ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – V – Van Helsing (2004) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Sommers

Writer: Stephen Sommers (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J O’Connor

Plot: The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein’s research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Highly Entertaining

Story: Van Helsing starts as Dr Frankenstein completes his monster (Hensley) for Count Dracula (Roxburgh), only to lose the monster in the villager attack, move to Paris, legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Jackman) is hunting down Mr Hyde for the order.

The latest mission for Van Helsing is to head to Transylvania to help Anna Valerious (Beckinsale) in the fight against Count Dracula and a new werewolf threat, getting welcomed like every town, Van Helsing will learn about his own past when he comes into battle against Dracula.

Thoughts on Van Helsing

Characters – Van Helsing is the legendary monster hunter, capturing or destroying them all over the world for the order back in Rome, his reputation strikes fear in some monsters, while others are hunting him. He doesn’t remember his past, he doesn’t always work well with others, but now he must and now he is going to face his toughest test now. Anna Valerious is the last member of her family, one that has defended a town for centuries, hunting down Dracula without any success, expert with a weapon, she is willing to risk it all to save the world and her family. Count Dracula is all controlling, like most version of him, the normal vampire killings don’t work on him, this Dracula has a greater plan, to fill the world with his children and is searching for a solution to give them life. Carl is the assistant set with Van Helsing for this fight, he is basically a rip off of Q in the Bond franchise.

PerformancesHugh Jackman does work very well in the leading role, he has the natural charisma to become the hero with a dark past. Kate Beckinsale as the leading lady will always look, with Underworld under her belt, we know she is an actress that is good for the fighting side of films too. Richard Roxburgh does everything he can with the Dracula character, one that has started to get overused by now. David Wenham gets most of the laughs in the film, which is needed to help everything flow smoother.

StoryThe story here follows Van Helsing as he travels to Transylvania to fight Count Dracula along with a host of other monsters from the universal monster collection. When it comes to the battles between Van Helsing and Count Dracula, we have seen it happen for decades now, we do find ourselves going through the normal ideas, but we have an idea that Dracula is planning something bigger, which is the fresh side of the story, we have a couple of unique ideas for Dracula here too, with the ice tomb he sleeps in, being the true stand out. The mix of using werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster add plenty to the film too. This is big and wildly over the top for story, but it is a lot of fun.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action is massive scale fights, swinging, shooting, different weapons, it all helps add to the fantasy world we are entering for the Universal Monsters, while the horror is weaker than we would like to see from such iconic characters, it does keep everything as a more fantasy accessible level.

SettingsThe film takes place mostly in Transylvania with the cast of Dracula being massive, hidden from the world to add extra mystery to the story, everything in the film looks beautiful on the settings side of things.

Special EffectsThe special effects are the biggest mixed bag, following on from what we saw in The Mummy, we get certain moments, including Frankenstein’s monster look truly brilliant, while certain transformations look CGI heavy.

Scene of the Movie – Van Helsing’s first day in the village.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The transformations are the weakest part of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a fun fantasy action film that brings to life some of the more popular Universal Monsters in a fresh tale that brings them together like never before.

Overall: Enjoyable Action Fantasy.

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