This one’s worth skipping

Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing, sporting inexplicable weapons.

Tedious; could be much more clever

Here we have Van Helsing. This is a film that could’ve been very clever, actually, but is instead something that feels like ridiculous crossover-fanfiction, not unlike The League Of Extraoridnary Gentlemen.

In this case, the fan fic Van Helsing was created by someone who wanted to believe that the character Abraham Van Helsing not only chased Dracula, but also Frankenstein’s monster, Mr. Hyde and the Wolfman. This admittedly would have been fun to see in a better movie, but instead we got this drivel by Stephen Sommers, who poorly remade another classic monster with The Mummy in 1999.

The intro is interesting; we see that famous scene where Frankenstein, played by Samuel West, creates his monster (Shuler Hensley), although he’s being bossed around by none other than the vampire Dracula, played by Richard Roxburgh. Dracula and a treacherous Igor (Kevin J. O’Connor) kills Frankenstein shortly after he creates the monster, as he intends to use it for his own purposes, although the monster escapes into a windmill, which is burned down by an angry mob. I’m sure this sounds cool to some, but I’m sitting here wishing the movie could explain better why the Frankenstein-story suddenly involves Dracula.

I must inform the readers: I am perfectly aware that there exist older films that are crossovers between classic horror stories and that some did alter the backstories of certain characters, although those movies had a certain charm to them, as per usual with older horror films – even bad ones.

Hugh Jackman plays a rather young and attractive Van Helsing – so, from Peter Cushing to Anthony Hopkins to Hugh Jackman; how interesting – who is sent to Transylvania by his superiors, along with Friar Carl (David Wenham) to find and kill Dracula, using highly advanced weapons and tools for the time period, for some reason. There they run into Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) who’s also on a mission to destroy Dracula. She is the last of the Valerious-family, a family bent on killing Dracula, as her brother Velkan (Will Kemp) was apparently killed by a werewolf recently. So she thinks, at least, as it is revealed that Velkan has become a werewolf himself.

The cause of the film’s fanbase seems to lie beloweth her chin.

They find Frankenstein’s monster, who survived burning and exploding with only minor wounds (Don’t bloody ask!) and instead of killing him, stopping Dracula’s plan, they bring him along for the ride. And a boringly action- and special effects-filled ride it is.

Backstories of classic characters are not-so-interestingly re-written, silly things are “revealed” about them and colorful special effects and action sequences take care of the rest. I was indeed bothered by how silly this big-budget fanfiction was, and the constant action taking up space that could’ve been used for character development; this makes the film genuinely tedious to sit through.

At many times it reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, another bad crossover film with Richard Roxburgh, and ripping off that film could not ever end well, and as Van Helsing proves: it did not. The film offers us a humdrum, predictable and poorly paced story involving uninteresting characters played by some good (Roxburgh; Jackman) and some awful (Beckinsale) actors that partake in action scenes that get tiresome after they stop being remotely fun.

In 2010 I wrote a short review for this, after seeing it with some friends, and they got a bit upset that I bashed it so much. Naturally, when I asked why they enjoyed it, they mostly said that it was cool and that the girls were hot. Indeed, sometimes all a teen needs to enjoy a film is dull action and a few pairs of breasts. If you’re into that stuff you might enjoy this.

This is certainly not a film for me though, but it could have been. I did like the idea of putting all these characters together in a modern, big-budget motion picture and with a more inventive writer-director, it could have happened but as it is, Van Helsing is not exactly a good movie.

PLEASE NOTE: No, I am not reviewing this because Film Brain did, but his video did make me want to finish my review, which has been a draft for a while, I swear. Believe or not. I’m not reviewing it because of Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness either, but I’m glad I’ve released while it Monster Madness is going on. Wasn’t Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman featured today?

1.5/5 whatever.

Advertisements