Sunday, May 9, 2004

Van Helsing Review

Well, what can I say? This is the start of the Summer Movie Season, and the first BIG picture out of the crap factory otherwise known as Hollywood is Universal's attempt to revive their 1930's movie monster franchises. And that's what this film feels like - take every plot point and every hairy monster from every film you can think of, put it in a big Studio-sized blender, and hit puree. Van Helsing, engagingly conceived, throws everything it can think of at you, and in many cases fails to explain concepts introduced seemingly only because they sound cool. Note to Hollywood screenwriters: you can't just introduce a cool concept and then not explain it. Make an effort.

Hugh Jackman makes you believe that he could be a Vatican-backed assassin vampire slayer, sent into the world to vanquish evil, but he is surrounded by so many affects that sometimes it is difficult to find him on the screen - "Oh, there he is, in the bottom left corner of the screen, behind those 200 flying/bloodthirsty/gargoyle beasties." His weaponry is cool and his sidekick suitably witty, but Jackman is no Indiana Jones. Kate Beckinsale is wasted here and, for some reason, spends all but five minutes of the movie in the same oddly unflattering leather outfit. I know it's 1870, but don't people own more than one outfit? Or has she spent far too much time being Buffy before there was a Buffy? Oh, and to the director: thanks for the obvious sequel setup. Thank you for treating us like stupid children.
Bottom Line: 3 out of 10. Interesting but unsatisfying.