot dragged and never really flowed. Characters were underwritten and, despite the efforts of the talented cast, remained unconvincing throughout. The character of Jonathan Harker was reduced to a couple of scenes, then disappeared, leaving Lord Holmwood to become the main character. The changes were supposed to bring freshness to an often told story but paled in comparison to the original story; which, told well, is an exhilarating experience.
The casting was perhaps the production's strongest point, though the script never did justice to the characters. Talented young actors Rafe Spall, Dan Stevens and Sophia Myles were wasted in their roles, but Stevens in particular did well to convincingly portray Holmwood despite the dodgy dialogue he had to contend with. Marc Warren made a decent attempt at the Count but his was the most severely underwritten role, and because of this Dracula is never menacing, just some foreign bloke who likes blood. The standout performance came from David Suchet, as Abraham Van Helsing, who stole the limited screen time he was given.
This telling of Stoker's tale was competent but largely dull, benefiting from some interesting acting and a decent ending.