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Van Helsing (2004)
All In All, A Good Universal Monster Movie
I saw Van Helsing this afternoon. i thought it was very well done.
Without giving to much away, I'll tell you the basic plot. *Possible Spoilers Ahead* The Vatican has sent their professional monster slayer Van Helsing to Transylvania to kill Dracula, so the Valerious family can finally find rest (For they have sworn not to enter heaven until Dracula is killed). There he meets Anna Valerious the last surviving member of the family (Due to her brother's encounter with one of Dracula's werewolves.). They then team up, and learn that Dracula is searching for Frankenstein's monster, who is (and I won't reveal why) the key to bringing he and his three brides' children to life.
The complaints I've heard, so far, on these boards is that "The monsters aren't like they were in the novels!". Well, get over it. They aren't supposed to be. Instead, Stephen Sommers (the writer/director of The Mummy) has opted for the Universal Studios versions of the monsters. It seems that he was actually going for a "re-envisioning" (fancy term for remake) of two earlier Universal films "The House of Dracula" and "The House of Frankenstein", two of Universal's attempts at reviving their dwindling classic monster franchise. Look at this version's Frankenstein. Physically, he looks like the Boris Karloff version, but mixed with some aspects from the novel, and Sommers' own interpretation. The actor who plays Dracula even seems to be channeling Bela Lugousi (Which, in my opinion, is much more entertaining than Gary Oldman's take on the character.) This movie works much better than the earlier "House of" movies did, thanks to today's special effects.
My only complaint was a quick addition of Mr. Hyde, who doesn't work in this as well as he did in "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (Which went with Literary films.) because they opted for the CGI effects, and he comes across (much as the Hulk did) as an evil version of Shrek. Since it was going the "Universal" direction, they should have made him look like the earlier films.
All in all, though, this movie works in its own way. Turn your mind off, and enjoy.
**** (Four stars out of Five Stars.)
What movie am I speaking of?
Okay, what movie's plot goes like this:
A young man, after killing his mother, breaks out of an insane asylum ten years later, and starts killing teenagers as a three noted theme song is played on a piano?
If you guessed any of the Halloween movies, I'm sorry, you're wrong.
NO, this is Offerings. which, if it were a parody, would be a great movie! Unfortunately, it was meant to be serious... or as serious as a slasher film could be... Luckily, I'm watching it on Svengoolie's late night movie show, so it's been pretty enjoyable.
1/5 stars as a serious horror film.
5/5 stars, as a parody of horror films, or to give the MST3K treatment.
Little Shop (1991)
I remember this! : May contain spoilers:
I loved this cartoon when I was 7 years old. I remember it slightly differently than the plot outline describes. In the cartoon (unlike the movies it's based on) the plant (Junior, after the Roger Corman Little Shop of Horrors) doesn't eat blood... but rather a variety of foods.
The only episode I REALLY remember, with any detail, is one where Junior decides that he wants to be able to walk. So, the plant somehow merges himself with Seymour, who suddenly has vine like legs, controlled by Junior.
That was the sort of humor behind the show (that and lines like this conversation between Audrey and Seymour. Audrey:"I don't like the mall... it's where I lost my mother." Seymour: "I'm sorry, I didn't know she died" Audrey: "No... we lost her... she wandered off and we never saw her again.") Anyway, I remember it running with the animated version of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" on Fox. It would be worth viewing again, if Fox would ever show it.
Rupan sansei (1971)
Quite Possibly, the best animated series ever
May contain mild spoilers to those who haven't heard of it.
Okay, basic plot? We'll go back to the late 1800s/early 1900s for this. Arsene Lupin is the greatest thief in France, and quite possibly the world. His trademark? He warns the person he is going to rob (usually a corrupt royal) and offers them to give him one object he desires, otherwise Lupin will rob the royal of everything they own.
Cut to, the nineteen sixties. Lupin's grandson, Arsene Lupin the Third, has become the greatest thief in the WORLD. With the help of a former mafia enforcer, Jigen, a samurai who owes Lupin a life debt, Goemon, and occasionally (Though she usually works AGAINST Lupin to steal the same prize) Fujiko Mine, a beautiful thief who uses her good looks and sex to get what she wants. All the while the gang is being chased by bumbling interpol detective, Inspector Zenigata. Zenigata has vowed that he will not rest, until he has Lupin and his gang in custody, and has become obsessed with arresting the thief.
All in all, this is a wonderful show. It brings to mind the original Pink Panther, and The Return of the Pink Panther (Both of which involved "the world's greatest thief" The Phantom.) Zenigata is a great take on the bumbling detective, and in the American Dub, Lupin (who's main weakness is the opposite sex (especially Fujiko) and his own ego) sounds almost identical to Don Adams.
All in all, my rating of this series is 5/5. Can't wait to see the American big budget film that's in the works.
Pretty Decent Adaptation (Warning: Slight Spoilers)
Okay, the critics out there have obviously not read the original graphic novel (comic book collection) that inspired this film. (Of course, how could you expect a GENIUS creator of something like "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls " to take time to research a film he reviews? (Yes I'm speaking of Roger Ebert, and YES that's sarcasm.) That said,I would like to review this film.
AGAIN! WARNING! THERE ARE slight spoilers ahead, no crucial events revealed:
Okay, First off, I will say that they got Mina Harker's personality completely wrong. YES, in the comic they did hint at her experiences with Dracula, but never anything more. She's trying to FORGET those events in the comic. That being said, the addition of the vampiric side of her, did NOT bother me very much. They handled it well, and didn't over play it. Plus, when I very first read the comic, I wondered why she wasn't a vampire. (Then I read dracula, and realized why, but oh well.) Sure they showed her in sunlight, but if you look at the original novel of Dracula, that only limits a vampire's power, it does NOT burn them.
And in the comic book, the invisible man WAS Dr. Hawley, from the novel... but his attitude was untranslateable to film. (YOU WOULD HAVE HATED HIM! HE was a very vulgar, and unlikeable character.)
Okay, those are livable, and they did add two characters. Dorian Gray, who was an interesting addition because he IS immortal. This added a superman type character to the league.
Nemo is exactly the way he should have been, going by the novel Mysterious Island. I also admire the fact that the Nautilus is not cgi, but rather a model attatched to computer generated background.
Speaking of non-cgi, Mr. Hyde is amazing. Make up and being enlarged with a computer helped Mr. Hyde (who, it explains in the comic, has grown in size and strength as he's broken Dr. Jekyll's will... something some people don't know because they've not done the research.) be much more believable than the Hulk from the new film.
Plus Tom Sawyer is a great son-figure to Sean Connery's Alan Quatermain. All in all, wonderful film. Some slight cheese, but it's needed in action films.
*** 1/2 out of *****