Van Helsing (2004) Single Disc Edition [DVD]
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Mega-budget action adventure starring Hugh Jackman as the eponymous Gabriel Van Helsing, monster hunter extraordinaire. Van Helsing is sent on a mission by the Vatican to Transylvania to hunt down the evil Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), accompanied only by the faithful friar Carl (David Wenham). There he meets the beautiful Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), one of the last remaining descendants of a powerful royal family. She is as determined as Van Helsing to destroy the infamous vampire, who placed an ancient curse on her ancestors that has led to generations of supernatural goings-on and copious bloodshed. Other adversaries including Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man and Dracula's bloodthirsty vampire brides stand in their way - but will the brave and beautiful win through?
Like a roller coaster ready to fly off its rails, Van Helsing rockets to maximum velocity and never slows down. Having earned blockbuster clout with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, writer-director Stephen Sommers once again plunders Universal's monster vault and pulls out all the stops for this mammoth $148-million action-adventure-horror-comedy, which opens (sans credits) with a terrific black-and-white prologue that pays homage to the Universal horror classics that inspired it. The plot pits legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) against Dracula (the deliciously campy Richard Roxburgh), his deadly blood-sucking brides, and the Wolfman (Will Kemp) in a two-hour parade of outstanding special effects (980 in all) that turn Sommers' juvenile plot into a triple-overtime bonus for CGI animators. In alliance with a Transylvanian princess (Kate Beckinsale) and the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley), Van Helsing must prevent Dracula from hatching his bat-winged progeny, and there's so much good-humored action that you're guaranteed to be thrilled and exhausted by the time the 10-minute end-credits roll. It's loud, obnoxious, filled with revisionist horror folklore, and aimed at addicted gamers and eight-year-olds, but this colossal monster mash (including Mr. Hyde, just for kicks) will never, ever bore you. A sequel is virtually guaranteed. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, as Blue Ray releases go, I have to admit this is one of the better ones. Colours, clarity are spot on. In fact having watched this on TV the other week the Blue Ray version is much better. Watching the title character riding across the snow capped mountains near the start of the film is something else, but the scene in the Romanian town centre halfway through the female vampire attack when the sun comes out really differentiates Blue Ray from normal DVD. Somebody else has already mentioned the Ball scene, but its worth just seeing that for how all the different colours are allowed to explode into view. . The rest of the film displays just as much as the few samples I mentioned above. Its also good to see that the same amount of attention has been paid to the sound.
While I'm not one for extras there is a picture in picture mode which brings up a small screen showing the same as the main picture but from the view of the camera man and a few other snippets.(As i said I'm not one for extras)
As I said one of the better Blue Ray releases
Panasonic TX-32LZD80 - 32" Widescreen
Sony BDPS350 Blu-Ray Disc Player
Yamaha HTY750 Digital Sound Projector
Yamaha YSTFSW100-BLACK 75 Watt Slimline Active Subwoofer
To be clear, this is not Abraham Van Helsing, the wise doctor of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel, but a mysterious monster killer whose first name turns out to be Gabriel. I would say that he is decked out like Solomon Kane, but that has nothing to do with any of the Universal monster movies. He is dispatched by a secret organization in the Vatican to go to Transylvania and kill Dracula. Not just because the count is an evil vampire, but because the noble house of Valerious has been fighting Dracula for several hundred years and the entire family can only go directly to heaven, passing purgatory or worse, if they kill the vampire before he wipes out their family, which is now down to Prince Velkan (Will Kemp) and Princess Anna (Kate Beckinsale).Read more ›
What I found was that I enjoyed the film up to a point, that point being at about the hour mark. After that the coincidences just got too much for me. For example, when Frankenstein's monster swings on an unfeasibly long rope and smashes through one of hundreds of windows in the castle, it just happens to be the window of the room where a crucial fight is occuring. Also, the internal logic of the film seemed to unravel a bit, and the sub-plot device of Van Helsing's history and missing memory intruded too much.
It has to said, though, that the sets and special effects all the way through are amazing, with some of the best human/werewolf transitions ever seen. The best CGI effect, in my opinion, was near the beginning where Mr Hyde (voiced by Robbie Coltrane) and Van Helsing fought in Notre Dame cathedral. The carriage chase was also a stunning set piece, even if the jump was as ridiculous as the one in Speed.
The disc itself is a good one. The main feature has a clear picture (essential when much of the film is quite dark) and unobtrusive surround sound. The extras are also of a high quality. Aside from two commentaries, one from the director and producer and one from several of the actors, there is a better-than-average feature on the special effects, a compilation of 'bloopers', a tour of Dracula's castle, information about the characters from the classic Universal horror films and a feature called "You are in the movie". This last feature shows some scenes with footage shot from extra cameras fixed on the set or attached to the main camera, and gives an interesting view of the film-making process.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent dvd with an all star cast. Definitely one to watch over and over. The item came very quickly and well packaged.Published 2 months ago by Richard Marriott