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Van Helsing

Review by: 
Billion$Baby
Release Date: 
2004
Studio: 
Universal
Genre: 
Horror
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.85:1
Directed by: 
Stephen Sommers
Cast: 
Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Movie: 
1
Extras: 
3
Bottom Line: 
1

Oh my God, I just read that this film cost around 160 million dollars. I'm in shock...
 
What the hell was Sommers thinking? Um...this was supposed to be a tribute to the old Universal horror films right? Mel Brooks did the films more justice - seriously. It's kinda entertaining at times but it bloody well should be with a budget like that. And depressingly, the entertainment factor is only solely provided by oh the so expensive cgi effects. Let's make a quick list of irritations before I deliver final judgement on both the film and disc. Anticipate:
 
- The absolute worst hammy Dracula ever. And I mean ever. Truly abysmal performance and look, nothing to recommend it. Sidney James from the Carry On films and Hancock would have delivered a far better take on the character.
 
- Vampires disgorging their mouths like cartoony snakes. Oh yeah, they can also give birth to cute flying baby vampires.
 
- A Frankenstein monster that reminds one of an especially compassionate Herman Munster and who's got more religion than the Pope.
 
- A once respected star of Lord Of The Rings humiliating himself completely. Novelty stick out ears and a funny voice? Hysterical. I kept waiting for the ol' slipping on banana trick but Sommers must be saving that for his next cinematic outing.
 
- Talking of accents, this flick has the worst examples of "Transvaal" accents ever heard. Kate Beckinsale - stop now! Ditto with everyone else in Translyvania.
 
- What the hell's going on with the portrayal of the Vatican headquarters? Go inside and you''ll also find Tibetan monks and Arabs shouting out "Allah!" every 30 seconds. If I was Sommers, I'd expect an imminent visit from Bin Laden.
 
- Humans that swing around like monkeys. Suddenly Peter Parker seems quite dull.
 
- Angry villagers that seem to have merely walked over from the nearest Monty Python flick.
 
- A werewolf that initially appears in the daytime when the moon merely disappearing behind clouds is enough to make later incarnations temporarily return to human form.
 
- A plot that let's you know a few clues about Gabriel (eh?) Van Helsing's previous life as the left hand of God, that he knew Dracula from before he lost his memory and starting working for the Catholic church - then completely forgets to explain further or ever remark upon it again.
 
- A Jekyll & Hyde that seems to think he's the Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Either that, or a fat Scottish builder with much comedy butt crack on display.
 
- Numerous other films to be ripped off extremely clumsily - not even The Good, The Bad & The Ugly escapes."If you are going to kill someone, kill them, don't talk about it."
 
- Hugh Jackman to display about as much star charisma as an empty roll of toilet paper.
 
- LXG to actually look pretty damn good all of a sudden.
 
- The second half of the film to get even worse than the first half.
 
I'm too depressed to go on with the list and trust me, I really could....
 
When I re-watched the film, I noted some nice camera movements and cinematography. And the picture quality and 5.1 sound is extremely decent. But quite frankly who really gives a shit? The cons definetly outweigh the pros. The funniest thing about this film is that Van Helsing 2 was planned. It's now been cancelled! I only bought the one disc version since I felt very wary after all the negative opinions by genre fans and I still feel massively ripped off.
 
Has anyone here seen that "You Are In The Movie!" extra? Quite possibly the most pointless and irritating 'making something out of nothing' dvd extra of all time. Woah, hidden cameras that allegedly no-one knew about - they show you (wait for it): behind-the-scenes footage where nothing interesting happens ever happens. Wow, I'm seriously impressed - hey, I was in the movie!
 
You just know that a film surely blows when the two stars (Jackman and Beckinsale) don't even want to appear on the cast commentary. As for David Wenham from Lord Of The Rings, he's probably already killed himself by now. We get to listen to some of the co-"stars" instead - Herman Munster, Second Fiddle "remember me?" Wolfman Jack and Crapula. Either that or the director and producer patting themselves on the back on the other track.
 
The several minute "bloopers" reel is entertaining but also kinda worthless since the actual film itself is one big 120 minute blooper already. I think Sommers just damaged his career as badly as De Salva did with Jeepers Creepers 2. Still, at least Sommers has never abused children, I'll say that in his favour. This film has got 'rental' or 'television viewing only' written all over it. 

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