Film: Van Helsing

Cover image
Film:

Van Helsing

Director: Stephen Sommers
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

Like a roller coaster ready to fly off its rails, Van Helsing rockets to maximum velocity and never slows down. Having earned blockbuster clout with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, writer-director Stephen Sommers once again plunders Universal’s monster vault and pulls out all the stops for this mammoth $148-million action-adventure-horror-comedy, which opens (sans credits) with a terrific black-and-white prologue that pays homage to the Universal horror classics that inspired it. The plot pits legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Like a roller coaster ready to fly off its rails, Van Helsing rockets to maximum velocity and never slows down. Having earned blockbuster clout with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, writer-director Stephen Sommers once again plunders Universal’s monster vault and pulls out all the stops for this mammoth $148-million action-adventure-horror-comedy, which opens (sans credits) with a terrific black-and-white prologue that pays homage to the Universal horror classics that inspired it. The plot pits legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) against Dracula (the deliciously campy Richard Roxburgh), his deadly blood-sucking brides, and the Wolfman (Will Kemp) in a two-hour parade of outstanding special effects (980 in all) that turn Sommers’ juvenile plot into a triple-overtime bonus for CGI animators. In alliance with a Transylvanian princess (Kate Beckinsale) and the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley), Van Helsing must prevent Dracula from hatching his bat-winged progeny, and there’s so much good-humored action that you’re guaranteed to be thrilled and exhausted by the time the 10-minute end-credits roll. It’s loud, obnoxious, filled with revisionist horror folklore, and aimed at addicted gamers and eight-year-olds, but this colossal monster mash (including Mr. Hyde, just for kicks) will never, ever bore you. A sequel is virtually guaranteed. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Having successfully re-imagined one of Universal’s classic movie monsters in the recent Mummy films, director Stephen Sommers broadens his scope to include the rest of the gang in this extravagantly produced, thrill-packed motion picture. Although Sommers emphasizes action over atmosphere, Van Helsing still manages to be as creepy as it is exciting, maintaining a gothic look and establishing a pervasive mood of otherworldly malevolence. Hugh Jackman, whose turns in the X-Men movies have equipped him for the flamboyant heroics required by films like this one, portrays vampire slayer Gabriel Van Helsing, whose late-19th-century pursuit of Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) gets him caught up in a scheme that involves the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley) and the Wolf Man (Will Kemp). His closest ally is Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), a feisty young woman whose family has opposed Dracula for generations. Sommers takes considerable liberties with the various monster mythologies established in the Universal films of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and his versions of the classic creatures eschew the familiar look of their previous incarnations. But there’s plenty here to warm the hearts of horror-movie fans, and more than enough dynamic, explosive action to keep other viewers interested. Ed Hulse

Views: 413 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.035 sec