"They have brought war to our land and they will pay dearly for it," Vlad (Luke Evans) tells the people he is bound to protect. If all I had to go on was a clip of the film, like the trailers and the one above, I would--again--feel this was going to be a pro-socialist film, however, I assure you, there could be nothing further from the truth. As ISIS massacres innocent people in the Middle East (especially Christians) as they try to re-establish the caliphate, Dracula Untold makes it clear that the history that has gone "untold" is that of how Vlad the Impaler stopped the marching of Islam from spreading throughout Europe and, at least twice, the film insinuates the importance of this, which is just one of two reasons why the film is so important; the second reason is a massive spoiler, so if you haven't seen the film, I do urge you to do so before reading this review because it is worth it. Ultimately, as we watch the narrative play out, the film serves as a warning for Americans about to launch our own revolution to take back our country that, once we get a taste of blood, we will be consumed by it.
They are never, ever about history.
1994 when the last vestiges of the former Soviet Union were laid to rest and the communist country no longer posed a threat to America's freedom, the Cold War being finally over. That is the twenty years of peace to which Dracula Untold refers, but which can't continue because of three enemies in the film: the Turks, the socialists (which the demeanor and practices of the Turks embody) and the threat of the Master Vampire wearing the business suit at the end of the film.
Mehmed the Conqueror, or Mehmed II, was caliphate of the Muslim world when Vlad was a prince in his homeland. On one hand, we can say that Mehmed is a good leader, in the sense that he knows how to get his men to fight: when Medmed gets news of Vlad's incredible strength and speed in defeating his forces, he blindfolds all his army, thinking that, if they can't see Vlad, they won't be afraid of him, and the technique actually seems to work. On the other hand, we can clearly deduce that Mehmed is a vicious barbarian because of his cheap estimation of fatherhood, individuality and even spirituality (he's marching in the name of Islam, but we never see him do anything "devout").
The atmosphere and purpose for his being in the Turkish court were so that he would become a monster; everything was tuned to bring out the very worst in him for the advantage of the Turks. Once he returned to his homeland, his wife, son and responsibilities as a ruler were meant to insure that the very best was brought out in him, so he could bring out the best in others; it appears that it worked. So, when Mehmed's envoy comes, like the Persian envoy in 300 asking for "Earth and water" as a sign of Leonides' allegiance to Xerxes, Mehmed asks for 1,000 boys along with the silver tribute. This scene introduces us to the problem that will almost be the death of Vlad towards the end: silver.
dhimmi or jizyah, a tax levied upon all non-Muslims by Muslims for not being Muslim. This does two things: first, it builds up the treasury of the Muslim government so they can stay armed and well-funded, and it depletes the treasury of the one's paying the tax so they cannot arm themselves or wage war. So how does this play into silver hurting a vampire?
|Mehmed wears the gold armor because earthly gold is what he values, not spiritual riches and wisdom; again, we will probably see this dichotomy in Exodus with Ramses.|
First, the power.
To begin with, Vlad's agreement to pay tribute to Mehmet was the "first step" towards making the deal with the devil (the Master Vampire) because, again, it kept Vlad from being able to raise an army to defend his people (and make no mistake about it, the film is clear that, because they cannot protect themselves, they are at the mercy of Mehmet, so this is strongly supporting the 2nd Amendment) but also because Vlad turned to the devil instead of God for help; in making his deal with the devil, he risked the souls of the entire community--as we see this clearly when Vlad turns his people who are dying into vampires to help him defeat Mehmet after drinking Merina's blood because they would not have been damned had it not been for him bringing them that power--so Vlad has spread the devil among them. What choice was really left for Vlad?
|There is a popular story of Gaius Popillius Laenas, a Roman senator who was sent on behalf of Rome to keep war from breaking out in Egypt. The old man, all by himself, walked out in front of the advancing enemy army and, with his staff, drew a line in the sand and told the enemy commander, if you cross this line, you are at war with Rome. After careful thought for a few moments, the commander turned his army around and went back home, demonstrating the might and power of Rome in just one old man being able to turn back an entire army with nothing but a stick (the actual account is slightly different, popular culture embellishing it) but in this scene, and a few other scenes where Vlad goes out to meet the overwhelming Turkish force on his own, I kept thinking of this story. In this scene, it's supposed to be noon, with full daylight, but Vlad has completely blocked out the light of day, demonstrating how dark his own soul has become by how dark he has made the sky.|
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