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Van Helsing
DVD disk
10.20.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Van Helsing order
Director:
Stephen Sommers

Actors:
Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Richard Roxburgh

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Jackman) is sent on a mission to Transylvania to kill Count Dracula, the Wolfman and the rest of Dracís army of bloodthirsty creatures. On his quest, he is aided by the stunning Anna (Beckinsale) and his friend, friar Carl. The Frankenstein monster also drops in for the festivitiesÖ
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I almost missed the deadline for this review because the JoBlo.com offices mistakenly sent me a head of Gorgonzola cheese instead of the Van Helsing DVD. It was an understandable slip-up since I havenít seen this much cheese in a movie since my last viewing of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. This is a terribly bad movie and about 20 minutes in, I realized that it wasnít particularly trying to be good - just entertaining. With that in mind, I enjoyed the hell out of it! Some of the acting is so lousy it magically becomes tolerable and the CGI effects are so incompetent they start being fun. Everything will reverse itself as soon as you recognize and accept that youíre not supposed to take this movie seriously, not in the least, in fact. Stephen Sommers directs a beautiful mťlange of all his favorite horror icons in a fantastically absurd and clichťd adventure, and if you jump in with that in mind, youíre likely to enjoy it as well. One thing this movie is not is...boring. Itís just meant to be a wild ride of silly thrilling nonsense with all the crash-boom-bang you might want on a rainy, lazy Sunday evening. In fact, while I was watching VAN HELSING, my brain was in another room polishing up my THE ALAMO review (great movie, by the way).

There are actually a few elements in this movie that are legitimately good and do not pertain to my previous reverse theory. One of those was the black and white opening sequence, which brings to light some of the monster movie lore weíve come to know over the years. Itís a very nice and gorgeous looking homage to those classic monster movies. The other is Alan Silvestriís score which was memorable enough for me notice and enjoy. Lastly, Jackman swashbuckles with the best of them and I had no complaints about his effort here either.

Now that that is out of the way, I can elaborate on the breathtakingly gorgeous, sexy, talented, photogenic and charming Brit beauty Kate Beckinsale. I canít believe there was a time I actually found her to be average looking (SERENDIPITY). What was wrong with me? I wish I could blame it on the drugs, but itís the rest of the staff here who dabble (read: are seriously addicted to) with illegal substances, not me. If you thought she looked scrumptious in UNDERWORLD wait until you see Kateís 19th century black and red garb in this film Ėyum-my. Jessica Bielís rear has officially lost the title and the crown is now going overseas to rest on Kateís mantle because that has got to be the most perfect rear end Iíve seen since Kylie Minogue disappeared off the face of the earth. If the poor acting and rotten effects arenít enough to attract you to this cheddar-filled romp, then Kate will definitely close the deal, believe me. Her sexy Romanian accent was what officially closed the deal for me.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary with Stephen Sommers & Editor/Producer Bob Ducsay : Buddies since long ago, these two have a great rapport and back and forth with one another on this commentary track, which I found quite interesting. They discuss the actors, the casting, the CG effects, their influences, etc. This is a better than average listen.

Audio Commentary by actors Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley & Will Kemp: Bah! Where are Beckinsale and Jackman? Donít try to pawn these guys off on us. If youíre desperate for more commentary onlyÖ

Explore Draculaís Castle: Choose an arrow on Dracís castle and you begin slowly panning towards it as a creepy narrator (imitating Dracula) gives you info on the legend of Dracula, his castle and its surroundings. Strictly for kids...

Bloopers: A better than average and longer than usual blooper reel that features Hugh, Kate and the rest of the gang having fun on set and flubbing lines. It genuinely seems like they enjoyed themselves filming this movie.

Bringing the Monsters to Life: See how they created all the CG creatures in the movie. From Mr. Hyde to Dracís wives, they cover them all. This stuff bores me but for aficionados of this stuff, youíll be pleased.

You Are In The Movie: Unbeknownst to the cast they planted all these mini-cameras onto the equipment so you can experience what itís like to be in the middle of the action during some scenes. Nothing special hereÖ

The Legend of Van Helsing: They delve a little into history of the Van Helsing character in past Dracula films, but this feature mostly focuses on Jackman and how he did a badass job in this film. The praise showered upon him is abundant from both cast and crew.

Van Helsing X-Box Game: If you have the console, slide this in and play the first level of the actual game.

Trailers
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This movie is not only a guilty pleasure but itís also great procrastination fodder if youíre looking to avoid that term paper or take care of those TPS reports the boss has been hassling you about all week. The ladies will get a kick from Hugh and the men will drool over Kate. Itís the rental that pays for itself and youíll still have enough leftover to make a tasty grilled cheese sandwich.
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