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Van Helsing (2004)

aka Van Helsing

"The One Name They All Fear."

Directed By: 
Details: 131 mins · English, Latin · PG-13 (USA)

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From Everybody:

All Bite, No Bark

Of all the horror based myths, I would say that Dracula is the most overused, followed by Frankenstein. So, it doesn't bode well when this movie features both of them, as well as Hugh Jackman, who I find to be an incredibly overrated actor (especially after what he has done with Wolverine these last couple of movies). But even if those weren't issues, the movie, at it's core, has no basis, and often doesn't make sense. It's rather baseless, and essentially an excuse to have a lot of action sequences with very similar enemies.

The plot of the story is that Dracula funded Frankenstein to create life in hopes of using it for his own purposes. Yet, when he doesn't want any part in Dracula's plan, he is promptly killed, and Frankenstein's monster runs away with the body. A year later, Van Helsing is sent to kill Dracula when no one seems to be able to and everyone's in danger, including a family who's vowed that none of their ancestors will go to heaven until Dracula is killed, of which t...(more)

Of all the horror based myths, I would say that Dracula is the most overused, followed by Frankenstein. So, it doesn't bode well when this movie features both of them, as well as Hugh Jackman, who I find to be an incredibly overrated actor (especially after what he has done with Wolverine these last couple of movies). But even if those weren't issues, the movie, at it's core, has no basis, and often doesn't make sense. It's rather baseless, and essentially an excuse to have a lot of action sequences with very similar enemies.

The plot of the story is that Dracula funded Frankenstein to create life in hopes of using it for his own purposes. Yet, when he doesn't want any part in Dracula's plan, he is promptly killed, and Frankenstein's monster runs away with the body. A year later, Van Helsing is sent to kill Dracula when no one seems to be able to and everyone's in danger, including a family who's vowed that none of their ancestors will go to heaven until Dracula is killed, of which there are only two family members left. Why exactly would you do that? I don't know, as that doesn't really help the cause of defeating Dracula at all. Then again, a lot of this movie makes little sense. Why are the harpy ladies not vulnerable to the sun, despite being supposedly vampiric? Why are there an entire town still living next door to Dracula when their people are being picked off for food constantly; wouldn't everyone have moved away? What are all of Dracula's minions, orcs? And where did they come from? In fact, where do a lot of these creatures come from, especially the legions of random creatures that just sort of show up later? And what really baffles me is that, for most of the movie, no one has any idea of how to kill Dracula. So, our band of heroes proudly march to the castle of Dracula before the final encounter, with no means of getting back, With NO IDEA how to kill him. At all. And, at the gates, suddenly, they realize they just happen to have the means of killing him on hand. There's so little logic to a lot of what happens, and it makes the story fall apart pretty quickly, which is sad to see when there's so little to begin with.

Rather than substance, the movie relies completely on action sequences. Chases through the streets of towns, chariot chases, fighting off hordes of foes, raiding castles and buildings. Almost every five minutes, there has to be a new fight going on in hopes of getting people to invest. But when the characters are boring, the story barely exists, and the enemies themselves are unimaginative, the fights just don't matter all that much.

If you choose to watch this film, don't expect to get much from it. It's just a silly flick where you get to see Hugh Jackman kill a lot of monsters. If that's your thing, God bless; otherwise, steer clear. (less)

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Cast:

Small Gabriel Van Helsing
Small Anna Valerious
Small Count Vladislaus Dracula
Small Marishka
Small Carl
No_movie_poster Frankenstein's Monster
Small Aleera
No_movie_poster Velkan Valerious
No_movie_poster Igor
Small Cardinal Jinette
Small Verona
No_movie_poster Top Hat
Small Dr. Victor Frankenstein
Small Mr. Hyde
No_movie_poster Dr. Jekyll

Crew:

No_movie_poster Alan Silvestri Original Music Composer
Small Stephen Sommers Director
No_movie_poster Bob Ducsay Producer
Small Stephen Sommers Production
Small Stephen Sommers Writer
No_movie_poster Bob Ducsay Editing
No_movie_poster Kelly Matsumoto Editing
No_movie_poster Jim May Editing
Small Mary Shelley Characters
Small Bram Stoker Characters
Small Robert Louis Stevenson Characters

Taglines:

"The One Name They All Fear."

Plot:

In 1887, Transylvanian Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Samuel West) brings to life his Monster (Shuler Hensley) with the aid of his assistant Igor (Kevin J. O'Connor), and Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Dracula kills Dr. Frankenstein after revealing that he helped him only so he could use Frankenstein's monster to bring his undead children to life, although this plan is revealed to the doctor off-screen. Frankenstein's monster then escapes to a windmill, which is burned down by a pursuing mob. The mob flees as Dracula and his three brides, Verona (Silvia Colloca), Aleera (Elena Anaya) and Marishka (Josie Maran), mourn the loss of Victor and the Monster and their chance to bring their children to life.


One year later, the Knights of the Holy Order, stationed at the Vatican, dispatch Gabriel Van Helsing, who has amnesia, to kill Dracula. He is also tasked with preventing the last of the Valerious family from falling into purgatory; the family swore to kill Dracula nine generations ago and is unable to enter Heaven until they succeed. He is given a torn piece of paper with an insignia on it. He is joined by Carl (David Wenham), a friar who provides support and weapons.


Arriving in Transylvania, the two meet Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), who tells them her brother Velkan (Will Kemp) was recently killed by a werewolf. Van Helsing then saves her from Dracula's brides as they attack the village, ending with Van Helsing killing Marishka as the others escape. When Anna takes the pair back to her castle, she is determined to kill Dracula herself, but Van Helsing is unwilling for her to take the risk, knowing that she is the last of the Valerious family. When she resists, he gasses her to sleep and puts her in her bed. Later in the night, Anna awakens from her deep, dreamless sleep and encounters Velkan, now a werewolf himself. After Velkan flees, Van Helsing and Anna track him to Frankenstein's castle, only to find Dracula attempting to give life to his children using Velkan as a substitute for the Monster. His plan ends up failing, and Anna frees Velkan as he transforms into a werewolf. Dracula confronts Van Helsing, who recognizes him from his past, and realizes that Dracula is impervious to all conventional methods of killing vampires.


While escaping, Van Helsing and Anna fall into a cave, where they find Frankenstein's Monster still alive. Though the Monster pleads to be killed so that Dracula cannot use him, Van Helsing decides to take him to Rome so he can be protected. They flee in a carriage, but while crossing the Carpathian Mountains, the brides and Velkan attack them. The carriage plummets down a precipice and Verona tries to save the Monster, but on opening the door reveals that it is a decoy carriage containing only stakes bundled against explosives, which kill her when the carriage hits the bottom. The genuine carriage is attacked and Van Helsing kills Velkan, but not before Van Helsing is bitten by him; when the next full moon occurs, Van Helsing will become a werewolf. Anna is then captured by Aleera and is taken to Budapest.


In Budapest, Van Helsing agrees to trade the Monster for Anna (never actually intending to submit the Monster), and hides the Monster in a cemetery before he and Carl head off to save Anna, who is at a masked ball which is later discovered to consist only of vampires. At the ball, after placing her under some sort of trance, Dracula attempts to seduce Anna, and nearly bites her in the process. Van Helsing and Carl manage to rescue her, but the Monster is captured and taken away on a boat. Escaping from Dracula's Summer Palace, Van Helsing, Anna, and Carl return to Castle Frankenstein, where they find all the equipment has been removed. At Anna's castle, Carl explains that Dracula was the son of Anna's ancestor. Dracula was murdered by "The Left Hand of God", but not before making a Faustian Bargain, which gave him new life as a vampire. Carl explains that although Anna's ancestor made the vow to kill Dracula, he could not kill his own son. Instead, he banished Dracula to an icy fortress from which he should not have been able to return, but the Devil gave him wings and the power of flight, which allowed him to escape. Van Helsing then finds a portal to Dracula's castle disguised as a wall map, completed using the paper that Van Helsing brought from Rome. They enter the portal, emerging on a cliff near Castle Dracula.


As the trio sees the Monster being lifted to the laboratory, he tells them that Dracula has a werewolf cure. Carl realizes that only a werewolf can kill Dracula and that he uses werewolves to do his bidding, but needs a cure in case they have the willpower to turn against him.


Making his way to the laboratory, Van Helsing frees the Monster—but not before Dracula's spawn are given life. He then confronts Dracula. Van Helsing tells Dracula that his children will die if he is killed. Dracula confirms this to him whereupon Van Helsing becomes a werewolf and enters a final battle with Dracula (who turns into a giant bat-like creature). Dracula reveals that Van Helsing is really The Archangel Gabriel, the Left Hand of God—as well as the one who originally murdered him. He offers to restore Van Helsing's memories, but Van Helsing refuses, deciding that "some things are better left forgotten".


Anna and Carl retrieve the cure but are attacked by Aleera after Igor traps them in the room. Igor, attempting to kill Carl, falls to his death off a bridge thanks to some help from the Monster, and Aleera gets impaled by Anna with a silver stake thrown to her by Carl. They make their way to the laboratory just as Van Helsing bites into Dracula's throat, killing him and his offspring. Anna injects Van Helsing with the cure, only to be killed by him at the same time, much to his grief. Van Helsing and Carl hold a quiet ceremony for Anna and cremate her as the Monster departs on a raft into the ocean, having been allowed a chance at life. As Anna's body burns, Van Helsing sees her and her family in Heaven at peace, thanks to Dracula's death.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2004-05-07 : United States of America

DVD : 2004-10-19