First off, I would like to make a disclaimer: this movie has its entertaining parts. Its CGI looks good. As an action flick, it works just fine. In that sense I cannot fault it, and can understand that some select people should enjoy it. That said, I disliked it and the rest of this blog will explain why.
Maybe I should simply refer to other reviews, since mine cannot possibly do justice to how utterly, extravagantly awful Van Helsing was. Some snippets from Rotten Tomatoes: “An ugly and disposable piece of ultra-expensive formula product”; “it’s like being invited to a barbecue that turns out to be a two-hour vegan presentation on the evils of red meat”; “This hulking cretin of a summer blockbuster should at least boast some visceral kicks, yet the experience of watching the film is best described as deadening.”; and, finally, “the effect for viewers is that of having inserted one’s head in a kettledrum that is being pounded on by drunken monkeys.”
Please, I beg of you: spend the $7-9 you might pay to see this movie to buy yourself a) A very, very stiff drink so you don’t mind the movie’s complete lack of any endearing qualities; or b) A very, very sharp knife with which to impale yourself on so you don’t have to suffer through the movie. Generally I dislike horror movies – but fortunately this was not a horror movie, as the director apparently dislikes horror. He replaced suspense or skillful direction with lots and lots of bad guys: burning monkeys, shrieking white bat-vampire-ladies, small slimy vampire babies, werewolves, Frankenstein’s Monster (?!), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde… shall I continue? I frankly cannot even begin to speak towards its faithfulness to any of the stories it vampirized since all the director did was steal the characters (think: Count Dracula paying Frankenstein to create his monster in Transylvania’s “Castle Frankenstein”). You will see traces of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, as he directed those movies, but mostly you’ll encounter way too much CGI heaped upon mountains of CGI. Indeed, I asked myself halfway through: Why did they bother to pay actors, when it could have been entirely animated? As it is, a gaggle of animators were made fabulously wealthy (I hope; then some good may have come of making this film).
What else to say without spoiling the movie? Is there even anything to spoil? Summarizing the plot (Van Helsing, commissioned by a mysterious secret group in the Vatican, is dispatched to kill Count Dracula and along the way kills lots and lots of baby Draculas and all three of Dracula’s brides. Also along the way he picks up a sexy sidekick who still doesn’t rival Dracula’s brides for looks, although the sexy sidekick does have the benefit of supposedly being born of a family that had fought Dracula for 400 years. Throw in a mousy little friar to act as Van Helsing’s Q and Count Dracula himself, and you have the…piece of entertainment) ends the discussion, since there are no plot twists. Highlights: watch the super-fast Transylvanian coach as it flies across the bridge-less chasm and think of Newton’s laws of motion; and near the end, watch the Sexy Sidekick as she swings on a wire and catches the antidote to werewolf-ism. Polaroid moment!
Upshot: avoid this movie for all you’re worth, even if it means studying for your final exams like a responsible student.
– KF –