Van Helsing (2004)

Genre(s): Action / Adventure
Universal || PG13 - 132 minutes - $14.98 || October 19, 2004
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2004-10-22

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer(s): Stephen Sommers (written by)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh

Theatrical Release Date: May 7, 2004

Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Actors' Commentary
  • "You Are in the Movie"
  • The Legend of Van Helsing
  • Bringing the Monsters to Life
  • Explore Dracula's Castle
  • Playing "Van Helsing" on Your Xbox
  • Outtakes
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Shrek 2 Preview

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Most people who saw this very expensive bomb last May didnít like it too much, and I was one of them. The overacting that comes from every single actor and the amount of bad lines was too much to bear. I know youíre not supposed to look at those things in a movie about a man who fights monsters, but itís really really bad. It frustrated me even more, because surrounding the bad acting and dialogue were some of the best sets, effects, and action set pieces ever filmed. The second time I saw it I was able to accept the acting for what it was and just have fun with the rest of it. The one thing that is a must for liking this is to be free of any cynical thoughts. If you donít ease up and just accept the stupidity thereís no way youíre going to make the 2 hours alive. If you enjoyed The Mummy and Mummy Returns (Stephen Sommers other films) youíll be probably like this too.


The first feature on the disc is called Bringing the Monsters to Life. This 10 minute segment is probably the best feature on the disc. It provides a pretty thorough look at the creation of the CGI creatures, mainly Mr. Hyde and Draculaís brides. It dabbles a bit into other complex CG shots and the final battle between Dracula and the Wolf Man.

Next up is "You Are in the MovieĒ. This is a feature where hidden cameras were placed throughout different sets during filming to give the viewer a front row look at the process of shooting the movie. It divides into certain scenes, and you have the option to watch the movie with a feature that will let you know when you can jump to this feature and watch that scene being shot through the hidden cameras. Itís a pretty cool idea, but it turns out to be pretty pointless and boring. The little comments that are made pointing towards the cameras are incredibly corny and dumb. This feature runs 5 minutes, so itís pretty cool to see the full set, actors, and camera men in action, but in the end, not too informative.

The 10 minute feature called The Legend of Van Helsing starts off well, with a brief history of Van Helsingís character in other movies, but then turns into a big kiss ass session for Hugh Jackman. Almost everyone involved has their say in how great Hugh is, how heís the perfect fit, and how he can do no wrong. It should have been called The Legend of Hugh Jackman, but no big deal, I still found out more about the character than I knew before.

The first commentary from director Stephen Sommers and producer Bob Duscay is pretty standard. If you like to hear either of them ramble about the obvious than you may want to submit yourself to this...but if not, it's a no go.

The second commentary is done by Richard Roxburgh, Will Kemp, and Shuler Hensley who played the monsters in the film. It's a great deal better than the first commentary, but still isn't something that's going to knock your socks off. They do talk about the production, and they seem to have fun with it. Overall, a pretty good track.

The worst feature on the disc is called Explore Draculaís Castle. Why did they waste disc space on this? This is the type of thing that is reserved purely for kiddie films. This useless feature lets you look at 3 areas of Draculaís Castle (that youíve already seen in the movie) and has Dracula talking about it.

There are 5 minutes of Outtakes which are decent, played to some dumb background music. Itís pretty standard but chuckle worthy.

The second page of features has promotion fluff that includes: Play Van Helsing Game on Your X-Box, Trailers: The Superbowl Promo and Final Trailer are on this which is very nice since a lot of studios have been leaving trailers out of their DVDís which is one of my favorite special features, and a Shrek 2 Preview.


The film, presented in 1:85, looks fantastic. It isnít as perfect as DVDs like Lord of the Rings or Pearl Harbor, but for such a dark film, itís about as good as it gets. Sadly there is not a DTS track. I wonder if the people over at Universal understand that theyíll sell more copies by putting a DTS track than some crappy features. All that aside, the Dolby Digital mix is pretty great. Itís a very loud, rumbling, busy movie so the sound is pretty important and it doesnít disappoint. You may have to crank your system up a bit more than youíre used to, but once you do it sounds awesome. The best portion for testing out the audio would be the Chariot scene. All of the dialogue is perfectly heart, even though at times you may not want to.


If you liked the movie this is a disc youíll want to pick up. If youíre a huge fan you may want to pick up the 3 disc Ultimate Edition. The film has a lot of repeat value for its excellent action sequences and campy fun. You can even get a good drinking game going with taking a shot whenever someone overacts or you cringe.