Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 06/30/2009

“VanHelsing” review

(10/23/08)

Ugh, “VanHelsing”.
This was going to be the big blockbuster of 2004 and was heavily marketed as such. The Universal people were impressed with Stephen Sommers’ ability to make a cash cow out of the “Mummy” movies, so they let him play in their “Classic Universal Monsters” sandbox.
The result is the kind of expensive flop that makes you feel very sad for everyone involved. As with “The Last Action Hero“, this is the first time I sat down and watched the whole darn thing after seeing maybe a half-hour total of bits and pieces. And I felt very much the same way about this movie as I did with “Action Hero”. It hasn’t got any idea who it’s own target audience is (it was advertised to children but will scare the pants off any child), and it isn’t even the kind of bad movie that’s fun to make fun of. Dracula is a Large Ham, and it is funny how blithely they ignore each characters’ established mythology and “rules”, but that’s about it.

The Best Parts:
1 minutes in – This is a parody, right? Like “Young Frankenstein”?
3 minutes in – AAAHH WTF?!?
5 minutes in – These millers liked to party.
7 minutes in – Oh. I didn’t expect this to be such a bummer.
9 minutes in – No, Shrek! Why?!
And once again, it would be much more interesting if our hero had to face Alan Moore’s version of Mr. Hyde… (shudder)
15 minutes in – Anyone else distracted by trying to identify what the heck animal the skeleton in the background belonged to?
19 minutes in – Indeed, why would a vampire hunter have use for a thing that makes sunlight?
21 minutes in – RELEASE THE CRAPPY CGI APEWOLF!!!
23 minutes in – “Her name is Rio and she dances on the SAAAAAND!!! / As we sail around in front of a crappy CGI matte painting!”
25 minutes in – Aww, it’s just like “Fellowship of the Ring”!
26 minutes in – Uh… wait. It’s daytime. Don’t Werewolves and Vampires and such avoid the daytime?
33 minutes in – AAAAHHH WTF?!
35 minutes in – So, Werewolves and screaming Vampire-Harpies can function in the daytime and Dracula sleeps in a block of ice and blithely ignores gravity. Yeah…
36 minutes in – You will just have to take his word for it, folks (see “Classic Quotes”).
37 minutes in – AAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! WTF?!?
41minutes in – Yes, this is precisely the house you’d want to wake up alone in with Vampire-Harpies and Apewolves running around.
45 minutes in – “I shed all my skin! / I writhe up the walls! / And I am hungry like the Crappy CGI APEWOOOLF!!!”
51 minutes in – Well, that’s… different. Oh, hey, what happened to the less-crappy-looking grey Apewolf from earlier?
52 minutes in – “I dunno, I think Jenner’s up to some serious — Oh, humans! Act normal!”
54 minutes in – Gross.
55 minutes in – “Yeah, we should probably leave.”
56 minutes in – Aw, it’s cute!
1 hour, 3 minutes in – “I always figured it was due to me hunting down villains and slaying monsters all the damn time!”
1 hour, 6 minutes in – “Well, a bunch of Bat-Gremlin Vampire babies attacked and then they all exploded and I forget what else.”
1 hour, 8 minutes in – So are they implying the whole movie was made on Absinthe? Is that what I’m missing here?
1 hour, 11 minutes in – And now, Frankenstein’s Monster has electricity powers. At this point, I’ll bet the Invisible Man would have had an invisible steamroller and the Creature from Black Lagoon would have had chainsaws for hands.
1 hour, 16 minutes in – That poor horse.
1 hour, 22 minutes in – How many Full Moons were there in the past week?
1 hour, 24 minutes in – “And the world falls DAAAAAOOOOOOOOWWWN!!!”
1 hour, 33 minutes in – Nice work, Scooby Gang!.
1 hour, 34 minutes in – But where’s the Southern Oracle?
1 hour, 38 minutes in – What?
1 hour, 41 minutes in – Well, this is completely insane. I’m going with my Made-On-Absinthe theory.
1 hour, 44 minutes in – AAAAAAHHHH WTF PREDATOR MOUTH!?! Noooooooooooo!!!!!
1 hour, 47 minutes in – Dracula finally does his One-Winged Angel thing he’s been teasing through the whole damn movie! And his giant monster final battle form is… well, it’s different.
1 hour, 50 minutes in – Further One-Winged Angelry, heroic version! And VanHelsing’s giant monster battle form is… really different.
1 hour, 51 minutes in – EPIC BATTLE!!!
1 hour, 56 minutes in – Huh?
1 hour, 58 minutes in – “DO NOT WANT!!!” 😦
2 hours in – Wait, so there wasn’t any bullsh*t, “If thyne hearest the howl of the Werewolf that did slayeth Dracula, thou may be allowed a Cheapy Emotional Fakeout Disney Death” or anything like that? Oh. 😦
2 hours, 1 minutes in – “But I redeemed their family so they can finally be at peace, so that’s nice. Off to the sequel we ride!
“What? Biggest flop of the summer you say? Oh.” 😦

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“NO!!! I have no heart! I feel no love! Nor fear, nor joy, nor sorrow! I am hollow…” – Dracula, as a Large Ham.  You will just have to take his word for it.

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever: Oh boy…
* – All classic monsters are either drama kings or Emo sissies.
* – Every single monster ever can function during the day (even when the legends say they can’t), has Super Climbing-All-Over-The-Walls Action, and has other totally random powers. So, if you’re a Normal in a horror story, you’re pretty much f***ed.
* – Werewolves transform by shedding. Messily.
* – Some Werewolves look like somewhat apelike giant wolves, some look like ragged sick dog-men with Batman ears, and some have giant heavy metal hair, a dragonlike face, and a disturbingly humanlike butt.
* – Vampire babies are born from these horrible, squickie Alien pod things. (Try not to think about how their screeching Harpy-Vampire moms *made* those pods.)
* – Lightning can do ANYTHING.
* – People with purple or amber eyes are evil.
* – Dracula started that beartrap-looking hair clip trend.
* – B movies shouldn’t cost millions of dollars!  Michael Bay, I am looking at you! 😡
(Yes, it is sad posting this in the wake of “Transformers: Revenge of Explosions and Robots”.)

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
The monsters! They are different!
Good Soundtrack? There’s this one bit that sounds like the “Avatar” theme.
Hot Guys? Poor Hugh. Notice he went on to do some crazy art-movies soon after this.
Pretty Scenery? It does have a nifty, Gothic atmosphere, but according to this movie, Eastern Europe is grey.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Um… No.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when a monster flips out and shows his/her scary face or whenever a monster randomly displays Super Climbing-All-Over-The-Walls Action.

Head Movie Potential? Like I said, it makes sense if you take for granted that it was made on drugs. But then, I was drunk when I watched it and it *still* didn’t make sense.

Rating: Danny rating (2)
Danny fighting evil by turning into his giant monster battle form (which is different).
Credits
A Universal Studios Film made in 2004. Written and directed by Stephen Sommers.
Cast
Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, and Shuler Hensley.
Related Links
IMDB entry
Greatest Movie EVER review

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