Van Helsing (DVD, 2009, WS; Collector's Edition; $5 Halloween Candy Cash Offer) Reviews
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Van Helsing (DVD, 2009, WS; Collector's Edition; $5 Halloween Candy Cash Offer)

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Hugh Jackman Battles Dracula While Showing Lots of Skin in Van Helsing

May 7, 2004 (Updated Oct 13, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Hugh Jackman and Richard Roxburgh. Entertaining movie. Hugh showed some skin.

Cons:Not a lot of character development

The Bottom Line: Van Helsing was entertaining, but this isn't a movie for everyone.


I had been wanting to see Van Helsing for months. I like vampire movies and I like Hugh Jackman. I thought the previews looked interesting. I did something I rarely do, and saw the movie on opening day. The last few days haven’t been the best and I just needed to get out and forget for a few hours. Van Helsing helped me do that.

Van Helsing worked for a secret religious society that no one else knew existed. He battled demons and monsters that the churches couldn’t deal with. He had no memory of his past. Van Helsing was a wanted man and considered a murderer because the demons he killed looked normal when they died. Cardinal Jinette had a new job for Van Helsing. He was to go to Transylvania and deal with Dracula. The Valerious family had been fighting Dracula for centuries, but only Anna and Velkan remained. Cardinal Jinette said that Van Helsing may find answers about his past in Transylvania.

Van Helsing hadn’t fought vampires before. He received some supplies from Carl, a friar who invented some unique things. Cardinal Jinette decided that Carl was to go with Van Helsing this time. Carl wasn’t happy to hear that, but he went. In Transylvania, Anna and Velkan were trying to catch a werewolf. Things didn’t go like they planned, and only Anna remained when Van Helsing and Carl arrived. The two men didn’t receive a warm welcome. Then Dracula’s brides turned up and Van Helsing showed what he could do. Anna didn’t want to admit that she needed his help.

Dracula and his brides were planning something. Dracula was going to attempt an experiment again that had failed the year before. Anna and Van Helsing were trying to find a way to stop him. Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster were connected to Dracula in some way. Dracula also used werewolves. Igor ended up working for Dracula.



CAST

Hugh Jackman - Van Helsing
Kate Beckinsale - Anna Valerious
Richard Roxburg - Count Vladislas Dracula
David Wenhem - Carl
Shuler Hensley - Frankenstein’s Monster
Elena Anaya - Aleera
Will Kemp - Velkan
Kevin J. O’Connor - Igor
Alun Armstrong - Cardinal Jinette
Silvia Colloca - Verona
Josie Maran - Mariska
Samuel West - Dr. Victor Frankenstein
Robbie Coltrane - Mr. Hyde
Stephen Fisher - Dr. Jekyll

Stephen Sommers - Writer and director

Van Helsing was released on May 7, 2004. The move was 132 minutes long and rated PG-13. There wasn’t anything too violent in the movie, but I don’t think this is a movie for young children. There weren't any sex scenes in the movie. The brides and Dracula had a few scenes that had some sexual undertones. The brides were dressed in a way that would show off their bodies. Anna's clothes covered her, but did reveal her curves. Van Helsing was usually wearing a lot, but a few times near the end of the movie he turned up wearing very little. There was no actual nudity in the movie.

Van Helsing featured characters from classic monster movies. Van Helsing has turned up as a supporting character in most Dracula movies. He was also an older man in those movies. In this movie, he was the main character, and a much younger man. He still battled Dracula, along with other characters like werewolves, Frankenstein’s monster, and even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde briefly. There was a reason for why werewolves and Frankenstein were connected with Dracula. The movie opened with a re-creation of scenes from Frankenstein, showing how Dracula was involved even then. Those scenes were in black and white. Dr. Frankenstein created his monster the same way, though he did look a little different. The werewolves did change form during the full moon, but their transformation was a little different as well. Many things about Dracula were the same, but there were some different things with him as well. When he wrote the script, Stephen Sommers added some twists to the classic characters to make them a little new and different. I wasn’t bothered by the things that were different, but some people might not like the changes.

There was a lot going on in Van Helsing. The main focus of the movie dealt with Van Helsing going after Dracula, but there were some sub plots concerning Van Helsing’s past, the Valerious family, Frankenstein, and the werewolves. The sub plots did come together later in the movie. Yes it was a bit far fetched, but that is normal for a movie like this. There was an actual reason for Frankenstein’s monster and the werewolves to be in the movie other than just being more monsters for Van Helsing to battle. I thought that the reasons did make sense. The plot wasn’t that complicated, but a few things happened that I didn’t expect. The movie kept my interest and entertained me. Nothing that happened bored me.

There was action throughout Van Helsing. There was some violence in the movie, but it wasn’t that bad. Since this was a vampire/monster movie, I did expect there to be some violence in the movie. Van Helsing and Anna fought several vampires and some other creatures. Some of those things did die. There were a few things that happened that did startle me a bit, but the movie really wasn’t scary. It was entertaining. There were explosions at different time during the movie. The fact that Van Helsing couldn’t remember his past added a bit of mystery to the movie. That bit of mystery wasn’t that complex or hard to figure out. It did add some interesting elements to the Dracula legend. It really wasn’t a suspenseful movie. I wasn’t sure what would happen a few times, but it was fairly predictable. That didn’t bother me. This type of movie usually is predictable. There were a few things said here and there, or that happened that were a little funny. Carl said or did most of those things. He seemed to be around mainly to lighten the mood at times.

Special effects were used throughout Van Helsing. It was obvious that some things were done with effects, like the transformations, but they blended in well with the movie. I thought there were well done. I did see a special on tv about the movie that shared how some things for the movie were done. There were elaborate sets created for some of the locations. Special things were built for the cameras to be able to give a realistic view of some of the sets from the view of a flying vampire. CGI was used for some things in the movie. I think that was well done as well. Some characters required extensive makeup, like Igor and Frankenstein’s monster. The makeup added to those characters.

Van Helsing did remind me some of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. All three movies were written and directed by Stephen Sommers. There was action and adventure in all the movies, along with a little humor here and there. At times, Van Helsing and Anna reminded me a little of Rick and Evie from the Mummy movies. Carl reminded me a bit of Jonathan as well. Some unbelievable things happened in all the movies. There were monsters of some kind in all of them and a lot of special effects. I liked the Mummy movies and I liked Van Helsing. People that enjoyed the Mummy movies may also enjoy Van Helsing. People that like vampire movies or some of the old monster movies may also like this movie, though they should keep in mind that there are changes, and that the characters are different.

I thought that the acting in Van Helsing was good. Hugh Jackson was good as Van Helsing. He was believable in the part. I have seen him in several movies now, and he has been different in each character. Van Helsing and Wolverine, the character Jackson played in the X-Men movies, did share some traits. They were both fighters and they couldn’t remember their pasts. The characters look different, and acted differently. I’ve only seen Kate Beckinsale in one other movie, Underworld. In that movie, she was a vampire instead of someone hunting vampires. When I first saw the previews for Van Helsing, I had no idea who was playing Anna. She did speak with an accent during the movie. I noticed it more in some scenes than others. I didn’t realize who was playing Dracula until recently. Richard Roxburg looked completely different from how he did in Moulin Rouge and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His Dracula was different from how the character has been portrayed in previous movies, but I thought he played the part well. David Wenham did well as Carl. This role was very different from the part he played he played in the last two The Lord of the Rings movies. Kevin J. O’Connor has turned up in several Stephen Sommers movies before. Igor wasn’t a nice character, much like the other characters I have seen him play before. He looked different because of the makeup and I only recognized him because of his voice. Robbie Coltrane appeared briefly at the beginning of the movie.

CHARACTERS

Van Helsing - He fights demons and monsters for a secret religious society. He had no memory of his past. He was conflicted about what he was asked to do at times.

Carl - He was a friar that invented things for the secret society. He ended up traveling to Transylvania with Van Helsing. Carl wasn’t use to having to deal with monsters. He was more comfortable with books and his experiments.

Anna - Member of the Valerious family that had been fighting Dracula for centuries. She and her brother were the only remaining members of the family. She didn’t like admitting that she needed help. She was a strong woman.

Dracula - He was a strong, powerful vampire that lived in Transylvania. He had been battling the Valerious family for centuries. He was planning something and didn’t want Van Helsing to mess it up.

Velkan - Anna’s brother. He hated Dracula as much as Anna did.

Aleera, Verona, and Mariska - Dracula’s brides. They were just as brutal as Dracula. They knew what his plan was. They kept going after Anna.

I really enjoyed Van Helsing. This wasn’t a serious movie and shouldn’t be taken seriously. This is a movie to watch just for entertainment. People who don’t like vampire movies, monster movies, or who hated the Mummy movies may want to miss this one.


Related Reviews
X-Men ~ X2: X-Men United ~ Kate and Leopold ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ~ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ~ Moulin Rouge ~ The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ~ The Mummy ~ The Mummy Returns ~


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