Saturday, May 15, 2004

It didn't suck!

Gave in and saw Van Helsing today.  Given how badly it was reviewed (check out rottentomatoes), I expected a serious dog.

So, why did I go?  Well, mostly because I'm a "theatre person," and -- although it isn't considered a huge selling point -- this movie is chock full of theatre people.  (Sure, there's Jackman himself, who is currently on Broadway in The Boy From Oz.  But there's also Shuler Hensley, who was in Oklahoma in London opposite Jackman.  And Will Kemp, an amazingly dancer over whose performances I have repeatedly drooled.)  So, yeah, I would be all over this thing like white on rice no matter how bad the reviews. 

The reviews did, however, succeed in lowering my expectations.  I was expecting this to be League of Extraordinary Gentlemen bad, and it wasn't even in the same ... well ... league.  Since I was expecting so little, I genuinely enjoyed how much more I got.

Well, up until the ending.  Could someone please send a memo to Hollywood that having two obviously-CGI characters battle each other is not something an audience can get involved in.  AND the battle took rather longer than it was allowed to -- if it was going to be true to the script.  AND the final, final scene was ... well, it didn't work in [the old movie it made me think of] and it didn't work here either.

Although, I gotta give the shot credit for making me think of the earlier picture.  One of the most fun things about Van Helsing was how much it quoted/paid tribute to earlier movies.  It wasn't like I was sitting there playing "spot the reference" or anything -- it's just that the references were so clear, I would see an image and immediately the other picture would pop immediately into my head.  And not just old Universal Horror films.  I certainly had an Alien moment, as well as a Matrix one.  There was something adorably entertaining about the way this movie brought to mind so many others.

And, yes, there was a lot about the (and I use the word loosely) "plot" that I really didn't approve of.  I mean, there are certain rules for how one disposes of a vampire -- and the way this movie answered the question was not only somewhat non-traditional, but downright ridiculous.  It is a silly concept to which I am totally opposed.  And yet, I forgave it because of the places it allowed the movie to go.  So, yes, it was a stupid idea -- but, ultimately, I think the good things it enabled them to put in the movie were worth the price.

All things considered, I thought it was a totally acceptable way to open the summer movie season.

And besides -- Hugh Jackman and Will Kemp shirtless.  :::sigh:::


annalisa135 said...

i really wanted to see van helsing.  but now i'm thinking it wouldn't be good.  i'm sure you didn't want to make the movie sound "not good", but unfortunately it soured my taste for wanting to see it.

oh well.  

what else is playing out there?  i need to escape my room for awhile.  what movie would you HIGHLY recommend?  

nzforme said...

Well, Anna, if you were genuinely expecting Van Helsing to be GOOD, I think my work is done here.  See it, by all means, but see it with reduced expectations.  (Then you won't be disappointed.)  I can't recommend anything else yet because it's the start of the Summer Movie Season and that's the only Summer Movie I've seen so far.