Van Helsing (film)

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Van Helsing
Van Helsing poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Produced by
Written by Stephen Sommers
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Allen Daviau
Edited by
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • May 7, 2004 (2004-05-07)
Running time
131 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $160 million[1]
Box office $300.3 million[1]

Van Helsing is a 2004 American horror action film directed by Stephen Sommers. It stars Hugh Jackman as vigilante monster hunter Van Helsing, and Kate Beckinsale as Anna Valerious. The film is an homage and tribute to the Universal Horror Monster films from the 1930s and 1940s (also produced by Universal Studios which were in turn based on novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley), of which Sommers is a fan.

The titular character was inspired by the Dutch vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing from Irish author Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. Distributed by Universal Pictures, the film includes a number of monsters such as Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and werewolves in a way similar to the multi-monster movies that Universal produced in the 1940s, such as Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and House of Dracula.

Despite mostly negative reviews, the film grossed over $300 million worldwide and did well with the general public, becoming one of the biggest blockbusters released in 2004.

Plot[edit]

In 1887 Transylvania, an angry mob lays siege on the castle of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, who uses his technology to bring his monster to life, much to the elation of Dracula who has a use for Victor's technology. After his assistant Igor betrays him, the doctor is killed by Dracula. The monster attacks Dracula and flees with Frankenstein, making his way to a windmill that the pursuing mob then sets ablaze, apparently killing the monster as well, to the disappointment of Dracula and his three brides; Marishka, Verona and Aleera.

One year later, after a battle with Jekyll and Hyde leaves him a wanted murderer, an amnesiac monster hunter named Van Helsing is sent by the Knights of the Holy Order to Transylvania to aid the Valerious family; descendants of Dracula who have vowed that they will never enter heaven unless they have destroyed his evil, and for nine generations have failed. He takes with him Carl, a friar who creates and provides the weapons Van Helsing uses, he is given part of an inscription and a ring as his only clues to his identity and to the mystery. Meanwhile, the last two members of the family; Anna and Velkan arrange a trap for a werewolf that ambushes them and apparently kills Velkan by falling with him over a cliff. When Van Helsing arrives, he saves Anna from Dracula's brides, killing Marishka which briefly turns the townsfolk against him, who fear retaliation, but Anna comes to his defense. Upon her insistence on taking the fight to Dracula, Van Helsing knocks her out, but she awakens in the night and discovers her brother Velkan; still alive, but now a werewolf himself. Van Helsing drives him off, and the two track him to Frankenstein's castle where they discover he is attempting to use the werewolf to replicate Doctor Frankenstein's experiment and bring his undead children to life, Dracula makes reference to Van Helsing being the "Left Hand of God" who had killed him once. Anna tries to save her brother, but he transforms and attacks her, she and Van Helsing escape, realizing that midnight of the full moon had driven her brother completely into Dracula's thrall.

At the burned down mill, Van Helsing and Anna fall into the ruins and discover Frankenstein's monster, still alive. But as he is not evil, Van Helsing cannot allow himself or Anna to kill him, the werewolf Velkan spots this and escapes, and fearing that Dracula will use him to bring his children to life, the monster begs Van Helsing to kill him. Instead, they escape by carriage to Budapest where they are attacked by Verona and Aleera, but using a trapped duplicate carriage, Verona is killed when it is destroyed, sending stakes through her heart and immolating her. Van Helsing's carriage is attacked by Velkan and in the ensuing battle, he manages to kill him with a silver bullet, but not before being bitten himself. Anna is then captured by Aleera who offers a trade; Anna for the monster. Taking him to Rome, they hide the monster in a mausoleum while Carl is sent to the Vatican to update them of the mission. Van Helsing goes to a costume ball to save Anna, but finds it is a trap when all the guests are vampires as well. Using a device Carl created, they destroy all the vampires and escape, but the monster is captured by Dracula.

During their investigations, they realize that Dracula's true palace was where his father banished him when he didn't have the heart to kill his own son. But he made a deal with the Devil who gave him wings in order to escape. After the Left Hand of God killed him, he was granted an immortal life as a vampire. Carl discovers the only thing that can kill Dracula is a werewolf, which allows Van Helsing until the stroke of midnight before he becomes Dracula's servant. Using the parchment, they find the passage to Dracula's icy fortress. Realizing there is a cure to his lycanthropy, Anna and Carl go after it while Van Helsing tries to save the monster. After Aleera attacks them, Carl narrowly manages to get the cure to Anna, who then kills a gloating Aleera. Meanwhile, Van Helsing and Dracula battle and he becomes a werewolf. Killing him at the last second, he turns on Anna who injects him with the cure, but he kills her.

The monster leaves Transylvania by raft while a cured Van Helsing and Carl light a pyre over Anna's body. He looks up and sees Anna with her family in heaven, and realizes his mission was a success before he and Carl depart on horseback into the sunset.

Cast[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #1 in the weekend of May 7–9, 2004. The film grossed US$300,257,475 worldwide of which US$120,177,084 was from the US.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Van Helsing received mostly negative by critics.[2] Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 23% of 213 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads: "A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload."[3] Metacritic rated it 35/100 based on 38 reviews.[4] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4 stating that "At the outset, we may fear Sommers is simply going for f/x overkill, but by the end, he has somehow succeeded in assembling all his monsters and plot threads into a high-voltage climax. Van Helsing is silly, spectacular and fun."[5]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's original soundtrack was composed by Alan Silvestri.

Merchandise[edit]

Board games[edit]

Van Helsing appears in a board game[6] designed by Fréderic Moyersoen the creator of numerous successful board games such as Saboteur.[7] The board game was released by Mayfair Games in 2010.

Video games[edit]

Vivendi Universal Games published a Van Helsing video game for PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC and Game Boy Advance. The game follows a similar plot to the movie, has gameplay similar to Devil May Cry and the PS2 and Xbox versions feature the voice talent of many of the actors including Hugh Jackman.

Slot games[edit]

Van Helsing also features in a slot game produced by International Game Technology.[8] The game is available in real world casinos and online, though users in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and USA are excluded from playing the online games.[9]

Spin-offs[edit]

Sommers expanded the story of Van Helsing in two direct spin-offs:

  • There is also a one-issue comic book titled Van Helsing: From Beneath the Rue Morgue, that follows Van Helsing on a self-contained adventure that occurs during the events of the film, just after the death of Jekyll/Hyde in Paris but before Van Helsing returned to Rome. In the adventure, Van Helsing deals with Doctor Moreau and his hybrid mutants.

Reboot[edit]

In May 2012, Universal Pictures announced that they are rebooting the film with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as a two-year deal to produce a modern reimagining and Tom Cruise to star as the title character and also produce the film.[10] Rupert Sanders is in talks to direct the film.[11] Orci spoken to IGN that he has hinted that both The Mummy and Van Helsing reboots will have a shared universe.[12][13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Van Helsing". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  2. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (2004-05-10). "Marketing goes to heroic measures". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-10-15. 
  3. ^ Van Helsing Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  4. ^ "Van Helsing". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-10-15. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 7, 2004). "Van Helsing". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  6. ^ Van Hesling Board Game review by BoardGameGeek
  7. ^ Fréderic Moyersoen Fréderic Moyersoen profile page at BoardGameGeek
  8. ^ Van Helsing Slot Machine vegasslotsonline review
  9. ^ IGT Slots Blocked Territories
  10. ^ "Orci, Kurtzman sign two-year Universal deal". Variety. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  11. ^ "BREAKING: Rupert Sanders Circling Universal's Tom Cruise-Starring VAN HELSING". Twich. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  12. ^ Bob Orci Discusses Van Helsing Reboot
  13. ^ Forget Franchises: Why 2014 Will Be Hollywood's Year of the 'Shared Universe'

External links[edit]