VAN HELSING - the latest 'Dracula flick' to hit Bangkok's silver screens is technically perfect - which is to say Industrial Light & Magic did their homework on SFX.   But in this day and age, nothing less is expected by ever more hungry audiences.    For quite some time Hollywood's cutting edge SFX people literally have been able to do anything.   Now we need to see it done well.   And by this we mean to make the impossible happen on screen is one thing, to make it somehow believable requires not only good SFX, but good storytelling.   VAN HELSING let us down in this regard - a viewer should never walk out of a theater thinking the plot was Special Effects-driven.   This neo-Hollywood malady is not unique to VAN HELSING, and is regrettably becoming par for the course in SFX-intensive films.
It becomes quite apparent very early on that Producer-Director Stephen Sommers took a look at The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen's cards and decided to play their hand.   Virtually all of literature's super-villains had their fifteen minutes of fame, with the Frankenstein Monster having a good deal more than that.   Our personal favorite was Mr Hyde, but unfortunately he didn't last too long.   Igor, and the Werewolf, and the Pope also make appearances, although we thought the Pope could have been made a lot more sinister...
For reasons he can't explain, Van Helsing can just walk into the Vatican and get an audience with the Pope.   The Pope sends him for his James Bond-ish briefing with the Vatican's equivalent of 'Q', where he gets to play with medieval hi-tech weaponry.    The Pope then sends him out to assassinate people.   Hey, we secretly knew that's how the Vatican works, right?   Anyway, Van Helsing who has lost his memory, finds out later from Dracula that he is Gabriel, Messenger of God, but now he is somehow also sidelining as God's personal hit-man,   If he does a good enough job of murdering for God, then God will reward him by telling him why he lost his memory in the first place.   Have you got that so far...?   Anyway, the film is worth a watch, even if only to see Igor steal the show with all the great lines.
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