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Van Helsing (2004)

tomatometer

23

Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 213
Fresh: 48 | Rotten: 165

A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload.

18

Average Rating: 3.6/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 33

A hollow creature feature that suffers from CGI overload.

audience

58

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 606,779

My Rating

Movie Info

The greatest monster hunter of them all has his work cut out for him as he tracks down three deadly foes in this action-adventure saga. Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a man who has dedicated his life to battling evil forces who exist outside the bounds of nature; Van Helsing's work has not always made him friends, and a false accusation of murder still trails him. But when he's summoned to Transylvania at the behest of Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), whose family has been fighting

PG-13,

Action & Adventure, Horror

Stephen Sommers

Oct 19, 2004

$120.0M

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Van Helsing

October 11, 2012:
Rupert Sanders in Talks for Van Helsing
Sanders could direct Tom Cruise in Universal's remake.
May 4, 2012:
Weekly Ketchup: Tom Cruise Signed to Van Helsing Reboot
This week's Ketchup covered a week almost entirely comprised of reboots of old familiar concepts....

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All Critics (220) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (165) | DVD (48)

The horror flick, at its height, was a lyrical caressing of our fears; by the end of this nonsense, you fear for the well-being of the genre. 'It's dead!'

August 1, 2004
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's empty calories: There isn't a single nourishing, non-synthetic sequence in the entire movie. Not a scene. Not a line. Not a look.

June 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This moronic abomination is not a movie. It's just a noisy, nasty and repulsive video game-slash- theme-park haunted-house ride designed to appeal to the offspring of warlocks and trolls.

May 20, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of the dopiest movies of the year.

May 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The orgy of morphing, shrieking, lightning-cracking, and habitual rope-swinging quickly turns oppressive.

May 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A special-effects extravaganza that uses the barest of excuses to bring these characters together.

May 7, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A chaotic blur of recycled archetypes from classic horror flicks, action sequences unbound by laws of gravity and physics, and CGI special effects that somehow manage to appear ridiculously expensive and unconvincingly obvious all at once.

July 19, 2014 Full Review Source: The Moving Picture Show
The Moving Picture Show

The already-lousy House of Frankenstein as done up by a filmmaker whose idea of style is to make things as loud and busy as possible... A screaming, noisy, overedited mess of a movie.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This is one vampire movie with bite.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

A special effects-laden piece of trash...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

In a blood-thirsty, dead-three-centuries sort of way, it's perfectly charming.

August 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine) | Comments (4)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

An overamped action movie in which the legendary monsters are interchangeable with any other brutish CGI beasts.

July 25, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Like the three monsters at the center of the film, Van Helsing is a howling dog, it needs a brain, and indeed, it bites.

November 10, 2006
Christianity Today

Writer and director Stephen Sommers is less interested in developing the characters and more interested in smashing them into things.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source: www.kcactive.com | Comment (1)

... even in the name of high adventure, the end result was just too silly and unbelievable to accept or enjoy.

December 28, 2004 Full Review Source: MovieCrypt.com
MovieCrypt.com

The plotting is dull and ... the action scenes quickly grow tiresome.

December 16, 2004

Silly, preposterous, poorly directed and badly acted.

November 14, 2004 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A fun ride of a movie, as long as you're willing not to take it too seriously.

November 2, 2004 Full Review Source: CinemaBlend.com
CinemaBlend.com

If you were raised on action-packed computer games, this movie is from Sega heaven.

October 14, 2004 Full Review
Kansas City Kansan

Too bad [Stephen Sommers'] complete lack of restraint turned this at-first-promising flick into a jarring and prolonged audio-visual wank fest.

August 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

allows for the digital manipulation of virtually everything on screen, turning the movie into a frenetic, attention-deficit cartoon that still manages to look kinda cheap

August 5, 2004 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

'Si quiere verla, mejor espérese a que salga en DVD...y aún así creo de debería pensarlo.'

July 20, 2004

Stephen Sommers delivers stale effect-movie action, outdoing even his own worst efforts.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

With Sommers' work it's hard to know where the fan stops and the director starts.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Much like the horror films the characters represent, "Van Helsing" is a movie that's more about the ambiance and setting than the quality of the achievement.

July 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Audience Reviews for Van Helsing

Pretty much the ultimate modern day homage to all the classic Universal monster flicks of the 30's and 40's, more specifically the few monster mash movies that were made including all the legendary monsters. Stephen Sommers takes his own hammy over the top Indiana Jones-esque schlock style from 'The Mummy' franchise and plumps it firmly into the Transylvanian homeland of Dracula, no CGI sparred. Oh and Kevin J O'Connor is brought along too yet again.

The plot? Van Helsing must do battle against Dracula and his minions plus werewolves and Frankenstein's monster...the end. This really is such a tough film to review for me, we all know Sommers from his Mummy films and we all knew exactly what to expect from his directing. This guy revels in complete tongue-in-cheek schlock action which is usually realised through heavy use of CGI. Its an old saying but think Indiana Jones but even more ludicrous, even more silly, even more quickfire quips and outrageously over the top everything. We all know this and going into this movie we again...all knew this, we knew it would be nonsense of the highest order, so I simply cannot complain about the fact the film is a total load of hammy cliches. I knew it would be! the only reason I wanted to see the film was simply down to the content...Universal's monsters.

This is the only reason why I had to see the film and why I give it kudos of any kind, the pure unadulterated fantastico monster mashing. But again I'm hampered! yes again!! the reason being I absolutely adored the concept behind this, the art direction, the atmosphere, the sets, the lighting, the use of that olde worlde Victorian steampunk style etc...but there are so many things about the film I hated and wanted to change. So many ideas that just begged to be awesome but the route they chose killed me artistically!

The monsters...ah those epic monsters...what the hell did they do to Dracula?! seriously! Could they have gone any further away from how this character should have looked at least. Sure Roxburgh does a good job with the role and stereotypical accent but his look...holy crapenstein! the Prince of Darkness looks like a rock star with that camp hair and God awful earrings. Yeah you could say that suits his style but the film is set within 18th Century not the present, it feels all wrong. They do get his Brides kinda right in monster mode at least although they seem to be dressed in Arabic style attire to me in human form, at least they are suitably hot although totally cliched with a blonde, a brunette and a redhead (why am I even saying cliched here?).

The werewolves look fantastic in wolf mode, love the thin pointed [i]Batman[/i] type ears and overall colour schemes. Hated the transformation process though, instead of morphing they rip their skin off or shed which just doesn't seem right to me. That sorta indicates they would have multiple layers of skin going on and on plus what would their actual origin form be because there would always be another form underneath if you get me. The continuity is also off with the transformation because in some scenes their form seems to melt off.

Frankenstein's monster has a nice touch of the olde worlde steampunk theme going on about his person. I liked the jets of steam coming from his leg hinges/hydraulics and the metallic body sections, almost cyborg-like, but I didn't think much of the green CGI electric current on view in his head plates...bit too far there. On the flip side Van Helsing sports the usual superhero-esque long trench coat, broad rimmed hat and face hiding scarf in a dark brown colour scheme, but his weapons have a lovely steampunk style to them with a nice old fashioned cogs and wheels mechanical aspect (18th Century remember). Van Helsing feels very much like a historic version of 'Blade' and 'James Bond' rolled into one, and of course to complete that air of coolness he has his nerdy bumbling sidekick who supplies him with all his monster killing gadgets.

What I really couldn't get on with was the quite bizarre 'Alien' rip off where Dracula is trying to raise an army of his minions who have been incubated in 'Alien-esque' eggs! Apparently when vampires mate they create a sort of flying Gremlin/gargoyle type creature...in an egg, does the female vampire lay an egg or something?? The only way to do this is by using power generated from Frankenstein's monster? I think that was the game, beats me why. I also must ask why Dracula has hordes of little munchkins wearing gas masks as his henchmen, who the hell are they suppose to be? surely other vampires or zombies or something would have been better. Oh and where exactly is Dracula's icy fortress suppose to be? the good guys go through a portal of some kind to get there...sooooo is it not in Transylvania?

There are many bits that I could mention that frustrate me and force me to nit pick, I know its a daft Sommers film but it could of been a classic Sommers film had these things been different. There are VAST amounts of CGI throughout the film which at times work but at others look dreadful (more so than 'The Mummy' films, quality and quantity wise). Things like the little Transylvanian town at the start, Frankenstein's castle, moody skylines, werewolves, Dracula's Brides and some gore look really neat. On the flip side there is the entire action sequence finale where things get so absurd and incredible as the heroes leap around between these towers with ropes, seemingly invincible to everything that the film becomes a hyper cartoon. Again I know you're meant to leave you're brain at the door but really, some of the feats pull you right out of the film they are so super ridiculous. I also hated the awful looking CGI enhanced vampire jaws when vampires in human form roared or hissed showing their fangs. Why is that necessary? just use makeup and their real mouths! it looks like something out of the Mortal kombat films ugh!

A guilty CGI pleasure though must be the all out badass battle between a werewolf Van Helsing and Dracula in full winged demon form. Its a total CGI fest of course but these two monsters are pretty sweet looking and I simply can't resist it, just what a monster mash requires, almost on form with a Godzilla vs King Kong face off...almost. So yes the entire thing is practically 'The Mummy' in Transylvania but if you're of a fan of this classic genre then it should still win you over. Ironic that the film may have been even more spectacular if they had squeezed in a few mummies and maybe a creature from the Black Lagoon, overkill? nah that comes as standard with Stephen Sommers.
May 21, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Stupid idea for a story, but fun in an idiotic way. I'm embarrassed to say it, but I really liked it -- for a mindless action thriller.
March 9, 2014
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

29/01/2013 (DVD)
January 29, 2013
EightThirty

Super Reviewer

    1. Anna Valerious: What do you want?
    2. Frankenstein's Monster: To exist.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (18 months ago)
    1. Igor: Hahaha! You think you can get Igor. Igor get you!
    – Submitted by Zach W (22 months ago)
    1. Gabriel Van Helsing: [shoves Igor to a wall] You will take these two to Dracula's lair.
    2. Igor: No, I won't.
    3. Gabriel Van Helsing: [threatens Igor]
    4. Igor: Yes, I will...
    – Submitted by Zach W (22 months ago)
    1. Count Vladislaus Dracula: Don't we make a lovely couple?
    2. Anna Valerious: Oh my God...
    3. Count Vladislaus Dracula: I am looking for a new bride Anna. Someone strong and beautiful.
    – Submitted by Jessica L (2 years ago)
    1. Dr. Jekyll: My turn!
    – Submitted by I Am The Vast UNIVERSE I (3 years ago)
    1. Marishka: Too bad. So sad.
    – Submitted by Stanislava S (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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