A Comparison of the Novel and the Film "Dracula&quot

One of the famous monsters of our time that has terrorized audiences in many movies is Count Dracula. He is a vampire who has been alive for several hundred years, and keeps himself alive by sucking blood from live victims. The character was created by author Bram Stoker in the novel titled Dracula. In the novel, Dracula is of course the antagonist who would stop at nothing to be with Mina, a women, who looks like his dead wife. The protagonist is a young man from England, Jonathan Harker, who is engaged to Mina he is sent to Transylvania to finalize the Real estate deal in England to Count Dracula. Once Jonathan learns about what is going on, he and his five friends try to bring an end to Dracula. The 1992 film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is an adaptation of the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Dracula is not the usual monster movie you would expect at first. Instead, it’s a very romantic story, portraying the vampire count as a tormented being with emotions that, like his body, never die. By comparing Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, to its film version, many differences and similarities can be seen through character development and events.

Except for the obvious Hollywood romance between characters Mina and Dracula, Stoker's vision is kept throughout. Mina happens to be the reincarnation of Dracula's lost love she then becomes his motivation for traveling to England. Far from what a romance movie would be, the romance unexpectedly enhances it, providing the actions of Harker and the fearless vampire killers with more urgency. The character of Mina Murray, excellently played by Winona Ryder, is a helpful and wanted person. In this modern version there is a great focus on the sexuality of the female that would have never been acceptable in Victorian England. In the novel Mina's character is much more acceptable. She was truly the picture perfect Victorian lady in keeping her emotions in check, operating from her smart side while offering selfless concern for others. When helping Lucy she stated, “ I must have free hands so that I might help her” (page 102.) Mina seems to want to help her friends and family all the time. Her desire to be a help to her future husband, who is missing in the film due to its inaccurate portrayal of her as a passionate woman instead of an intellectual woman who actually solves the mystery surrounding Dracula which is lost in the film.

Dracula's supernatural powers and the limits of his knowledge are also changed in the film. According to the novel Dracula is in a trance like state during the day and is obviously not aware of his surroundings. This presents a problem for Francis Ford Coppola's, the director of this love story so he puts in a bigger role into Anthony Hopkins character, Dr. Van Helsing, stating how “Dracula can move about during the day but his powers are weaker” (page 204.) What is similar is his ability to be a shape shifter. Dracula appears as an old man, a young man (not in the novel), a wolf, a werewolf, mist, and a devil like creature. (In the novel he also appears as a bat.) His vision onto the train that Jonathan Harker was on, his ability to see what is going on hundreds of miles away, and his ability to control the minds of others appear as the presence of Dracula is as described in the novel. Francis Ford Coppola tried his best to keep the description of Dracula’s physical appearance taking great detail in his size, eyes, palms, and fingernails. The only difference is that Dracula in the novel always wears black clothes. “The count was as black as night” (page 66.) In an attempt to make Dracula's character more believable to modern audiences, Coppola gives a background to him that is not in the text but is from actual history. Along with the maps and description of the travel that Dracula does, it achieves the believability that there is a real legend surrounding vampires that originated with Vlad the Impaler.

All the best elements originally from the book are greatly translated to the screen; Harker's seduction by the Brides, the eerie isolation of Castle Dracula and Lucy's venture into the land of the dead to name a few. Both Lucy and Mina lose their Victorian ways through Dracula's influence; they share a lesbian moment in a rainstorm, while Lucy becomes in need, trying to seduce and bite everyone in sight. The sexuality of the book, which caused some considerable controversy at the time of publication in 1897, is symbolized by Lucy's blood red flimsy nightgown. They change from good Victorian girls into creatures far more like Dracula's Brides. Mainly the sexual experiences are the driving force throughout the plot of the film.

Still, this film, in terms of plot, follows the original novel more closely than any other film version. As for the costumes, sets, and art direction, this film is visually boring. With the film being shot entirely indoors (including outdoor scenes), Coppola had full control with his depiction of the environment which is entirely necessary for a film with Gothic intentions; Lighting was moody and the weather satisfyingly violent when the characters were also. Many people critiqued the video and all had many different things to say about it. On the website E-online a respected movie critic stated “There's a whole lotta bloodsucking goin' on here, in the Francis Ford Coppola version of the story of the Transylvanian count who dines on guests” ( Eonline. com.) There where also critics who didn’t enjoy the film and thought it to be cheap and boring. Mashkick a reporter from an online movie review website stated, “everything about it feels fake” (epinions. com.) Those quotations just go to show you that many people think many different things about the works of Bram Stoker.

All in all Bram Stoker’s Dracula did reveal many differences between the novel and the Movie. Mainly seen throughout the characters, and how they possessed minor changes in the film from the original novel. Dracula is a great piece of literature, and an overwhelmingly beautiful film. Personally Dracula left me on the edge of my seat and always wanting more. In short, to miss this movie is one of the best that the horror genre has to offer. To miss it is to miss something great.




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