Reviews: Senseless Rants from a Picky Sissy
The Loudest Nap You'll Ever Take
To quote William Shakespeare, "Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
In that regard, Van Helsing is a movie told by several hundred idiots. Needlessly loud, blazingly incoherant and, as Peter Travers so perfectly put it, "shriekingly boring", Van Helsing doesn't jump off the screen so much as yell from it. I've already forgotten more than half of the plot, although I only saw it 12 hours ago, but the ringing in my ears has yet to fade -- like a banshee with Tourettes, this film is the most relentlessly hystrionic monster movie ever made. But aside from a few glimpses of some hunky fellas and an annoying case of tinnitis, even the most die-hard monster fans won't walk away with much.
I will say this: Will Kemp (the Wolf Man) is a babe, and as long as he will return to shamble about, oiled-up, in a loincloth, I'll go see any sequel that Universal can churn up. Unfortunately, he dies (oops -- um, SPOILER!), so the chances of this are pretty slim. I did find it rather upsetting that an accomplished GAP commericial star (oh -- and international ballet sensation) would have to resort to such mainstream entertainment, but we all do what we have to do, yes? Nonetheless, he's up there acting his little heart out and looking great doing it, and God love him for it.
The rest of the cast doesn't fare so well. Kate Beckinsale, apparently still under the spell cast by Jerry Bruckheimer that turned her from an Actress to a Set Piece for Pearl Harbor, is woefully underused and looks incredibly uncomfortable in her S&M Christina Aguilera outfit. Sporting enough hair and frillery to be mistaken for Ann Wilson from Heart, she may be acting under her pornstar pancake makeup, but it's hard to tell -- mostly she just has to puff her lips out and speak in a Boris and Natasha voice while Hugh Jackman soft-shoes around her.
And speaking of Hugh, what the FUCK?! Is this the same guy who played Wolverine AND Peter Allen? Buried under layers of hair and fabric (hat, coat, boots, what-have-you), Jackman is almost totally wasted -- they honestly could have had Hugh Downs play half of the scenes and we'd have been none the wiser. His hat covers his eyes in almost every scene, and he doesn't so much as take off his 200-lb. trenchcoat until the last scene of the 2-1/2-hour movie. And I'm not saying that Hugh is only good for eye-candy: but this ain't exactly The Elephant Man, folks -- and if the role doesn't require acting OR looking good, I don't see why you shouldn't just cast Anthony Michael Hall instead and save some money.
Let me say before jumping into the "plot" that I didn't literally take a nap during the movie -- it was more like an extended daydream that ran the gamut from what the people around me might have been doing 10 minutes before they entered the theatre to how much Diet Coke a lab rat has to drink before it gets cancer. I take my status as an unpaid self-proclaimed film reviewer far too seriously to actually sleep during a film. But had I, I would have likely been roused awake by some of the following elements:
Dracula's Brides: The loudest bitches in the history of cinema
Dracula's Helpers: A gurgling army of Oompa-Loompas
Frankenstein's Monster: Gay?
Hair-flipping on Blue Light Special
The ending SUCKS.
In all, loud, boring, and ill-executed. Rent Bride of Frankenstein instead.