Friday, May 14, 2004

Van Helsing

So last night my girlfriend and I went and saw Van Helsing.

I had been looking forward to this for sometime, but as the release of the movie neared I noticed the big blitz marketing campaign and the increasingly cheesy, over-the-top trailers. I think I knew before I even sat down in the theater that this was not a movie I was going to like very much. At one point in my life, I think these are the movies that I loved to see -- yearned to see -- big budget, no plot, tons of action and sfx. I remember the summer when Independence Day came out. I worked (still do) at Autodesk Inc. and another intern, Armen Askijian, and I were creating a demo CD to showcase some of the really cool stuff that 3d Studio MAX could do. We would talk about the trailer and the movie nearly everyday leading up to the release and even animated our own little movie where this castle blows up the same way the building it ID4 just gets pummeled. Anyhow, that opening day we were both in line first thing and loved every second of flick.

Was Van Helsing entertaining? Yes. Was it a good movie? No. Did I like it as much as I would have if I were 11? No. Perhaps I was not in the mood to watch 2 hours straight of Hugh Jackman battling nearly every monster of our time (no Mummy, but we already saw how that goes). And it sucks too, because I am a big Jackman fan and especially like his role as Wolverine in the X-Men films (and hope he signs on for the third). The SFX were pretty good ... I liked the werewolf transformations. I thought the Brides of Dracula were not done well, as well as their babies. Dracula himself was horribly acted ... his transformation into his more demonic form was cool. If this was the first film someone saw Hugh Jackman in they would consider him attrocious. His ferocity and believability as Wolverine stands out on its own, but now stands out so much more when comparing that performance to Van Helsing. There is no emotion, he pretty much sleepwalks through the role. I thought that the best part of the movie (acting wise) was perhaps seen as the most cheesiest by others (SPOILER) but when he is the werewolf at the end and has killed Kate Beckinsale's character he begins transforming back into a human and crying out in pain because of her loss. He pulled it off pretty well considering it was hard to take anything in the movie serious at that point.

To sum this up, I would say that I am dissappointed that I can no longer fully appreciate the fun, popcorn action flicks. Or perhaps I still can and Van Helsing really does just bite the big one.

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