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Van Helsing

From Academic Kids

This article is about the 2004 film Van Helsing. For other uses, see Van Helsing (disambiguation).

Template:Infobox Movie Van Helsing is a 2004 action / horror film directed by Stephen Sommers. The film stars Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale.

Contents

Main cast

Plot summary

During the late 19th century Dr. Frankenstein works with Count Dracula to bring the dead back to life. In doing so he creates Frankenstein's Monster. Dracula disposes of Frankenstein and the monster goes into hiding.

One year later Van Helsing is sent to Eastern Europe by a secret religious organization with ties to the Vatican in order to vanquish Dracula and save the family of the beautiful Anna from eternal purgatory. Long ago, an ancestor of Anna swore that he and his descendants would not enter Paradise until Dracula was destroyed.

Dracula tries to use Igor (Frankenstein's assistant) and Frankenstein's equipment to animate his offspring, which are born dead. However, without Dr. Frankenstein's expertise these attempts fail.

Van Helsing discovers that Dracula cannot be killed by the 'conventional' methods of disposing of a vampire, and also that Dracula knows of him. With Van Helsing's memory fragmented, he finds this curious.

Meanwhile, Dracula uses Frankenstein's monster as a catalyst to start a chain reaction that successfully animates Dracula's dead children.

Missing image
The_Wolfman_from_Van_Helsing.JPG
The Wolf Man

Count Dracula is able to control werewolves after their first full moon, having them do his bidding; however, this is an ironic ability of Dracula's, because only a bite from a Werewolf can kill him. One of those who suffers from this control is Velkan Valerious, son of the Gypsy King Boris Valerious; despite the fact that his family had been hunting Dracula since 1462, Velkan falls under the curse when he's bitten by one of Dracula's previous wolves while protecting his sister Anna from it. He was later killed by the monster hunter Van Helsing, but not before biting him, giving him the power to finally kill Dracula. Van Helsing finally kills Dracula in a showdown during the next full moon.

Anna injects Van Helsing with the antidote to the werewolf curse, which Dracula keeps in his castle to protect himself, and Van Helsing reverts to a human after unwittingly killing Anna. Frankenstein's monster sails off into the sunset. Van Helsing burns Anna's body in a funeral pyre, and sees a vision of her entering Paradise with her ancestors.

Notes

The film contains numerous homages to the Universal Studios horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, particularly those featuring Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolf Man. A poem/legend specifically written for The Wolf Man is quoted verbatim in this film.

Although this film is an homage to the Universal monster series, it breaks a cardinal rule by referring to Frankenstein's Monster directly by the name "Frankenstein", although in the context of this film, The Monster clearly considers himself to be Frankenstein's son. This difference is further borne out in an additional scene in the film's tie-in novel, in which the Monster specifically tells Van Helsing to call him Frankenstein.

Shuler Hensley, who plays Frankenstein's Monster in the film, also provided motion capture reference for the CGI-animated Mr. Hyde in the opening sequence.

In Bram Stoker's original novel, Dracula, and many subsequent films based on it, it is Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, an elderly anthropology professor from the Netherlands who does the vampire hunting.

The heroine's family name, Valerious, may or may not be a indirect reference to the novel Phantom of the Opera, which has two minor supporting characters, a deceased music professor and his wife, with a family name of Valerius (spelled without the "o"). The novel was adapted by Universal Studios into a silent film released in 1925.

Many fans have noted that Dracula refers to Van Helsing as "Gabriel" several times during the film, strongly implying that Van Helsing's real first name is Gabriel, and in both the "London Assignment" animated prequel and in the film's tie-in novel, Van Helsing introduces himself as "Gabriel Van Helsing". In addition, there are a couple of hints during the movie (even Dracula implies it during the final battle) that Van Helsing may be the angel Gabriel. In the film, the one who murdered Dracula four hundred years ago is not named, but merely referred to as the "Left Hand of God", a title that is ascribed to the archangel Gabriel in some Christian traditions.

Kate Beckinsale is becoming an old hand at fighting vampires, as she played a very similar character (albeit a vampire) in 2003's Underworld.

Fans of the Japanese manga comic Hellsing, which was published several years before Van Helsing was produced have noted numerous similarities between it and the movie -- for example, both feature Van Helsing/Hellsing as an action hero fighting Dracula and both worked for the church despite different denominations (Anime Hellsing fought for the Protestant Church, possibly Anglican but Van Helsing fought for the Catholic church) -- but it appears the similarities are coincidental.

Despite a production budget of over $160 million, plus an estimated $50 million spent on marketing, and a U.S. box office of $120 million (presumed somewhat poor by industry standards), the film might be considered a bomb. However, the film did well overseas, with an international box office of $180 million, for a total of just over $300 million worldwide. It was also a surprising success in its DVD release, making over $65 million in unit sales the first week alone, and over $140 million in total DVD and video sales thus far. As a result, the film has actually made a respectably large profit. A sequel is reportedly in talks for 2007 or 2008.

DVD Release

The DVD features the following:

Disc One:

  • Commentary with director Stephen Sommers and producer Bob Duscay
  • Commentary with Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley and Will Kemp.
  • Explore Dracula's Castle
  • Bloopers
  • Bringing Monsters To Life
  • You Are In The Movie
  • The Legend of Van Helsing
  • Trailers

Disc Two:

  • 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
  • Dracula's Lair Is Transformed

Other media

Sommers continued the story of Van Helsing in a one-off issue comic book format, and in an animated prequel that leads up to Van Helsing's actual opening scene in the film.

Comic:

Van Helsing "From Beneath the Rue Morgue"

Animated Prequel:

Van Helsing: The London Assignment

A spin-off television series, titled Transylvania, was also going to be produced, using the film's village sets, but due to poor US box-office and critical panning the series' status is currently unknown. Sommers wrote the pilot and supervised six episode scripts.

Vivendi Universal Games also published a Van Helsing video game for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Game Boy Advance. The PS2 and Xbox versions follow a similar plot to the movie and feature the voice talent of many of the actors including Hugh Jackman and Richard Roxburgh.

External links

nl:Van Helsing ja:ヴァン・ヘルシング

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