Van Helsing

Van Helsing: "I can help you."
Anna: "No one can help me."
Van Helsing: "I can try."
Anna: "You can die trying."

release year: 2004
genre: horror/action
viewing setting: home DVD 5/16/20 and 9/17/09 and theater, 5/14/04

synopsis: Amnesiac monster hunter heads to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula.

impressions: This was highly entertaining, with a decent plot, lots of monsters, and great special effects. It was a tribute to all those classic monsters, and was directed by the same guy who did the Mummy films, so if you liked those, you'll like this. Like many vampire films of the 1990s and 2000s, it had its own take on both the monsters and the weapons that can hurt them. This movie, of course, also features the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein Monster (as well as a brief appearance by Mr. Hyde.) The opening scene even takes place in black and white, a homage to the classic monster movies. A lot of people are slamming this movie for doing something different with the great monsters, but I think we all need to remember that the great monsters have been dormant for decades, and this movie pumps some money at them and revives interest in them - which can only be a good thing.

things to watch for: The vampire baby hatching spree.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Baby vampire podlings.

acting: Hugh Jackman plays it straight as the main hero, though I wish we'd been able to fully find out what his origin was. Kate Beckinsale is good as a pretty, competent noblewoman who knows how to fight. Richard Roxburgh made a convincing aristocratic, yet serious Dracula. David Wenham (Faramir from Lord of the rings) is the helpful friar who invents weapons. Kevin O'Connor is the treacherous Irog. Shuler Hensley is the Frankenstein monster.

final word: A rip-roaring, action-packed fresh twist on classic monsters.

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