Van Helsing is a man cursed with a past of which he has no
memory and a mission that he cannot deny - to seek out and
destroy evil the world over. Hunted as a murderer by those
who do not understand his calling, Van Helsing travels the
globe as a fugitive. Accompanied only by Carl, a friar entrusted
with providing Van Helsing's safety and his weapons arsenal,
Van Helsing is despatched to the shadowy world of Transylvania.
Home to the ravishing Anna Valerious, one of the last remaining
descendants of a powerful royal family, Van Helsing has been
sent to terminate the evil and undefeatable Count Dracula
and his alluring bloodthirsty vampire brides...
Sommers, whose previous movies include The Mummy and
The Mummy Returns, brings together some of cinema's
most famous monsters - including Frankenstein's Monster, Mr.
Hyde, The Wolfman and Count Dracula - in this unbelievably
of Bram Stoker will already be familiar with the author's
famous vampire hunter, Van Helsing. However, in this tale,
the man hunts more than vampires. He works for the Catholic
church helping it rid the world of evil beasts.
movie starts with a wonderful nod to the golden screen. The
creation of Frankenstein's Monster, and the death of its maker,
pays homage to any one of a dozen classic movies. Forced to
hide from a rampaging mob, the Monster is forced to carry
his master to safety. Their hiding place, a windmill, is discovered
and the angry villagers set about torching the building, ensuring
that the two are burned alive.
forward one year, and Van Helsing is off on a holy quest to
save one bloodline and attempt to terminate another. To aid
him on his mission is a friar called Carl. This character,
who behaves very much like Q in the James Bond movies, adds
some welcome humour as well as a serious arsenal of weapons.
CGI special effects take up one hell of a lot of screen time,
but far from detracting from the plot, Sommers has ensured
that every effect is essential to the narrative. Even
the soundtrack, composed by Alan Silvestri (Back to the
Future and Predator), hits the right note. In fact
this is by far Silvestri's greatest work to date.
on the DVD release are pretty impressive and include: Explore
Dracula's Castle; bloopers; Bringing Monsters to Life; You
Are in the Movie; The Legend of Van Helsing featurette; commentary
with director Stephen Sommers and Editor/Producer Bob Duscay;
commentary with Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley and Will
Kemp; Van Helsing trailers (inc. Superbowl spot) and
upcoming releases inc. The Bourne Supremacy and Shrek
extras that are on the two-disc collection include: Explore
Frankenstein's Lab; Van Helsing: The Story, The Life, The
Legend (mini-documentary) - Track The Adventure: Van Helsing
Map; The Music of Van Helsing; and Dracula's lair is
all honesty the extras on the single disc collection are more
than enough to keep you occupied for quite some time. The
'You Are in the Movie' featurette takes a number of scenes
and then plays them back from a mini-camera mounted somewhere
else on the set. This allows you to see some of the behind
the scenes action that you didn't get to see in the movie,
and is quite an interesting feature. The bloopers are amusing,
the audio commentaries are certainly worth listening too and
the 'Explore Dracula's Castle' featurette is entertaining
enough - you get to examine in closer detail the set from
the movie. But the most enjoyable extra, for me, was the 'Bringing
Monsters to Life' featurette.
is the most intelligent and enjoyable blockbuster I've seen
for quite some time.