Van Helsing

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May 10, 2004

I loved Van Helsing.  I figured that all of my friends would have loved it too, but surprisingly I heard a fair amount of ho-humming when I asked them what they thought.  I got a lot of, "Eh, it was alright."  Honestly, that confuses me a bit because I thought that it ruled!  So this afternoon I spent a little time thinking and rethinking what I thought about it and I came to the conclusion,... yes, it does indeed rule!

My favorite character in the whole movie was Count Dracula.  Generally, Dracula is depicted as this ultra-serious and dour figure driven to his own extinction by sheer arrogance and hunger.  Well, Richard Roxburgh's version is definitely arrogant, but he's far from dour.  He's sarcastic, thoughtful, sometimes forgiving, and even playful.  Too often in movies like this the villain follows any setback with the immediate execution of a valuable underling.  This Dracula sees Igor's failure to recreate Dr. Frankenstein's transformation of life from death reasonably.  Instead of casting him off to his vampire brides for dinner, he essentially says, "Well, it looks like Dr. Frankenstein took his secret of life with him to the grave.  Keep trying Igor, I'm a patient guy."  When I heard that, I perked up.  That never happens!!  I've always been frustrated with antagonists who expect all of their little plans to go perfect all the time and blow away any employee that screws up just once.  This Dracula thinks, "Well,  Igor isn't the genius that the good doctor was, but he watched him work... we have all of the equipment... Igor does seem to be making progress... and the reason that the experiment is failing has nothing to do with him directly.  Do I then kill him and let the mindless robo-jawas work without him?  No way!  I'll eat someone less important if I'm hungry."  Another thing I loved about Dracula was that he was impressible.  Too often the arrogant vampire lord is portrayed in such a way that if a pink elephant appeared before him and a hundred clowns leaped out of it's butt waving flags he would say, "Yesss.  Thisss I expected, you foooolssss!"  But not this Dracula.  There is a point in the climax of the movie when he greatly underestimates his foe, and when his true colors blossom Dracula is oozing with shocked laughter!  I nearly fell out of my chair because when transformation occurred I cried, "WHOAAAAH!!!" and then they cut to Dracula and he was also saying "WHOAAAAH!!!"  It was awesome man!

There was a lot more I liked about the movie, but I think that I'll add to this review a little later when I think about it some more.