The Month of Spooks continues. And what’s this? An adventure movie featuring classic monsters? That’s cool. I mean, how could it possibly go wrong?
Ladies and gentlemen… “Van Helsing”.
The story follows legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) as he travels to Transylvania with a friar named Carl (David Wenham). Why are they traveling to Transylvania? Obviously they’re traveling there to kill Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). So now we have our adventure plot featuring classic monsters. And is it any good? No… it’s bad. There’s no point in the plot where I’m even remotely interested in what is happening. They have a fun idea that could make for a fun little easy-breezy adventure plot. But it somehow manages to be both paper-thin and convoluted at the same time. It’s also duller than dishwater, fucking boring. And the tone is inconsistent, at best. The plot here is bad. I’m not gonna try to put it in a more elaborate way… it’s bad.
The characters have motivations (sort of)… but I never found myself giving a single shit about any of them. Hugh Jackman plays the titular Van Helsing, monster hunter extraordinaire. He has an okay motivation for what he does (sort of), but it never plays into the plot in any significant way, so I could never care about it. And Hugh Jackman… I love Hugh Jackman, but he’s not very good in this. Kate Beckinsale plays a woman that Van Helsing runs into pretty early on, and she’s somehow important to it all because she’s related to some big shot person. It was mentioned like twice and it was so poorly delivered that it never stuck to my mind. She’s supposed to be a badass lady, which is something I like seeing in a movie… but here she comes off as more of a lucky idiot, an idiot savant as it’s usually called. And her attempt at an accent here? Nope, no good. Beckinsale is bad in this. David Wenham plays Carl, the friar that is joining Van Helsing on this journey. He’s meant as a comic relief, but he never really says anything funny. Wenham is… okay in the role. Richard Roxburgh plays Dracula in this and his performance is awful… but in the right way. The performance has more ham than a Christmas buffet, and it made me laugh. It doesn’t really give the movie any points, but it at least made some scenes easier to get through than others. There are talented actors in this, but none of them are particularly good in it.
The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and it is pretty good. Here’s why it doesn’t work though… the overall quality of everything else is so low that this epic and booming score doesn’t quite match up with what’s happening on screen. It just feels off.
This movie was directed by Stephen Sommers and he did a meh job. It feels so bland and uninteresting that nothing about what I was seeing interested me. The action too has a sever lack of tension… and impact… and fun… it’s fucking boring. There’s also an overload of shitty CG. And to those giving the “Well, it was the early 2000s” argument”: The final “Lord of the Rings” movie came out the year before and the CG in that looks amazing. There was also an overload of it. Sure, there were a few props, costumes, and sets that looked pretty good, but they rarely got as much focus as the terrible computer effects.
This movie hasn’t been particularly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 23% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 35/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars (Wut?). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.
“Van Helsing” is bad… just bad. It has a bad plot, bad characters, bad performances, okay music, and bad directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Van Helsing” is a 4,32/10. I didn’t like it and I would recommend skipping it.
My review of “Van Helsing” is now completed.