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Van Helsing (The Ultimate Collectors Edition)
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Legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is summoned to mysterious Transylvania on a mission that will thrust him into a sweeping battle against the forces of darkness! With non-stop action and electrifying special effects, Van Helsing is an adrenaline-powered motion picture event Roger Ebert calls "Spectacular!"
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The director of ‘The Mummy’ and ‘The Mummy Returns’ brings three of Universal’s classic monsters back to life like never before in the action-packed ‘VAN HELSING’ film!
Legendary monster hunter Van Helsing [Hugh Jackman] must rely on the help of the beautiful and mysterious Anna Valeris [Kate Beckinsale] as he engages in an epic battle with the ultimate forces of darkness – Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster!
Get ready for non-stop action and spectacular adventure in this pulse-pounding thrill ride loaded with eye-popping visual effects and exciting bonus features!
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Shuler Hensley, Elena Anaya, Will Kemp, Kevin J. O'Connor, Alun Armstrong, Silvia Colloca, Josie Maran, Tom Fisher, Samuel West, Robbie Coltrane, Stephen H. Fisher, Dana Morávková, Zuzana Durdinová, Jaroslav Vízner, Marek Vasut, Samantha Sommers, Dorel Mois, Marianna Mois, Laurence Racine, Patrice Wojciechowski, Kacie Borrowman (uncredited), Ryan James (uncredited), Martin Klebba (uncredited) and Allison Queal (uncredited)
Director: Stephen Sommers
Producers: Artist W. Robinson, Bob Ducsay, David Minkowski, Matthew Stillman, Sam Mercer and Stephen Sommers
Screenplay: Stephen Sommers
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography: Allen Daviau, A.S.C.
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 DTS-HD Surround, French: 5.1 DTS-HD Surround and English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 131 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘VAN HELSING’  is a belt and braces fun film that shows proper reverence to the classic monster film genre is thrown into a cauldron for good measure. But when it comes to classic monsters as big budget entertainment, Director Stephen Sommers proves yet again that he knows how to please his audience and fans alike, where he shows us Van Helsing that in the past he has seen nearly as many incarnations as Dracula, but this time he is not just hunting evil vampires, he has also undergone into being a tool of the Church of Rome, who is their get up and go medieval version of James Bond complete with requisite gadget man played by David Wenham as his mousey side kick friar named Carl.
After a brilliant black-and-white opening, in which the Universal logo dissolves into flame and villagers hunt down Frankenstein with burning torches, we switch to Van Helsing on an assignment in London, there he tracks down Mr. Hyde, whom he is supposed to capture and of course things don’t quite go to plan, as Van Helsing is thwarted because Mr. Hyde falls to the ground and is killed outright and changes back to his original form. So Van Helsing is whisked back to the Vatican in Rome where he is assigned to Transylvania and to also thwart the evil plots of Count Dracula, and at the same time meets up with a gawkily humorous young monk named Carl who is assigned to accompany Van Helsing on a vital vampire-destroying mission to Transylvania. Carl the young monk is a bit like a version of 'Q' from the James Bond films, where he equips Van Helsing with a variety of state-of-the-art, as well as stake-of-the-heart gear from his laboratory, including a semi-automatic crossbow, where we get to experience monster mash on steroids.
The ‘VAN HELSING’ film takes Universal’s hallowed horror cycle to a new levels, where we get an onslaught of special effects that takes over as Van Helsing is joined in his fight against Dracula and his flying harpies by the gypsy princess aristocratic Anna Valerious [Kate Beckinsale] where her family has been challenging Count Dracula for four centuries and unfortunately her brother Will Kemp who is Velkan [aka the Wolfman] and despite not being in the film that much, puts in an excellent performance, especially when viewing the brilliant CGI effects when he turns into a wolfman. Anna Valerious [Kate Beckinsale], who represents the last in nine generations of family sworn to defeat and kill Count Dracula. If she fails, then none of her family will ever make it out of purgatory. Time is running out and Dracula’s tasty brides are after her blood. Anna Valerious’s suspicion eventually turns to trust and the two team up to eliminate Count Dracula and his evil nasty vampire bride creations. On top of all that, there are some truly exciting moments, especially the carriage chase while Van Helsing and Anna Valerious are attempting to transport Frankenstein's sweet-natured monster back to Rome for his safety, but turn of events does not allow Van Helsing and Anna Valerious to pursue this endeavour.
The ‘VAN HELSING’ film proves that $160 million still cannot buy your box office receipts. Still with the opening scenes in stunning black-and-white, is a really amazing touch, especially when we see Dr. Frankenstein bringing his monster [Shuler Hensley] to life. However, the mob with pitchforks and torches shows up to ruin the celebration, as Count Dracula [Richard Roxburgh] points out. The creature is thought destroyed, and we cut to Paris 1888. Van Helsing [Hugh Jackman] is chasing after Mr. Hyde [Robbie Coltrane] with a ton of CGI computer imaging. The battle ends with a dead Dr. Jeckyl and the revelation that Van Helsing's efforts are not liked nor appreciated and so returns to the Vatican, where we find an underground base for the Knights of the Holy Rose, an organization consisting of all of the world's religions.
This is one vampire horror film with a really nice bite. It's a deliciously entertaining thrill ride that pleasurably tweaks new thrills from old stories. Thankfully, little time is wasted on exposition and explanations. The ‘VAN HELSING’ film is pretty much non-stop action, more thrill ride or video game than story, which is fine with me. The production design is fabulously entertaining and imaginative. The monsters are all re-imagined with a great deal of flair, particularly Frankenstein's creation, one of the best of his many screen portrayals. The CGI effects are exceptionally well done, subtle details add a great deal of depth and atmosphere, and there are many intricate contraptions and a lot of slimy dripping gloop.
You have some really good dialogue that is delivered with a lot of panache. The horror film does not takes itself too seriously enough to have us care about the outcome but has enough of a sense of humour to provide Van Helsing with a cheery sidekick with a knack for weapons technology. Hugh Jackman has all that it takes to be both leading man and action hero. Kate Beckinsale is fine as Anna, the last in the line of her family, which for generations has been dedicated to wiping out the vampires. Upon his arrival in Transylvania, Van Helsing quickly joins forces with Anna [Kate Beckinsale], the Gypsy Princess. Anna comes from a long line of Vampire hunters who have all sworn to kill Dracula. To complicate matters, Anna's brother Velkan [Will Kemp] is bitten by a werewolf and comes under Dracula's power and really puts in a good performance. The rest of the story involves Van Helsing and Anna's quest to defeat the Count and his brides. But in a horror film of this calibre, what matters most of course is the bad guys, and especially Richard Roxburgh is just right as Dracula, sinuous and seductive, and at times can be a little effete, a little theatrical, and at the same time deliciously bloodthirsty.
Hugh Jackman looks totally perfect as Van Helsing, with his terse manner, dark flowing clothing and fearlessness. David Wenham is terrific as Carl, the nervous and frantic friar Van Helsing takes along to assist him. Aside from supplying Van Helsing with a lot of neat gadgets, Carl provides a huge dose of needed comic relief. Kevin J O’Connor is also memorable as Igor, alternating between being just plain weird to very funny. As for Frankenstein’s monster, Shuler Hensley is outstanding, giving the creature the right amount of pathos, intellect, and loneliness.
The ‘VAN HELSING’ film is outlandish, and is a terrific load of fun to watch and is the perfect way to start viewing a fun filled 132 minutes film that should just put logic on hold, where you sit back, and enjoy director Stephen Sommers ode and homage to the classic Universal horror film genre. On top of all that, the effects are superbly rendered, delivering the thrills and shocks the intended audience will pay to see. Same is true of Allan Cameron’s spectacularly dark production design, Allen Daviau’s superbly judged shadowy cinematography, which is a shame the whole film was not filmed in black-and-white like at the start of the film which was brilliant, plus the coolly inventive Italian costume designer Gabriella Pescucci and the innumerable spectacular visual, special makeup effects by a team so large the end credits take 10 minutes to finish and of course composer Alan Silvestri hits every music cue with an amazing fortissimo, which rounds up all that is good about this very exciting Dracula film, that I feel will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the film and is also a brilliant ending giving us the impression in the hope that there was to be a follow up of a ‘VAN HELSING 2’ film.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Universal Pictures has finally brought out the ultimate and solid 1080p encoded image transfer of this film since being originally released in 2004. Arguably the best looking part of this film is the stunning black-and-white opening scene with the Universal logo spectacularly catches fire and then morphing into Dracula in Frankenstein's laboratory. The black images are at optimum levels and the lighter white colours on screen contrast perfectly. The Transylvania scenes are given a wonderful bluish hue, which most represents the overall feeling of the very eerie town setting. Also with the bluish tinge is contrasted perfectly when bright red blood is introduced. Textures and the faces of the actors are visually maxed out in great detail. So overall it is a totally brilliant looking transfer and the best you will ever see with this 2017 re-mastered Blu-ray disc upgrade, and I am so glad I waited for this release.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Universal Pictures brings us an excellent 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, that is certainly loud and certainly has the wow factor, and is packed tightly with rich, deep bass and aggressive surrounds. Much like the film itself, especially the sound mix for every action sequence is flooded with Alan Silvestri's bombastic film music score, which really gives the film the panache excellence it deserves. What is also excellent is the sounds are constantly moving throughout all the channels, and the wheels are turning and creaking, wind howling, and lightning striking all are just some of the clear sound effects that pepper throughout the audio track. What I also liked is hearing the demon wings swoosh by in keenly implemented pans with the thunderous sounds ripple outward in rolling waves throughout the speakers, and hearing the crowd of surrounding villagers seething with monster-hating animosity to great effect. So all in all this is a totally awesome brilliant audio effort.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Feature 2004 DVD Audio Commentary with Director Stephen Sommers and Editor/Producer Bob Ducsay: As the Universal logo turns into black-and-white and explodes before our eyes Director/Writer/Producer Stephen Sommers introduces himself and says that sitting next to him is Bob Ducsay who informs us that he is the Editor/Producer for the film ‘VAN HELSING,’ who informs us that it is very bad to have two jobs when working on a film, especially this one. Stephen Sommers informs us that he originally wanted to use the old black-and-white Universal logo, but felt in the end that people would assume they were about to watch an old original Universal Dracula film, so realised this was not a good idea in the end. They both give great praise to the Cinematographer Allen Daviau in giving the ultimate filming experience at the start of the film to be in black-and-white, which they comment you do not always get a chance to use fantastic black-and-white images in a film these days. They both talk in great praise about the actor Hugh Jackman and the reason they hired him to appear in the film, because someone saw him on the London stage in the musical “Oklahoma” and felt he would be so ideal for the vampire hunter Van Helsing. When we first meet Kate Beckinsale, we are informed that her previous film was ‘Underworld’ and they were not sure if Kate would be keen or even interested to appear in this ‘VAN HELSING’ film because of the storyline of the film to do with vampires, but it seems Kate was more than keen to appear in the film and they really praise Kate in doing a wonderful job in the film. Both of the commentators keep mentioning Kate’s different hair styles throughout the film, especially the creepy scene in the house where her werewolf brother appears. What really irritated me about this audio commentary is that both commentators kept going on about the scenes where everyone is flying about, especially the extras, and kept going on about how it was all done with wires, especially with the camera, well talk about stating the obvious and really got on my nerves and was certainly the most boring aspect of this audio commentary and I just wished at times they would have just shut up and let us the audience work this out for ourselves and treating us like idiots. On top of all that, what also really annoyed me and got on my nerves is that three quarters of the time the two commentators throughout the audio commentary would talk about totally vacuous technical information that is not of any interest to me in just going on about all aspects of the film that would only be of interest to people who were personally involved with the film industry in general. When you see Hugh Jackman near the end of the film when he changes from the werewolf back to his human form and realises Kate Beckinsale is dead, when they did the first preview screening people could see Hugh Jackman was 100% naked and people in the audience, especially the women, would comment on seeing his naked backside, so when the film went on general release they felt they had to CGI some small shorts on him, because the men in the audience felt uncomfortable seeing his naked backside, so they felt they had to do a compromise on what you viewed. So ends this 2004 DVD audio commentary and both commentators thanks us for joining then in viewing the film ‘VAN HELSIN’ with them and hoping you enjoyed their comments, well to me that is debatable.
Feature 2004 DVD Audio Commentary with Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Henley and Will Kemp: Here we are introduced to Richard Roxburgh who informs us that he played Count Dracula, next up is Will Kemp who informs us that he played Velkan [aka the Wolfman] and finally Shuler Henley introduces himself and informs us that he played Frankenstein’s monster, and all three inform us that this is the first time they have viewed this film and seeing the Universal logo catch fire is very cool to them, as well as watching the black-and-white sequences of the film, and in fact wished the whole film was in black-and-white. Shuler Henley informs us that his face alone took four and half hours make-up time before arriving on the film set. They talk extensively about Hugh Jackman who used to get up at 4:00am to do a long workout in the gym and also use to just eat celery and nuts to keep his body well muscular. They also inform us that Kate Beckinsale also had a mad diet regime, whereas the three commentators said they ate anything that was available. One thing that really annoyed me about this particular audio commentary is that the three of them keep going on about that they don’t remember that scene being filmed, keep going on about great wire work, keep saying that oh doesn’t that look great, and so in the end it just ends up with total verbal garbage and total vacuous nonsense and totally boring, to the point I kept dropping off to sleep, if they cannot say anything interesting, then as far as I am concerned they should shut up and be quiet, as they just point out stuff that is stating the obvious. So from then on we get lots of gaps and when they do say something it is not very interesting and one wonders why they were asked to do this particular audio commentary. So all in all I can only give this audio commentary a two star rating, which is an effort in itself and if you like hearing actors rambling, then this one is for you.
Special Feature: My Scenes: The My Scene feature is only available while the film is playing. At any time during the film, press the green button on your remote control, and the bookmark will be added to your favourite list of scenes from the film.
Special Feature: VAN HELSING: The Story, The Life, The Legend  [480i] [1.37:1] [58:00] Here you have a selection of five in-depth individual features, which consist of Frankenstein’s Monster; Dracula; The Werewolves; The Women of Van Helsing; Anna and Dracula’s Brides and The Legend of Van Helsing. It also reveals the actors discussing pf their characters in legendary film and as they have appeared in horror films over the decades, including this one. We also get with this extensive feature covers a lot of the making-of information, and also provides some intriguing info about the monsters in the film. We also get a selection of film clips which include ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ , ‘Frankenstein’ , ‘Dracula’ , Son of Dracula’ , ‘House of Frankenstein’ , ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’ , ‘The Wolf Man’ , ‘Werewolf of London’  and ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ . We also get to see some rare behind-the-scenes filming of the film ‘VAN HESLING.’ Contributors include: Shuler Hensley [Author of “Frankenstein’s Monster”], Stephen Sommers [Writer/Director], Chelsea Quinn Yarbro [Vampire Novelist], Hugh Jackman [Van Helsing], Crash McCreery [Creature Concept Artist], Greg Cannon [Make-Up Effects Artist], Joseph Grossberg [Associate Visual Effects Producer], Samuel West [Victor Frankenstein], Kate Beckinsale [Anna], Patrick Tatopoulos [Creature Concept Artist], Elizabeth Miller [Professor of English], Richard Roxburgh [Dracula], Stephanie Moss [Professor of Literature of The Occult], Kevin J. O’Connor [Igor], Silvia Colloca [Verona], R.A. Rondell [Stunt Coordinator], Gabriella Pescucci [Italian Costume Designer], Ben Snow [Visual Effects Supervisor], Carlos Huante [Costume Character Art Director], Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor], David Van Becker [Professor of English at San Jose University], Will Kemp [Velkan], Scott Squires [Visual Effects Supervisor]. Industrial Light + Magic [San Rafael, California], Christian Alzmann [Visual Effects Art Director], Andrew Cawrse [Co-Model Supervisor], Elena Anaya [Aleera], Josie Maran [Marishka], Sam Mercer [Executive Producer] and David Wenham [Carl]. As usual you can either view each feature separately or Play All.
Special Feature: Track The Adventure  [480i] [1.37:1] [34:36] Here you can choose the actual location you see in the film and also get an in-depth look at the film's sets and where the film was actually shot and especially reveal the behind-the-scenes secrets behind each fantastic film set. What you also get to view is five separate features, which consist of the following: Dracula’s Castle; Frankenstein’s Lab; The Burning Windmill; The Village and The Vatican Armory. We also get a selection of film clips from the film ‘Frankenstein’ . Contributors include: Allan Cameron [Production Designer], Stephen Sommers [Writer/Director], Christian Alzmann [Visual Effects Art Director], Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor], Salvatore Belleci [Model Maker], Grant Imahara [Model Maker], Samuel West [Victor Frankenstein], Shuler Hensley [Author of “Frankenstein’s Monster”], Cindy Carr [Set Decorator], Richard Roxburgh [Dracula], Ben Snow [Visual Effects Supervisor], Michael Lynch [Model Shop Supervisor], Martin Rosenberg [Director of Photography at Industrial Light + Magic], Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor], Hugh Jackman [Van Helsing], Rpin Suwannath [Previsualization Supervisor], Joseph Grossberg [Associate Visual Effects Producer], Jim Mat [Visual Effects Ediror], Allen Daviau [Director of Photography], Syd Dutton [Matte Painting Supervisor], Scott Squires [Visual Effects Supervisor], Kelvin McIlwain [CGI Visual Effects Artist], David Wenham [Carl], Steve B. Melton [Prop Master] and Anna Pinnock [Set Decorator]. As usual you can either view each feature separately or Play All.
Special Feature: Bringing the Monsters to Life  [480i] [1.37:1] [10:02] Here we get a step-by-step on how the CGI computer animated parts of the ‘VAN HELSING’ film were created. We also get a quick look at the processes that were undertaken to make some of the CGI creatures come to life. From pencil sketches to complete digital composition, the experts at Industrial Light + Magic show how the ‘VAN HELSING’ monsters were brought to life. We also get to view the many different stages of the CGI animation process, from the background plates, to the wire-frame models and the finished fully textured shots. Contributors include: Stephen Sommers [Writer/Director], Ben Snow [Visual Effects Supervisor], Sam Mercer [Executive Producer], Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor], Scott Squires [Visual Effects Supervisor], Rpin Suwannath [Previsualization Supervisor], Daniel Jeannette [Animation Director], Joseph Grossberg [Associate Visual Effects Producer], Douglas Griffin [Motion Capture Engineer] and Raul Essig [Technical Director].
Special Feature: You Are in the Movie!  [480i] [1.37:1] [4:29] What you will experience is a unique perspective on the film set of ‘VAN HELSING’ and with the filmmakers permission, yet unbeknown to the cast and crew, the behind-the-scene camera operators mounted miniature cameras onto the actual film cameras, as well as various locations around the film set. Now step inside this feature, which the narrator likes to call, “You are in the Movie!” Scenes that you get to witness are “Anna Finds Velkan;” “Van Helsing Sneaks Into Dracula’s Lab;” “Van Helsing and Dracula Meet” and “The Final Battle.”
Special Feature: The Music of Van Helsing  [480i] [1.37:1] [9:41] Here we get to see music film composer Alan Silvestri, composer for the film ‘VAN HELSING,’ and shares his insights into what it was like to compose the film music score, and what it took to create some of the atmospheric music for the film. We also get to view the massive orchestra, as well as an amazing 60 sing choir on the Sony Music Stage in Los Angeles in full flow with Alan Silvestri conducting everyone. We also get to see a selection of certain scenes from the film ‘VAN HELSING’ that was related to the music the orchestra was playing. Alan Silvestri also informs us that he really loves doing the more dramatic scenes in the film, and he also feels the film is a great homage to all those old black-and-white Universal horror films. This special feature is a great insight into how a film composer works to get the best out of the music film score he composes for a particular film and also says that he had a great blast composing and working on the film ‘VAN HELSING.’ Contributors include: Alan Silvestri [Composer], Stephen Sommers [Writer/Director] and Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor].
Special Feature: Bloopers  [480i] [1.37:1] [5:39] Here we get to view the usual run of the mill deleted scenes from the film ‘VAN HELSING.’ But in my opinion it really shows you nothing unique or different to especially laugh at, especially when the actors seem to think the mistakes they make are a hilarious hoot, well it is not.
Special Feature: Dracula's Lair is Transformed  [480i] [1.37:1] [2:41] For 30 days they hid a camera in the lighting grid of the Soundstage in Playa Vista, California. The camera rolled for five seconds every hour to give you a time-lapse of the building and de-construction of two ‘VAN HELSING’ sets and we get Allan Cameron [Production Designer] explains in great detail what we are witnessing. We get interspersed titled sequences, which consist of the following: “Transforming A Working Set 30 days in 2 minutes;” “Disassembling The Coffin Room Day 1;” “Assembling Dracula’s Lab Day 6, Day 9, Day 15, Day 17, Day 24 and Day 30” and “The Final Battle Day 28.”
Special Feature: The Masquerade Ball Scene "Unmasked"  [480i] [1.37:1] [25:29] Here we get an exclusive behind-the-scene of what it was like creating Dracula’s Masquerade Ball Scene. We hear how they hired 100 local Prague dancers and 17 local Prague circus artists to create the amazing and totally spectacular scene we get to witness in progress. Director Stephen Sommers was in his usual giddy self, and especially in explaining how it all came to pass. Contributors include: Stephen Sommers [Writer/Director], Hugh Jackman [Van Helsing], Debra Brown [Choreographer], Alan Sivestri [Composer], Kate Beckinsale [Anna], Same Mercer [Executive Producer], David Wenham [Carl], Allan Cameron [Production Designer], Allen Daviau [Director of Photography], Richard Roxburgh [Dracula], Bob Ducsay [Producer/Editor], Tony Reading [Art Director], Giles Masters [Art Director], Gabriella Pescucci [Italian Costume Designer], Scott Squires [Visual Effects Supervisor], Grady Cofer [lead Sabre Artists], Doug Smythe [Computer Graphics Supervisor] and Sony Music Stage, Los Angeles.
Special Feature: The Art of ‘VAN HELSING’  [1080p] [1.78:1] [5:10] Here get to view seven separate stunning features, which consist of black-and-white and colour HD images of Dracula; Frankenstein; Velkan Werewolf; The Brides; Van Helsing Wolf; Bats and Mr. Hyde. What you also get while viewing the images is the composed film music score by Alan Silvestri in the background. As usual you can either view each feature separately of Play All.
Special Feature: Monster Eggs  [480i] [1.37:1] [1:53] here you get to view three separate features, which consist of Hugh Touchdown; Shuler in ice and Shuler in Training. With this particular feature it is basically a combination of Bloopers and behind-the-scenes outtakes that personally should have been added to the proper Bloopers special feature. How does one even attempt to explain this special feature or why it is called Monster Eggs? I still do not know why, or what the aim for this particular feature is meant to be, but I have already spent too much time writing about this feature than it than it takes to watch this extremely very short blip of a feature, which is a totally pointless extra and a complete waste of time and effort. As usual you can either watch them separately or Play All.
Special Feature: U-Control: Picture in Picture: With just one click, you can access interactive cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Here you can control a PiP option within the movie to control whether or not you want to see interviews or behind-the-scenes footage while the movie is playing.
Special Feature: BD-Live Center: Here you get exclusive content, and the latest trailers and much more via your internet connection that you can share with your movie buddies.
Finally, ‘VAN HELSING’  is definitely packed full of exciting and thrilling action film. ‘VAN HELSING’ could be in my mind classed as classic horror cinema, but more could also be concluded perfect popcorn Dracula film genre and ideal for the viewing in the ghoulish or Halloween holiday season or whenever the mood takes you. You should just turn off your mind, as it will definitely give you some silly, if perplexing, fun. The ‘VAN HELSING’ film is a non-stop spectacle roller coaster ride that will be enough to satisfy anyone who really enjoys this horror cinema genre and especially the many fans of this film. That said, the film does boast of some really handsome audio/visual package with this excellent Blu-ray discs. The Blu-ray Disc release is a complete reference material all the way, so why not show off your home cinema theatre system to your friends and family and I can assuredly say this is a brilliant 2016 Blu-ray upgrade release without a doubt. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso
Jackman gives a great performance as Van Helsing. Richard Roxburgh plays Count Dracula with a refreshing and great interpretation of that character, while I didn't even recognize Kate Beckinsale at first due to her costume and "Transylvanian accent". Kate is so hot she could make anything look sexy, even a potato sack! In this action film, Beckinsale plays a great heroine and it really showcases her acting skills.
Overall, a great action movie and tribute to all the original actors and actresses in the Universal Monster series of years gone by!
The interlude scene with Mr. Hyde was interesting. Comparing the fight scenes with the CGI used for the Hulk and Jabba the Hut in Star Wars shows just how far the technology and acting has come in the past twenty years.
Creature design for the Frankenstein Monster was well thought out, with just enough of a nod to Karloff's body dynamics and voice as the Frankenstein monster to keep it recognizable. The CGI and makeup for Adam (The monster) has clear descent from Jack Pierce's design, (which was based on early 20th century anatomy), was enhanced nicely by the four section glowing, crackling skull and lightning effects, which were also present in the monster's heart.
When asked what he wanted the simple response- "To Exist!" was brilliant! No need for anything else.
Wisely, the studio didn't try to imitate Lugosi's Dracula. The visual transformations were beautiful, though I didn't find this Dracula as creepy as the Lugosi portrayal. This Dracula is certainly as evil as any other on screen, but he is a complex being, driven but lacking in some basic human emotions-providing a nice development that I hope Universal will pick up on in another movie down the line.
The brides of Dracula were well-designed, the actresses beautiful, and were believable as the undead brides who are immortal, bereft of higher reasoning faculties, cruel, devoted and more than a little terrified of their master.
Lon Chaney Sr., the first choice to play Dracula in the 1930's for Universal, had an on-screen homage in the makeup and visage of the village Undertaker. This character and his clothing is clearly based on Chaney's makeup in "London After Midnight", an unfortunately lost silent movie.
Van Helsing's side kick provided just the right amount of humor to break up some of the scenes.
Hugh Jackman does a good if not outstanding job as a driven monster hunter unaware of most of his past. One can only wonder what sort of sins warranted a memory wipe as part of his penance. How did he come to be taken in by this Brotherhood of Monster Hunters?
The werewolves were different from those in other Universal Pictures, "The Howling" series or "Underworld". Each new generation of CGI and makeup provides us with fuzzier- and much bigger-werewolves. Designers might consider dropping the dog as a template for this creature and use an extinct bear-dog or similar canid that was bigger and scarier than a wolf.The werewolves simply did not move in a believable manner.
The scene of death by artificial sunlight in Dracula's Palace was interesting, if lifted from a Quentin Tarantino movie some years back, where the vampires were killed by sunlight reflecting off of a disco ball.
Kate Beckinsdale was stunning as an acrobatic gypsy trying to save generations of her family from their badly conceived (in my opinion) bargain with the Church. It was never clear what her plan was for killing Dracula, as she knew that everything in her arsenal was ineffectual.
In all, a good movie. Not a spectacular box office success, but I do hope in a few years for a sequel or prequel built around Gabriel.
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