Van Helsing: Frank Masi
Movie Details
Action Adventure ,
April 21, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Thanks to the back-to-back blockbusters ”The Mummy” and ”The Mummy Returns,” it’s safe to say writer-director Stephen Sommers owns monster movies. He’s also in possession of Universal’s undying affection: Those Egyptian vengefests earned the studio a tidy $357 million in domestic receipts. So who better than Sommers to ransack the Uni vaults again in search of more classic characters ripe for revival?

The $148 million, F/X-heavy (to the tune of 980 effects shots) ”Van Helsing” is a 19th-century tale of an emotionally conflicted monster hunter who combats Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), Frankenstein’s Monster (Shuler Hensley), and the Wolf Man (Gap hunk Will Kemp) — subjects close to the director’s heart. ”I know my lore,” says Sommers. ”That’s one thing none of the geeks can get me on. I AM a geek!”

Just don’t expect the film to be all bloody stakes through the heart and full moons. ”If people see it just because they think they’re going to see a guy facing three monsters, then so be it,” says star Hugh Jackman. ”But they’re going to get a pleasant surprise. It really is an epic adventure, and at the center is a very touching romance.” To wit, ”Underworld”’s Kate Beckinsale turns up as a Transylvanian-accented vampire huntress who, it turns out, has her sights set on Dracula’s head — and Van Helsing’s heart. (Other geek attractions: Dracula’s undead brides, hybrid creatures made up of real beauties enhanced with computer-generated effects.)

”He has a certain amount of pathos and believability,” Jackman says of his character, adding that ”there’s also a very heroic, swashbuckling element.” And love story aside, the film allowed Jackman to relieve some stress by kicking some monster butt. ”Let’s face it, it was a boyhood dream,” he jokes. ”It beats yoga.”

THE GOOD NEWS The movie’s high concept sounds way cool.

THE BAD NEWS The last high-concept flick to combine several classic characters was ”The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

Action Adventure,
131 minutes
Stephen Sommers
Will Kemp,
Josie Maran,
Richard Roxburgh,
David Wenham
Complete Coverage

You May Like