In the millenium version of this classic Gothic horror we find Abraham Van Helsing (Plummer), who has tangled with Count Dracula (Butler) in the past, working as an English antiques dealer. Simon (Miller) is a vampire hunter in training under his apprenticeship. Van Helsing and Simon travel from London to New Orleans to rescue Van Helsing's daughter Mary (Waddell) from the family's life long nemesis - Dracula.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The time from the first day of production to the day of the movies release was almost exactly six months. See more »
(at around 1h 26 mins) When Mary holds the knife in front of Dracula, saying she wants SImon's head, the curve of the blade changes direction from one angle to the next. See more »
[Translating Slavic text on a crossbow]
"All fear he who walks beneath the crown of Eternal Night."
Abraham Van Helsing:
No, no, no, no, it's not crown, it's halo; beneath the Halo of Eternal Night
Oh, well, you see why the design never survived. And look how heavy it is compared to what they were using in England at the time.
Abraham Van Helsing:
[talking about the crossbow in his hands]
Ah, while the English made them for firing arrow shafts of wood, this was made for firing metal... silver.
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As the credits roll, interspersed in the words, are coloured pictures of things important to the movie's premise, including a row of teeth, a bat, and a cross. These pictures are seen both on the left and right sides. See more »
An underrated fresh take on the old neck-biter for a new millennium.
I am surprised at some of the low-rated reviews for this title--and the stated reasons for the low ratings. In my opinion, Wes Craven here presents the most novel and compelling re-envisioning of the Dracula story since Lugosi. As far as originality and a fresh direction, this makes Coppola's production seem like a bloated but tired, over-produced rehash. Yes, Gary Oldman is a consummate actor and a great Count. But in Francis' version, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves are totally flaccid and uninteresting. And Anthony Hopkins embarrasses himself with such an over-the-top portrayal of Van Helsing that I wouldn't be surprised if Oldman hasn't talked to him since. Tony almost seems to be purposely lampooning the story.
Don't expect $100 million special effects. Craven had to make do on a shoestring budget. But that seems to have forced him to focus on the story rather than the flash. Butler could certainly have upped the intensity rather than relying so heavily on his drop-dead good looks to establish Dracula's charisma. No question, Gerard underplays the role, though that only seems to add moodiness and atmosphere--and is consistent with the character as he is presented in the story. Dracula is so bitter and internally conflicted that he hasn't got a lot to say to his victims--or even his pursuers. Also conflicted is the wonderful Christopher Plummer, who is so present in the role of Van Helsing that he really sells the premise of the whole re-invention in the film's first few minutes.
For levity, Dracula's new brood of followers have a lot of trendy, new-age comments to make on the pluses and minuses of their new, undead status. They come off as Katzenjammer kids with fangs--but as amusing as they are, they still bite. They seem to be the only ones really having fun here: vampirism as a form of delightful liberation right up until the moment the stake sinks in.
As Drac movies go, this is a winner. By the way, Plummer has been criticized by some reviewers for his curious pronunciation of the Count's honorific. But it is actually proper. If you were addressing him as Count or Vlad, yes, "Dracula" would be the correct form. But if it's the only identifier, then the single term "Draculea," just as Plummer pronounces it, is correct.
Three cheers for the Count. Although Butler isn't quite as pretty here as Langella, he's got more to work with as far as engaging and original backstory. And he is spared Olivier's Van Helsing as kvetching crybaby. What it is about Van Helsing? No one did it better than Edward Van Sloan until Plummer came along in the 21st century.
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