Van Helsing (may contain spoilers)
#1
I saw Van Helsing this afternoon, and I'm sorry to say that I was a little disappointed. Now, I'm not like "oh, this is garbage," like some have said (see Ain't it Cool News links in the Van Helsing Poster thread), but I was hoping for more.

At nearly two and a half hours long, the film is certainly lengthy enough, but I felt that it lacked a real sense of direction. It just sort of rambles on. Surely Stephen Sommers could have come up with a better story to unite the three monsters (Dracula, Frankenstien's Monster, The Wolf Man).

I thought Richard Roxburgh was great as Dracula, it's just too bad that he (or anyone for that matter) really didn't have anything to do. Frankenstien's monster really doesn't have a role, he's just there, and the Wolf Man is just running errands for Drac,
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in three different incarnations, no less.
Hate to sound arrogant, but I think I could have come up with a better story for the movie.

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And what's with Van Helsing not having memories
I think it's a big faux pas to use that when Wolverine, Jackman's best known role, has the same issue.

All in all, there's just too much action, even though it is all really cool to watch. I hate sounding like every lame-o would be critic, but action can't substitute completely for story.

Regarding the ending:

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The ending works, and it doesn't. First, Dracula goes out like a punk. Although, I am reminded of the old Drac movies, he often did. The endings to Dracula, both the 1931 Universal one (Bela Lugosi) and the 1958 Hammer one (Christopher Lee), are very anti-climactic. So Drac's death in Van Helsing can be rationalized that way. But, the big kicker (Van Helsing as the Wolf Man killing Beckensale's character) doesn't work for me, cause I don't care. I want more of Dracula, not gypsy princess so-and-so. That's just me, though.

None the less, being a huge Dracula/Vampire fan, and monster movies in general, I can't help but like the tribute aspect of Van Helsing. So, when all is said and done, I'll still be buying the DVD. :tongue:
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#2
14 royal blue
I saw Van Helsing tonite. Quite possibly the wrost movie ever made. I don't think they even edited this movie, tehy probaly slapped it together and sent it to the theatres. If tehy had, they would have noticed that nothing in the movie made sense. * * * * VAN HELSING... On a slightly more positive note Kate Beckinsale was delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#3
Merging threads.
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#4
I can agree with you on a number of p[oints, Boomer, but overall I really enjoyed this movie, and I have to totally disagree with the above post. This was a well put together action movie, where all the ends were neatly tied up, and fit together.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good film, but there certainly was thought and effort put forth.

We begin with Gabriel Van Helsing (Jackman) taking on Mr. Hyde. Having tracked him from London to Paris, the two confront in a WWE Smackdown of epic proportions that shatters the famous Rose Window of the Natre Dame cathedral. The fight was a herald of the action packed, perhaps too-packed, tone the movie was going to take throughout.

Van Helsing is an agent of some super-secret sect of the Roman Catholic Church, who apparently uses all denominations in their efforts to stamp out evil. I thought that was kinna hokey, but it's brief and then we're into the James Bond like 19th century gadetry with M-as-Friar/sidekick Carl, and an introduction to Van Helsing's next assignment: Dracula, of course.

Tied into this is Beckinsale's character, Anna Valerious, a Transylvanian native, and last of a line of vampire hunters sworn to destroy Dracula. Neat.

Here's where I definately agree with Boomer. I didn't so much mind Beckingsale's character, as I found it trite and pointless. She's pretty, she's determined, she's capable, she's the love interest.

She's boring.

After all, if she's the leader of this town, then why isn't she actually leading? When the Brides make an uncharacteristic appearance, she tells everyone to run. Where do they run? To some kind of vampire shelter? To the relative safety of their houses? Nopers, they run around like lost sheep, scream-bleating while the Brides harray and harass to their hearts content.

I understand the need to match a leading man with a leading woman, but did they have to be so cliche about it.

Fortunately, they jump from one action sequence to another in a fists-of-fury pace that kept me entertained. Van Helsing was fast, the monsters were faster, and it was all very impressive.

Oh, note to Ralph Nader: mayhap you should investigate those Transylvanian carriages, as apparently they explode at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, the safety release for the horses works like a charm every time!

Now, here's where I disagree with Boomer. Van Helsing can't remember his past, although we get a Wandering Jew kind of character background from his spotty-at-best memory. I know exactly why they did it, and it speaks volumes to a sequel, if this movie should prove lucrative enough. I was more than willing to let the Wolverine character at the X-Men gate, and watch Jackman as Van Helsing strut his stuff.

The ending is very nice, and speaks to a number of the stories that were incorporated through the various monsters. Just because we can create something, doesn't mean we should. And in creating those things, there comes a responsibility to take care. Of course, anyone who has seens Spider-Man already knows this mantra. But not everyone has read Frankenstien by Mary Shelley, or grasps the depth of that story. So it was nice to see an intelligent, powerful and yet still articulate Monster (Frankenstien's Monster, that is) in place of the "classic" lumbering dolt that Boris Karloff lurched into life.

Overall, I definately recommend that you catch this movie in the theatre. THe action sequences and visuals are stunning, the story is okey dokey, but on par for what the movie really is: an action-movie hoping to grow into a franchise.
All your base are belong to us.

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#5
Pretty good movie. saw it today (or if you look at the time I posted, yesterday) You might not like it if your not into kinda fakey horror movie if you call it a horror movie. It has David Wenham (Faramir) in it. He was HILARIOUS!!!:bg: :tongue: :crown: Like this one part a ware wolf snuck into a house while it was raining and after Van Helsing chased him out david came in, didnt know what just happened, and said "why does it smell like wet dog?":bg: :tongue: I recomend seeing it. but if you get scared really really easy then maybe not. Its mostly funny so you wont stay scared. and for all you hunk lovers like my momRolleyes , Hugh Jackman is in it
"Go back to the abyss! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your master."
- Gandalf The White, The Return of The King
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#6
Moving to General Movies
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

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#7
Merging thread . . . again.
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#8
Hey, went and saw this on Friday.

I really enjoyed the opening b&w sequence, which IMO really played out like the old b&w hammer horror movies. They even did camera wobbles, bad edits, etc., etc., to capture well the style of those old b&w movies. I like the way they did that, finishing it with Frankentstein's monsters falling through the roof of the windmill; like saying, this is where things finish originally, now we're going to push the envelope.

The rest of the movie IMO can be divided roughly in two, the first half of which was somewhat directionless, haphazard. During this time, and especially after the Mr Hyde battle I thought, aargh, this is going to be as bad as LXG. It takes quite a bit of movie time before Van Helsing and Carl arrive in Transylvania, and it's after this that some semblence of a story unfolds. Once the story unfolds, then everything blends together better. Certainly the second half of the movie makes up for the disjointed first half.

Personally I would have liked to have seen a slower start to the movie; take out the Mr Hyde battle and focus on some character development for Van Helsing. Even the characters in the MUMMY movies are fleshed out moreso than the key characters in this movie.

I thought David Wenham as Carl was a highlight to the movie. Without his performance the overall rating of the movie would slip a few notches. Frankenstein's monster I enjoyed: he was probably the most human of all the characters.

I agree Kate Beckinsale was merely eye-candy, or padding for the movie. But what lovely eye-candy indeed!

Most of the CGI was so comic-bookish, that I found this distracting. The quality of CGI in the Mummy movies was done with greater care. Not that CGI maketh the movie, but in Van Helsing I simply found it too distracting.

The level of entertainment in the last hour or so of the movie certainly redeemed the movie to a degree, but not to that point that you could really call it a masterpiece. However, I did enjoy the nods to the movies Van Helsing borrowed from.

~ Matt
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#9
Quote:Originally posted by mpee
Personally I would have liked to have seen a slower start to the movie; take out the Mr Hyde battle and focus on some character development for Van Helsing. Even the characters in the MUMMY movies are fleshed out moreso than the key characters in this movie.

That's what I thought as well. The Mummy characters were actually introduced rather well. Van Helsing's characters are not introduced at all. Which is sort of dumb, cause there's only really two that need to be- Van Helsing himself and Anna Valerious. We know what the deal with Dracula is, so there's no need to go into that. Although it would have been nice to know how the original Wolf Man became that way.

Quote:
I thought David Wenham as Carl was a highlight to the movie. Without his performance the overall rating of the movie would slip a few notches.
He was fine, but I found him to be the typical comic relief. Nothing that hasn't been seen a million times before.

Quote:Most of the CGI was so comic-bookish, that I found this distracting. The quality of CGI in the Mummy movies was done with greater care. Not that CGI maketh the movie, but in Van Helsing I simply found it too distracting.

Really? I found alot of the CGI in The Mummy Returns to be terrible. That's why it took a while for that movie to grow on me.
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#10
Quote:Originally posted by Boomstick
That's what I thought as well. The Mummy characters were actually introduced rather well. Van Helsing's characters are not introduced at all. Which is sort of dumb, cause there's only really two that need to be- Van Helsing himself and Anna Valerious. We know what the deal with Dracula is, so there's no need to go into that. Although it would have been nice to know how the original Wolf Man became that way.

Except for Valerious' introduction, I disagree. Van Helsing has no memory, and so everything we learn about him is given to us with just the first few minutes of the movie. He's a wanted man, he hunts monsters, he works for the Vatican and he's part of some holy order. Further, the dislike he has for the Vatican and its hold over him is aparent. Past that, I don't mind that the man is as much a mystery as his past. Let's us wonder what he's got back there for the past few hunderd years.

Quote:Really? I found alot of the CGI in The Mummy Returns to be terrible. That's why it took a while for that movie to grow on me.


I didn't mind the CGI in The Mummy, but I agree that in The Mummy Returns it seemed to be lower budget stuff, especially the very weak Scorpion King. Why bother?

The CGI on Van Helsing didn't bother me at all. It seemed rather well-done, and never broke me from the movie.

Those exploding Transylvanian carriages on the other hand . . .Wink
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#11
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
Those exploding Transylvanian carriages on the other hand . . .Wink


No kidding. What was the deal with that? The Wolf Man jumps on top of the carriage, and it catches on fire? :confused: When I saw that I wondered if I had missed something! :laugh:

I still think that the characters were underdeveloped. Van Helsing seems a little annoyed at the Vatican, but not enough to do anything about it. So that's all we really know about him. He kills monsters, which he sees aren't always monsters (Jekel/Hyde), and he has no memory. The whole Gabriel / Left hand of God thing was hokey, and totally unexplained. If he's God's hitman, why was he "punished," losing his memory. Seems a little inconsistant, no?

Furthermore, why would a tool of God need to become something evil to defeat evil? Again, I don't feel it works.
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#12
Quote:Originally posted by Boomstick
No kidding. What was the deal with that? The Wolf Man jumps on top of the carriage, and it catches on fire? :confused: When I saw that I wondered if I had missed something! :laugh:

I believe the movie explains this by saying that the wolfman's claws caused sparks when he slid backward, and ignited the top of the carriage.

Still doesn't explain how the fire then got to the gastank though. Didn't the film-makers know that only about 5% of all carriage accidents cause an actual explosion? Rolleyes And that's only in the earlier model of carriage. I believe the Romanian Pinto suffered from this problem, and was cited by Vatican Consumer Reports before they recalled all 250 carriages for an overhaul. :tongue:

Quote:I still think that the characters were underdeveloped. Van Helsing seems a little annoyed at the Vatican, but not enough to do anything about it. So that's all we really know about him. He kills monsters, which he sees aren't always monsters (Jekel/Hyde), and he has no memory. The whole Gabriel / Left hand of God thing was hokey, and totally unexplained. If he's God's hitman, why was he "punished," losing his memory. Seems a little inconsistant, no?

I agree that the characters were under-developed, and that action tried to fill in where character couldn't. It smacks of wanting, almost desperately, to franchise this character.

But, we don't know how Van Helsing lost his memory. I believe Dracula said it was a punishment, but we don't know that for certain. It could, just as likely, have been something benign or even evil that caused his loss of memory. Van Helsing, we know, is rather old, at least a few hundred years if not closer to a couple thousand. Gabriel is also the name of an Archangel, a Seraphim, if I recall correctly, who's other name is Fortitudo Dei or God's Strength. I'd have to do some more research to be certain, but Gabriel is definately a warrior angel.

Quote:Furthermore, why would a tool of God need to become something evil to defeat evil? Again, I don't feel it works.

Are you meaning Van Helsing becoming a werewolf? Do we know that werewolves are "evil"? The Vatican may have an answer for this, but that doesn't make the right.
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#13
Saw this last night. Not a great movie, but a good one. It was fun and kept me entertained throughout. The characters may have been underdeveloped, but I didn't feel the lack of introduction was that big of a problem. Van Helsing was wanted as a murderer and hunted monsters. Anna was the last in a line of a family sworn to kill Dracula. 'Nuff said. David Wenham's character was great as comic relief and I loved his line that he was a friar, not a monk, and so could do things he really shouldn't be doing. Overall, nothing really surprising or unpredictable happened, but the action was well done and kept the pace going. The CGI was also pretty convincing, the only time I really noticed it was when the Wolfman changed. Long story short, I paid full admission for a night-time show (which I rarely do) and didn't feel cheated. Therefore, I give it a thumbs up for fun. :bg:
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#14
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
I believe the movie explains this by saying that the wolfman's claws caused sparks when he slid backward, and ignited the top of the carriage.
They said that? I did miss that, then!


Quote:But, we don't know how Van Helsing lost his memory. I believe Dracula said it was a punishment, but we don't know that for certain. Gabriel is also the name of an Archangel...
It was the priest in confession that said Van Helsing had lost his memory as punishment, wasn't it? And, yeah, the implication seems to be that Van Helsing is the Archangel Gabriel, but it's never said. I like that idea, but then there's really no reason to call him 'Van Helsing,' other than just making a connection to another monster-movie character.

Peter Cushing played Van Helsing in the Hammer Dracula films, and when the movie wasn't in the 'original' Dracula time frame, it was explained that this Van Helsing was a descendent of the original. But we don't get that at all in this movie. That's the part that annoyed me. If he's Gabriel, fine, that's a pretty cool idea in fact, but then don't call him Van Helsing for no good reason.

Quote:
Are you meaning Van Helsing becoming a werewolf? Do we know that werewolves are "evil"? The Vatican may have an answer for this, but that doesn't make the right.


Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. The first werewolf certainly seemed evil. All of them were dangerous, at any rate, and were always going after the good guys. They weren't 'evil' in non-wolf form, but neither was Dr Jekel/Mr Hyde, and they still sicked Van Helsing on him.
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#15
Quote:Originally posted by Boomstick
They said that? I did miss that, then!

They didn't "say" it, per se, but that's what I recall when watching the movie. Although what the claws would have caught on that would have sparked is beyond me.

Quote:It was the priest in confession that said Van Helsing had lost his memory as punishment, wasn't it? And, yeah, the implication seems to be that Van Helsing is the Archangel Gabriel, but it's never said. I like that idea, but then there's really no reason to call him 'Van Helsing,' other than just making a connection to another monster-movie character.

Peter Cushing played Van Helsing in the Hammer Dracula films, and when the movie wasn't in the 'original' Dracula time frame, it was explained that this Van Helsing was a descendent of the original. But we don't get that at all in this movie. That's the part that annoyed me. If he's Gabriel, fine, that's a pretty cool idea in fact, but then don't call him Van Helsing for no good reason.

Gabriel Van Helsing is a different character from the Bram Stoker character. In that story, the guy's name was Abraham Van Helsing (after Abraham Stoker, the shortened version of which is Bram). Partly, I understand the change was because of rights over the character of Abraham Van Helsing. Partly, I understand that Somers didn't like the name.

In either case, just because the Vatican says that Van Helsing is being punished, doesn't make it so. I can see an interesting back-story in which an aged Abraham takes under his wing the misguided, lost, memory-lacking Gabriel and gives him direction as well as his last name. Something along those lines is not inconceivable for a back-story.

In either case, since we don't have a full story on Gabriel, then we can't really leap to a conclusion regarding if it makes sense of not.

Quote:Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. The first werewolf certainly seemed evil. All of them were dangerous, at any rate, and were always going after the good guys. They weren't 'evil' in non-wolf form, but neither was Dr Jekel/Mr Hyde, and they still sicked Van Helsing on him.


Recall first that Dracula has, historically if I recall correctly, the power to call wolves. Within the movie, he had the power to control werewolves. Hence the reason that the werewolves all did his bidding. Van Helsing had the strength of will to oppose Dracula's commands, but he wouldn't have remained in that state after the last stroke of midnight had passed, he would have been at the whim and will of Dracula, to do as the vampire bid.

Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is a different case. By then end of the story, Hyde has almost completely subsumed his alter-ego of Jekyll. He was on the rampage, killing at will and whim. Jekyll could hardly contain Hyde at the beginning of the matter, and he had lost any control by the end. Thus, it makes sense that Van Helsing would be "sicked" on him, as there would be no one else who could stop the madness of Hyde.
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#16
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
Gabriel Van Helsing is a different character from the Bram Stoker character

I know, that's what I'm saying. He's got no connection to the name at all, so why call him that?

Quote:I can see an interesting back-story in which an aged Abraham takes under his wing the misguided, lost, memory-lacking Gabriel and gives him direction as well as his last name. Something along those lines is not inconceivable for a back-story.

Which would have been fine, but Sommers didn't do it. Clocking in at over two hours, he had plenty of time to shoehorn in at least a little character development. You don't build a franchise by introducing your characters in the sequel.

Quote:Recall first that Dracula has, historically if I recall correctly, the power to call wolves. Within the movie, he had the power to control werewolves. Hence the reason that the werewolves all did his bidding.


Good point, of course. However, I still want to know where the first Wolf Man came from-the one that Anna's brother shot. It's all well and nice to have Dracula messing with Werewolves, but it'd be nice if they gave us some sort of introduction, like they did with Dr. Frankenstein in the opening sequence.


Quote:Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is a different case. By then end of the story, Hyde has almost completely subsumed his alter-ego of Jekyll. Thus, it makes sense that Van Helsing would be "sicked" on him, as there would be no one else who could stop the madness of Hyde.


You're right here as well. I recall that the Vatican actually wanted Jekyll/Hyde back alive if possible. But I still stick to my guns about the whole Left Hand of God/Werewolf thing. Apparently God hasn't granted his 'left hand' much power, as he had to become a werewolf to take out Dracula.

I can see it trying to be used as a plot twist, but I didn't feel it worked.

None the less, for all my complaining I did enjoy watching the movie, dont' get me wrong. Even if only for Roxburgh's Dracula, it was worth the time and money, IMO.
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#17
Quote:Originally posted by Boomstick
Which would have been fine, but Sommers didn't do it. Clocking in at over two hours, he had plenty of time to shoehorn in at least a little character development. You don't build a franchise by introducing your characters in the sequel.

It's hard to know just what will and won't build a franchise. I'm inclined to agree with you, though. But perhaps Sommers, like me, is bored of the "origin story".

Quote:Good point, of course. However, I still want to know where the first Wolf Man came from-the one that Anna's brother shot. It's all well and nice to have Dracula messing with Werewolves, but it'd be nice if they gave us some sort of introduction, like they did with Dr. Frankenstein in the opening sequence.

I'm ok without knowing where the first werewolf came from. I agree that a little extra exposition probably would have revealed the connection between Satan aiding Dracula and . . . God, I suppose, aiding/creating the werewolf to defeat him. But this is just a logical leap on my part. Nothing in the movie, sans the animated picture (rather cool effect, I might add) justifies that link whatsoever.

Quote:You're right here as well. I recall that the Vatican actually wanted Jekyll/Hyde back alive if possible. But I still stick to my guns about the whole Left Hand of God/Werewolf thing. Apparently God hasn't granted his 'left hand' much power, as he had to become a werewolf to take out Dracula.

I can see it trying to be used as a plot twist, but I didn't feel it worked.

Agreed. It was a reach, and perhaps one that wasn't necessary. Of course this is, as I said, the cry for a franchise. Sommers was obviously leaving huge, gaping plot holes so that he could, if the movie was successful, come back and fill one or two in. Heck, it's almost an endless scream from the first scenes to the last for a franchise.
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#18
I just saw Van Helsig last night. Very busy film. The score was gorgeous and the Budapest scenes were beautifully filmed.
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I can accept Frankenstein and Dracula on the same stage. It's the quasi Lon Chaney that seemed fake. Too much like King Kong from the 1930 film. I thought the footage of the Brides terrorizing the town's people a little excessive.
They only touched on the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. Presumably, he was condemed by the Eastern Orthodox Church to walk the netherworld between life and death, not for any brutal sin, but because Dracula had converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholocism.
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#19
Quote:Originally posted by NeonASHg
They only touched on the historical Dracula, Vlad the Impaler. Presumably, he was condemed by the Eastern Orthodox Church to walk the netherworld between life and death, not for any brutal sin, but because Dracula had converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholocism.


I don't believe there is any historical basis for Vlad Dracul's (Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler) excommunication or cursing. This is, as far as I know, a creation of the legend, something that Bram Stoker didn't write about when creating his titular character. Stoker wrote: "The Draculas were . . . a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One."

Sommers was, however, rather true to his sources regarding most of the characters. Dracula, from the text, was not killed by a wooden stake through the heart, as the myth goes, and Frankenstien's Monster was not a stumbling, jerking, knuckle-head barely capable of speech.
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#20
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
......and Frankenstien's Monster was not a stumbling, jerking, knuckle-head barely capable of speech.


:ohno: You mean he wasn't like most men?!









Sorry, I couldn't help myself! :tongue: :bg:
:alien: Sci-Fi needs reality TV as much as it needs a Hammer! :mad:
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