Never is a cinematic experience more depressing than when the
mobile phone advert at the beginning of the film is the best
thing about it. Unfortunately Van Helsing was such an experience. This is a $150 million dollar film that isn’t funny,
isn’t scary and isn’t sexy. Even the delectable Hugh
Jackman turns in a rather uninspiring performance. The film opens
with Van Helsing (a comic book super hero out to rid the world of
vampires, werewolves and deranged psychopaths) in a gothic
nineteenth century Paris, fighting an oversized Dr Jeckel who he
finishes off by throwing from the top of Notre Dame. Spectacular?
No, only vaguely amusing. Van Helsing works for The Order, the
self-proclaimed ‘last defence against evil’ who reside
in the Vatican under the direction of the Pope. The Order equip
him with Nineteenth Century versions of James Bond gadgets. He
has his very own Q, a geeky little friar who accompanies him on
his adventures and provides him with such inventive machines as a
gas propelled arrow shooter and explosive balls that stimulate
the heat and light of the sun. To cut straight to the uninspiring chase, Van Helsing finds
himself in Transylvania to fight, you’ve guessed it, the
invincible Dracula. Of course Dracula isn’t really
invincible, it’s just no one knows how to kill him. And of
course Van Helsing finds a way which has something to do with
lightening, Frankenstein’s monster, mutant Dracula babies
and the love of a good woman whose brother happens to be a
werewolf. If that little summary doesn’t put you off, you’re
probably one of those sci-fi aficionados who’ll like this
film no matter how dire it is, and will go and see it regardless.
For the rest of you, I implore you to save your cash for other
activities. For the geeks out there, here is a little more of the
story. Kate Beckinsale is said good woman, a big screen version
of Buffy, clad in leather trousers and a tight bodice with a
flowing main of silky locks to complete the sex-object. Beckinsale is Anna Valerious, the last of the Valerious line
whose job it is to kill Dracula. She has some good attempts but
needs the arrowtouting Van Helsing to close the deal. Cue Dracula
and his posse: Igor, a bunch of dwarf nasties, and his wives who
like to indulge in erotic clinches of the lesbian variety. Anna
and Van discover, horror of horrors, that Dracula intends to
unleash into the world hundreds of thousands of his mutant
babies, no doubt clanging the death knell for mankind. Anna does
her part by getting captured and breathing heavily in her tight
bodice. Van does his part by turning into a Werewolf, killing
Dracula and thus all his mutant babies. The world is safe once again. That is until Van Helsing 2 is
born. Oh, God, please, no.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004