Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Total Film's 50 Most Hated Movies of All Time # 34 - Van Helsing

Back in 2004, Van Helsing was probably 1 of the top 3 movies I was jacked for.  Why?  Well, why do think my blogger name is Stephenstein?  Growing up, I read all the books I could on the famous Universal Monsters.  Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, the Wolfman, I inhaled it all.  When the classic Universal Monster sets came out, I bought the set that included the busts.  I was jacked for a movie that would have all three of the "top" Universal Monsters in them and I was especially excited to see them done the right way.

So, I watched Van Helsing in the theatre and the first half an hour or so was great, no complaints, the movie was delivering on all counts.  Then it got...stupid.  Why did Dracula want to be a father? (I mean, every time he turns a human into a vampire, is he not in essence their father?)  Why was The Wolfman basically a thug character?  Who the hell thought up that only a werewolf can defeat a vampire?  What the hell was going on here?

So, did not dig the movie, nevertheless.  I think it was a valiant attempt, but in the end it was not handled the right way.  That being said, I still bought the 3-disc version of the movie.  Why?  Because I still admire the Universal Monsters, I still like them in the movie, even if Richard Roxburgh hammed it up as Dracula and even if the Frankenstein Monster sounded to me like  a bad Broadway actor trying to sound Shakespearean or something.  The fact is, they were still the Universal Monsters, their design was neat and in the end, it was a passable, if not very flawed film. 

Therefore, if I can find myself not hating this film, even if they screwed up royally and I at least have some background with the Universal Monsters and their history, then I find it hard to believe that Total Film has any right to criticize this movie.  Unless they grew up with the Universal Monsters and loved what they were and just loved that whole film series, which I highly doubt, then their disdain for this movie, while being plausible in pointing out the problems with the plot of the film, has no basis to cross into outright hate.  To me, it was nice for Stephen Sommers to try, but at the end of the day, he lacks the skill to pull it off.  Here's hoping that the "reboot" actually works and we get a decent film that actually pays homage to the Universal Monsters properly instead of the half-baked attempt we got in 2004.

Rating: Worth the hate?  If I don't hate it, I don't see why you do.

- Stephenstein

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