Stephen Sommers is the creative force behind Van Helsing’s writing, producing and directing this two-hour monster fest. The film, which sheds all pretense of trying to adapt Stoker’s novel early on, is an overloaded CGI action-packed adventure.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckingsale, and CGI monsters, the movie doesn’t have the wit and charm that Sommers’ previous venture, The Mummy franchise, had.
The movie grossed over $300 million worldwide despite receiving negative reviews because of the animation and computer graphics, which were new to the movie scene and stunned viewers.
1. Quick Review
Van Helsing lacks any character development or witty humor that would make the viewer get involved with the script. It reduces the complex character of Van Helsing from a brilliant intellectual to a monster-hunting mercenary.
Stephen Sommers tries to hold the audience together by cramming every monster known to humankind in a two-hour action sequence. It’s an average fantasy adventure with predictable twists and loads of fights.
Van HelsingAir Date: 4th May 2004Status: FinishedStudio: Universal Pictures
3. Is It Worth Watching?
Van Helsing is the kind of movie that you can have playing in the background, as the horror does not scare, and the plot doesn’t make you think. The cast has acknowledged that the movie is riding on the computer animations’ shoulders and gives unconvincing performances.
Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula gave the world of modern literature one of its most iconic intellectual heroes. Abraham Van Helsing was a philosopher and one of the best scientists of his time, who used his gifts to kill Count Dracula. The movie opens with Van Helsing chasing and killing the hideous Mr. Hyde, on top of the Notre Dame.
The secret order that employs Van Helsing orders him to go to Transylvania and kill Count Dracula. He must do so to protect the Velarious family, which is under an ancient curse that can only be broken by Dracula’s death.
Van Helsing meets Anna and Velkan Velarious in Transylvania and gets to know about their unsuccessful attempts to slay Dracula. They are attacked by Dracula’s three brides, giving them a taste of what will follow.
Meanwhile, Dracula has been trying to breed, but hundreds of his babies are being born un-dead. He enlists the help of Dr. Frankenstein, who creates a monster and brings him back to life. When a mob of villagers armed with torches approaches Frankenstein’s castle, Dracula kills him.
His monster runs away, and Dracula has been trying to use the formula to give life to his babies. With predictable twists and savage fighting, the movie leads to a showdown between Good and Evil.
II. Cast & Characters
In the movie, Hugh Jackman and Stephen Sommers treat him Van Helsing like a Wolverine without claws. There is no sign of the great intellect, witty retorts, or intricate plans that are a part of his quest.
Van Helsing says that when he encounters a supernatural being, his first thought is how he can kill it. Jackman reduces the complex Abraham Van Helsing to a bloodthirsty mercenary.
Kate Beckingsale tries too hard as Anna Valerious, a fierce warrior and the last remaining descendant of her family. As soon as Van Helsing comes onto the scene, she finds herself in trouble, and the romance between them is clichéd.
Richard Roxburgh stars as a convincing Dracula, trying to spawn a new generation of descendants to carry out his plans. David Wenham plays Carl, a friar who is Van Helsing’s sidekick and the occasional dispenser of humor.
Van Helsing was one of the first movies that accurately incorporated computer-generated imagery (CGI) into a full feature movie. Stephen Sommers appears to be all too aware of the fact and treats it like a teenage boy discovering video games.
Every fight and monster in Dracula is over-the-top. Dracula doesn’t just sprout fangs; he must open his mouth and yell as they appear. The first scene, which involves a fight between Van Helsing and Mr. Hyde features physics-defying action with a grapple gun.
Due to this overload of VFX, there is no time to develop characters, and there are no story arcs that converge to give the movie an emotional touch.
4. Final Thoughts
Van Helsing is a straightforward, action-packed adventure that reminds you of the horror movies of the 1940s. It is overloaded with CGI, which doesn’t leave much room for character development and an intricate story.
It’s a monster vs. humans showdown set inside a classic novel, which will remind you of the stories you read in your childhood.