Van Helsing Movie Review
Van Helsing – the legendary vampire slayer and the hero of one of the most expensive films of the past summer – has just appeared on DVD. A two-disc edition of the image that I had the pleasure to see deserves attention not only because of the content.
Horror movies from the 1930s and 1940s are still alive despite the passage of time, and although today they play more often than they threaten, there are probably no people among us who would not know, for example, what Boris Karloff looked like in Frankenstein. Monsters populating cinemas at this time today create a gallery of unforgettable characters, and their images have permanently entered mass culture.
No wonder that in Hollywood, which is very keen on remakes now, producers are more and more willing to decide to introduce new and recognized characters into new films. The fruit of this idea is the latest film by Stephen Sommers entitled “Van Helsing”, where the heroes of the most famous, classic horrors of Universal Studio: Dracula and his fiancée, Frankenstein monster, werewolf and Mr. Hyde meet. All of them will have to face Van Helsing, the legendary monster hunter, which most of you should perfectly associate with the cards of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” .
In the Sommers movieGabriel Van Helsing works on the services of a secret order based in the Vatican, for whom the hunter deals with monsters all over the world. The next order will take him to the distant Transylvania, where he will have to face Count Dracula and his demonic allies. The battle is supported by the beautiful Anna Valerious, the last member of the ancient family for centuries struggling with vampires.
The films in which the heroes of various productions met were nothing new. In the 1940s, such titles as “House of Frankenstein”, “House of Dracula”, and comedy “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein” were created , where the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, the werewolf, appeared,”Van Helsing” is a conscious reference to this type of production.
Already the black and white start of the painting depicting the birth of the Frankenstein monster in which Samuel West cries insane, as did Colin Clive – ‘It’s Alive!’Over 60 years ago. It suggests that we will have to deal with production that does not shy away from pastiche. Unfortunately, disappointment comes after the promising start. Very quickly, “Van Helsing” turns out to be another megaproduction, in which the interesting promising idea was reduced to a continuous stream of chases, explosions and special effects.
Watching “Van Helsing” I could not resist the impression that Stephen Sommersworking on the script, he thought about his work more like a Van Helsing computer game. The whole picture consists of continuous fights with monsters, between which appear short fragments “pushing” the whole story forward. For this reason, the plot of “Van Helsing” is thin and naive to the point of pain and sometimes also lacking any logic. For example, from the movie we will not find out why Drakula can only be killed in one way (and it is not about the aspine peg, garlic or holy water). The heroes simply inform us that they need to, but they do not find time to explain the reasons for their actions.
Unfortunately, the Van Helsing list of defects does not end on the scenario . The film does not imply the way of implementation.”Mummy returns” Sommers proved that having too large a budget tends to exaggerate the use of special effects and “Van Helsingiem” only weakness confirms. The picture is full of digital special effects, which are sometimes too many (do vampires have grotesquely contorted faces during the transformation?) And secondly it is clearly visible that they are the work of computer animation specialists, which makes them look just like “effects”, not on an integral part of the film.
At this point, however, you have to give honor to Allan Cameron , who used modern technology to create a wonderful set design evidently inspired by classic horror movies (in the background obligatory thunderstorm).
“Van Helsing” defends itself from the acting side. Hugh Jackman in the title role works well, and his partner Kate Beckinsale does what the director and screenwriter foresaw for it, i.e. it looks very beautiful and tempting. Richard Roxburgh in the role of Count Dracula turned out to be a total mistake. Characterized so that it resembles the beloved Bela Lugosi, as a vampire prince, he is neither frightening nor demonic or even a bit witty. Stiff, like a wooden table leg, it feels like it does not know what kind of character it should play. “Van Helsing”
this is another summer production unloaded with special effects, with stars in the main roles and a residual scenario. The movie is full of chases, shootings and fights, but even though there is no complaining about the lack of action, at some point the whole thing just bored me.
In the latest production of Sommers, there were no elements that made me admire “Mumia”, that is, interesting characters, good humor and a well-run idea. You can watch, but you do not have to (with emphasis on the latter).