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(Review originally written at 23 October 2004)

Man, this movie was way too intense. Normally I like fast paced Hollywood movies with lot's of action and special effects but this movie has just too much action. All of the things are happening too fast after another, the movie doesn't give you time to think or even breath! However does that mean it didn't liked this movie? No that was not the case, I thought the movie was very enjoyable and I find it still recommendable.

Even though there is a special effects overkill, they are impressive to watch nevertheless and probably that alone makes this movie worth to watch. The movie doesn't really have more to offer than that, it feels like the story is just of minor importance and even though Hugh Jackman is good in his role, his character just doesn't really become interesting, which is not his fault. The makers should have probably spend more time on the story and character instead of just the special effects. Maybe if this was the case they also wouldn't had changed Van Helsing's name in Gabriel Van Helsing instead of Abraham which is the original name. Director Stephen Sommers however thought that the name Abraham was just too old fashioned and not cool enough, he didn't want to make a movie in which his main character is named Abraham or so he claimed in a TV interview I saw a long time ago before the movie release. From that moment on I feared the worst for this movie. Yes, a different director would have been more appropriate probably, someone who did had some more respect for all the old horror characters and their names. Van Helsing will always stay the old professor to me and not the action hero like he is portrayed in this movie.

Poor Richard Roxburgh. It's not like his Dracula performance is bad but it's just that there have been so many better Dracula's like Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman, compared to them his performance turns pale which can also be blamed on the script.

But like I said I still thought this movie was enjoyable. The movie is especially recommendable if you like old horror classics from Universal. The first few minutes are a great tribute to the classics however after that the classic horror characters are only used to impress the viewer with fancy special effects. There are some good action sequences but simply too much. After one hour I already had seen enough action and was surprised to see that I wasn't even halve way trough with watching the movie.

Great special effects, great soundtrack and nice atmosphere but the story doesn't do much justice to the classic characters or the actors in this movie.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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