Van Helsing (film)

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Van Helsing
Van Helsing poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Produced by Stephen Sommers
Bob Ducsay
Written by Stephen Sommers
Starring Hugh Jackman
Kate Beckinsale
Richard Roxburgh
David Wenham
Will Kemp
Kevin J. O'Connor
Shuler Hensley
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Allen Daviau
Edited by Bob Ducsay
Kelly Matsumoto
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) May 7, 2004 (2004-05-07)
Running time 131 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $160 million
Box office $300,257,475

Van Helsing is a 2004 American horror action film directed by Stephen Sommers. It stars Hugh Jackman as vigilante monster hunter Gabriel 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 '40s (also produced by Universal Studios which were in turn based on novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley), of which director Stephen 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, the 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 critical reviews, the film grossed over $300 million worldwide and was one of the biggest blockbusters released in 2004. A reboot starring Tom Cruise is in development.

Plot[edit]

In 1887, Transylvanian Doctor Victor Frankenstein brings to life his Monster with the aid of his assistant Igor and Count Dracula. After Dracula betrays and kills Doctor Frankenstein, the Monster escapes to a windmill, which is burned down by a pursuing mob. The mob flees as Dracula and his three brides mourn the loss of the Monster.

A year later, the Knights of the Holy Order dispatch Gabriel Van Helsing, who has amnesia, to kill Dracula. He is also tasked with preventing the last of the Valerious family from falling into purgatory; the family swore to kill Dracula nine generations ago and is unable to enter Heaven until they succeed. He is given a torn piece of paper with an insignia on it and joined by Carl, a friar who provides support and weapons.

In Transylvania, the two meet Anna Valerious, who tells them her brother Velkan was recently killed by a werewolfin attempt to save her. Van Helsing saves her from Dracula's brides as they attack the village, ending with Van Helsing killing one, Marishka, as the others escape. Anna takes the pair to her castle. That night, Anna awakens and encounters Velkan, now a werewolf himself. After Velkan flees, Van Helsing and Anna track him to Frankenstein's castle, only to find Dracula attempting to give life to his children using Velkan as a substitute for the Monster. His plan fails, and Anna frees Velkan as he transforms into a werewolf. Dracula confronts Van Helsing, who recognizes him, and realizes that Dracula is impervious to conventional methods of killing vampires.

While escaping, Van Helsing and Anna fall into a cave, where they find Frankenstein's Monster alive. Though the Monster pleads to be killed so that Dracula cannot use him, Van Helsing decides to take him to Rome to protect him. While crossing the Carpathian Mountains, the brides and Velkan attack. A decoy carriage kills Verona, the oldest of Dracula's brides. The genuine carriage is attacked by Velkan and Van Helsing kills him, but is bitten; at the next full moon, Van Helsing will become a werewolf. Anna is captured by Aleera, Dracula's remaining bride, and taken to Budapest.

In Budapest, Van Helsing hides the Monster in a cemetery before he and Carl head off to save Anna, who is at a masked ball consisting only of vampires. Van Helsing and Carl rescue her, but the Monster is captured. Van Helsing, Anna and Carl return to Castle Frankenstein, where they find the equipment has been removed. At Anna's castle, Carl explains that Dracula was the son of Anna's ancestor. Dracula was murdered by "The Left Hand of God", but not before making a Faustian Bargain, which gave him new life as a vampire. Carl explains that although Anna's ancestor made the vow to kill Dracula, he could not kill his own son. Instead, he banished Dracula to an icy fortress from which he should not have been able to return, but Satan gave him wings, which allowed him to escape. Van Helsing finds a portal to Dracula's castle disguised as a wall map, completed using the paper that Van Helsing brought from Rome. They enter the portal, emerging on a cliff near Castle Dracula.

As the trio sees the Monster being lifted to the laboratory, he tells them that Dracula has a werewolf cure. Carl realizes that only a werewolf can kill Dracula and that he uses werewolves to do his bidding, but needs a cure in case they turn against him.

Van Helsing frees the Monster—but not before Dracula's spawn are given life. He then becomes a werewolf and confronts Dracula. Dracula reveals that Van Helsing is really Gabriel, the Left Hand of God—as well as the one who originally murdered him. He offers to restore Van Helsing's memories, but Van Helsing refuses, declaring that "some things are better left forgotten".

Anna and Carl retrieve the cure but are attacked by Aleera after Igor traps them in the room. Attempting to kill Carl, Igor falls to his death, and Aleera is killed by Anna. They make their way to the laboratory just as Van Helsing kills Dracula and his offspring. Anna injects Van Helsing with the cure but is killed by him at the same time. Van Helsing and Carl hold a quiet ceremony for Anna and cremate her as the Monster departs on a raft into the ocean. As Anna's body burns, Van Helsing sees his and her family in Heaven at peace.

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 USA.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Despite a high box office, critical reception was mostly negative, and the film was classed by the website Rotten Tomatoes as "Rotten", with 23% of reviews counted as positive.[2] 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."[3]

Soundtrack[edit]

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

Merchandise[edit]

Board Games[edit]

Van Helsing appears in a board game[4] designed by Fréderic Moyersoen the creator of numerous successful board games such as Saboteur.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] Rupert Sanders is in talks to direct the film.[9] Orci spoken to IGN that he has hinted that both The Mummy and Van Helsing reboots will have a shared universe.[10][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]