The inane ramblings presented here by Scott Foy (aka The Foywonder) are strictly his own opinions
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"Sommers is like a kid who's just discovered masturbation, he just cannot control himself and has to keep doing things bigger, wilder and ultimately dumber - long past the point of reason or madness." - Dark Horizons webmaster Garth Franklin reviewing Stephen Sommers' less-than-stellar blockbuster VAN HELSING
MY NAME IS SCOTT FOY & I PAID TO SEE MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN
Wanna know why Republicans are currently in power? Because the Democrats have so completely lost touch with reality that they're rallying around the film THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW as some sort of serious message movie about the effects of global warming. Al Gore, MoveOn.org, and other left-wing environmentalist groups have been harping about the movie as a stern warning with MoveOn.org going so far as referring to THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW as "The movie the White House doesn't want you to see". If that's how they're billing this movie I can only image what kind of hyperbole they'll use when FAHRENHEIT 9/11 opens. But I digress. Even the film's producers are claiming that environmental activism is part of the reason why they made this movie and many on the left have taken the bait rallying behind THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW because they honestly believe the movie will make for a great tool to get people talking about global warming. Yeah, I'm sure Irwin Allen said the same thing about the dangers of killer bees when he made THE SWARM. Let's forget about what your political affiliations or thoughts on global warming and remember one very important thing here. IT'S A FREAKIN' ROLAND EMMERICH MOVIE!!! These people are rallying around a Roland Emmerich movie! This is the guy who made a movie about helicopters in outer space! This is the guy who made a movie where people were sent through an interplanetary warp tunnel with a nuclear weapon and instructions to nuke whatever they find on the other side regardless! This is the guy who made a movie where highly advanced extraterrestrials are thwarted by an Apple Powerbook! This is the guy who made a movie where a monster as big as a skyscraper could fit inside subway cars! This is a Roland Emmerich movie! I won't even mention the science in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. Look, I haven't seen THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW as of this writing but I know enough to say that you don't base your science or pin you political hopes on a Roland Emmerich movie!
FOY, THE VAN HELSING SLAYER
Stephen Sommers is a genius and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. So many big budget blockbuster filmmakers choose to play it safe but not Stephen Sommers. Oh no, not this man. How many blockbuster filmmakers would dare to make a movie like VAN HELSING, the first ever Muppet movie without Muppets? Stephen Sommers must have written this movie for it to be some sort of Halloween movie starring the Muppets but then decided not to use the Muppets after all opting to cast actual human actors in all the roles. Those of you who have already seen VAN HELSING, can you honestly sit there and say you couldn't see the Muppets starring in this film? Kermit the Frog is Van Helsing! Miss Piggy replaces Kate Beckinsale! Fozzie is the Friar! Gonzo is Igor! Sam the Eagle is Frankenstein! Whenever someone turns into a werewolf they actually turn into Animal! Since the villain in your typical Muppet movie is a human actor the roles of Dracula and his Brides would remain the same. And then you fit the rest of the Muppets into the cast as villagers. Tell me you couldn't see the Muppets in these roles. All of the idiocy would make sense because it's a Muppet movie!
Okay, I'm grabbing at straws here to find some possible explanation to why VAN HELSING is a monumental achievement in cinematic stupidity. The movie is the official dumbing down of the already dumbed down. It's such a simple premise so how could one completely blow it? Oh, that's right, it's a Stephen Sommers movie. That explains how.
What's the difference between Stephen Sommers and Uwe Boll?
Strip away the expensive matte paintings and the non-stop CGI and you're left with a script that is every bit as awful as last year's HOUSE OF THE DEAD. Now I for one enjoyed the hell out of Uwe Boll's stinkbomb for the unintentional laugh riot I found it to be but THE MONSTER SQUAD OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN didn't evoke the same kind of reaction. Had HOUSE OF THE DEAD been 50 minutes longer I probably wouldn't have had nearly as much fun laughing at it. Why the hell is VAN HELSING so friggin' long anyway? There needs to be some new rule enforced in Hollywood that if a movie has characters as weak and plots as convoluted as this then the movie shouldn't be allowed to last longer than 90 minutes. VAN HELSING felt like it was going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on
The thing I've always hated about Stephen Sommers' movies is that he never fails to kill the tone of a scene by having a character suddenly turn completely retarded in a desperate attempt to garner a laugh and then go right back to what they were doing before. Much to my shock I didn't find that to be a problem with VAN HELSING. Of course that was because he opted to make the whole damn movie retarded.
Suspension of disbelief and insulting the audiences' intelligence are two entirely different things. Suspension of disbelief means I am willing to believe that Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman are all running amok in Transylvania and need a James Bond-like monster hunter to deal with them. Insulting my intelligence means I know there isn't a full moon every 48 hours and if you're going to have a character tell the audience that werewolves can't catch Transylvanian horses then you don't turn around 2 minutes later and have a werewolf catch a carriage led by Transylvanian horses. And how the hell did that second carriage get across the chasm anyway?
You know that expression about throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks? That's what a Stephen Sommers movie, especially VAN HELSING, is like but with Sommers there is no wall. There's no wall for it to stick to and it really doesn't matter to him whether or not it does because he's already tossing the next thing at you. He just throws one thing after another. If you stripped away this guy's excessively bloated budgets you'd be left with a slightly saner but possibly even more clueless version of Uwe Boll.
To many blockbuster filmmakers these days don't seem to comprehend one very important thing. It's not a matter of whether a movie has plot holes or logical inconsistencies because virtually all movies, even the great ones, have a few. It's a matter of how large, how often, and to what degree do these plot holes and logical inconsistencies drag the movie down. There is such a thing as mindless fun. But VAN HELSING is a perfect example of a blockbuster movie that is so overloaded with plot holes and inconsistencies that you can't even just sit back and switch your brain off because the film keeps pounding you over the head relentlessly with one stupidity after another. They try to cover this up with non-stop action and fancy special effects. Only problem is that the action has no emotion behind it and the eye candy is done ad nauseum.
VAN HELSING gets off to a perfectly acceptable start with a black and white intro at Castle Frankenstein that's the closest the movie ever comes to evoking the spirit of the old Universal Monsters, which is ironically the sole reason why Universal Studios made this movie. It was supposed to help bolster the public image and the sales of all things Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, etc. Well, that all got shot to hell and back. The movie is under-performing, the franchise is already all but dead, and the proposed TV series spin-off Transylvania already got the axe even before it saw the light of day. Way to go, Mr. Sommers!
The movie soon colorizes and we're off Paris. It's here that Sommers decides to mix chocolate with peanut butter by mixing Mr. Hyde with Quasimodo. A bell tower showdown ensues between Gabriel Van Helsing and Mr Hyde, who looks like the CGI lovechild of Andre the Giant and Shrek. I dare say that if anyone ever makes and all-CGI version of Popeye then this Mr. Hyde is what Bluto will end up looking like. Why is it that Mr. Hyde has been reinvented in not one but two (bad) movies as an enormous brute along the lines of the Incredible Hulk? This would be all well and good in VAN HELSING except he's also portrayed as having cat-like reflexes and monkey-like climbing abilities. Come to think of it, everyone in VAN HELSING has cat-like reflexes and monkey-like climbing ability. I know it's a fantasy film and all but I'm personally getting sick of movies where the filmmakers insist on the monster or whoever having both super strength and agility. Elephants can't outrun cheetahs or leap over 15 feet in the air. Emmerich and Devlin believed Godzilla was inferior because he lacked the ability to haul ass and so they turned around and made a movie that sucked ass. Do it right or don't do it at all! When one transforms into a werewolf in VAN HELSING they do so by ripping their flesh off revealing the beast underneath. So, uh, why is it that the beast underneath tends to be seven feet tall and about 300 pounds? For goodness sake, the werewolf that Van Helsing himself transforms into during the film's climax is the size of Sasquatch.
In another perfect example of Stephen Sommers' insistence on extreme overkill, Mr. Hyde falls to his death off the roof of a French cathedral. The reason he fell off this roof was because Van Helsing shot him through the stomach with his grappling hook gun and yanked on the rope. Funny, you'd think that first part alone would have been a deathblow? I'm amazed he didn't go one step further and have him get impaled on something else on the way down. I guess not doing that is as close as Stephen Sommers is going to get to subtlety or restraint?
Seriously, somebody needs to sit Stephen Sommers and Michael Bay down and give them a very long lecture introducing them to the concepts of subtlety and restraint. Imagine what those two could accomplish if they ever learned the meanings of those two words.
And what's with all the rope swinging in this movie? Everyone swings from a rope at some point in this movie. Even Frankenstein gets in on the action. Tarzan flicks have fewer rope swinging scenes than VAN HELSING! If Stephen Sommers made a movie based on the DRAGON'S LAIR video game it would be two and a half hours of Dirk the Daring swinging across those flaming ropes.
Oh yes, let's not forget to mention that Van Helsing's name is no longer Abraham. Stephen Sommers, the intellectual giant that he is, decided he just couldn't make a movie where the heroes' name was Abraham. Sure it was good enough to be the name of one of our greatest Presidents but Gabriel just sounds that much cooler, right? There's something laughable about the notion that Sommers can write and direct a movie this mind numbingly stupid yet he honestly believes using the name Abraham for his title character would be too silly. I swear Sommers is just a few steps away from putting on some protective headgear and calling people on the phone to yell "I've got mail!" over and over.
In Stephen Sommers' monster world, clouds are critical. In addition to its stranglehold on werewolf transformations, vampires can run around in broad daylight as long as there are clouds covering the sun. The moment the clouds move allowing the sunlight through the vampires must flee. Fortunately, they seem to be able to do about Mach 3 when flying away to escape the sunlight. I really shouldn't bother harping on this little fact since this is a Stephen Sommers movie and he already established in THE MUMMY RETURNS that man can in fact out run sunlight.
The full moon causes one to transform into a werewolf yet the first werewolf seen in the movie attacks in broad daylight. No explanation is given. If clouds cover the moon then the werewolf will turn back into a human only to turn back into a werewolf as soon as the full moon is exposed again. Using Stephen Sommers laws of lycanthropy, it must really suck to be a werewolf because unless it's a 100% clear sky you're going to be constantly changing back and forth. On the bright side, there's a full moon every 48 hours in Transylvania, according to Stephen Sommers.
Superman is said to derive his powers from the sun. Could you imagine if Superman had to live by these same rules? There's the Man of Steel rescuing that busload of kids about to fall off the bridge, then some clouds pass before the sun, Superman momentarily loses his powers, and little Bobby and Suzie and 30 of their friends take a death plunge. Thank you, Mr. Sommers!
Also, ice plays a surprisingly large role in vampiric mythology. Why? Because Stephen Sommers says so dammit!
Poor Frankenstein's Monster, he's the only one in the entire film that has anything resembling a real character. On second thought, even his character is a mess.
just want to live!"
Can we get Frank some Zoloft? The guy has some serious mood swings.
And was I the only one who saw that glowing half-orb on his chest and had an Ultraman flashback? I kept waiting for it to begin flashing accompanied by an alarm sound and a voiceover saying "Due to the pollutant's in Earth's atmosphere Frankenstein's Monster can only maintain his power for 3 minutes"?
Q) When you envision in your mind what Dracula looks like do you think of:
If you answered "E" then VAN HELSING is truly your dream movie.
Congratulations to Richard Roxburgh on giving the world the single worst Dracula in movie history and that includes the horrifically miscast Christopher Atkins in DRACULA RISING. Overacting can be quite entertaining. Just look at Jeremy Irons in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: THE MOVIE and Michael York in MEGIDDO: OMEGA CODE 2. Richard Roxburgh's overacting is anything but entertaining. In fact, it's downright appalling. Personally, I blame Stephen Sommers. Comprehend for a moment that Roxburgh was giving this performance and Sommers was sitting in the director's chair nodding his head in approval. Sommers' Dracula really is like a villain from the old Batman series. I've seen actors chew scenery before but Roxburgh is one of the few that dares to swallow. One especially bad scene has Dracula walking up the wall. Oh, if only he had a cigar and a Groucho Marx mustache when he did it!
And then there are the brides of Dracula. Ugh! They may be easy on the eyes but the moment they speak your ears are going to start bleeding. Maybe that's how they feed? The models turned bad actresses portraying Drac's brides are like nails on the chalkboard. They give performances so atrocious they make Roxburgh look like Alan Rickman. It certainly doesn't help that they do more posing than the Power Rangers. I've made the Batman analogy in regards to Dracula but its even more true here. Hell, these ladies ought to be wearing shirts with their names on it. I will say this for them. They're in great shape for women who have given birth to about a million or so babies.
Multiple brides and a million kids I never realized Dracula was Mormon.
Let's talk about those kids, shall we? Dracula's offspring are born dead, not undead but actually dead, and so he stuffs them in wasp sacks hanging around the castle. They need electricity to bring them to life, or would that be to make them undead, but he's having a hard time finding the correct wattage. The wrong wattage either fails to reanimate them or reanimates them for only a short period of time after which they begin to explode like the Martians' heads from the end of MARS ATTACKS. Dracula commissioned the construction of Frankenstein's Monster because the energy used to bring him to life is the perfect voltage for giving his gazillion kids life. Thanks to angry torch-wielding villagers, Frankenstein's Monster is seemingly lost but is in fact alive. Fortunately Dracula never bothered to check the basement or else he'd have found Frank alive and brushing up on his Bible studies. If Dracula gets his hands on Frankenstein's Monster he's going to use his power supply to bring all of his babies to life and unleash them upon mankind. None of this changes the fact that the vampire children are some of the most retarded looking monsters to ever grace the silver screen. Why Dracula's kids look like winged frogs that bare an uncanny resemblance to Dingbat from the old Batman cartoon series is yet another bit of idiocy only Stephen Sommers can possibly explain.
And what's with those Oompa Loompas? Dracula has a horde of henchmidgets that look like Jawas at a Quiet Riot concert. Why? Again, ask Stephen Sommers.
In the end, Van Helsing turns into that were-bigfoot-wolf and has a CGI sumo wrestling contest with Beast Wars Dracula, Dracula's 10-foot demonic form that looks like a gargoyle spliced with a Troll doll. Stake through the heart, decapitation, sunlight, holy water, fire, and all those other ways we've been told for ages were how you kill Dracula are all crap. According to Stephen Sommers there's only one way to kill Dracula and that's the bite of a werewolf. Why exactly is never explained but then we're also never given a really good explanation as to why Dracula spends so much time cavorting around with the very things that can kill him. Apparently he isn't afraid of one of his werewolf minions turning on him and biting him because he's developed a werewolf anti-venom. He keeps it in a syringe inside a glass orb filled with acid up in a far off tower of the castle, you know, for convenience. When locked in a afterlife or death battle with weresasquatch he never even bothers to try and get the anti-serum or send anyone else up to get it for him. And that's why he dies at the teeth of our hero. If I may paraphrase the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, "Worst Dracula Ever!"
But it still isn't quite over because Van Helsing is still a mindless werewolf and needs rescuing himself. Fortunately Kate Beckinsale has retrieved the anti-serum from Level 6 of Castlevania and is prepared to save her pimp hat-wearing boyfriend's life. Now despite having seen Beckinsale survive more leaps and falls and multi-story rope swinging she's killed when werewolf Van Helsing tackles her onto a psychiatrist's couch. I do believe this marks the first time in cinematic history that getting tackled onto a sofa killed a major character in a movie. I hereby dub this newfound method of movie demise "THE DEATH SACK". She was able to inject Van Helsing with the anti-serum before dying so he's cured and gets to share one last moment with her by staring up into the clouds at her funeral. Sommers apparently couldn't decide if he wanted to rip-off THE LION KING or the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI when Anakin, Obi Wan, and Yoda appeared before Luke Skywalker as ghosts so he slapped them together and ripped them both off simultaneously.
And I almost forgot the wonderful scene where Igor chases the friar around trying to stick him in the ass with an electric rod. They should have been playing "Tiptoe through the Tulips" during that scene.
VAN HELSING is like a fireworks display. It's just a lot of "Whiz! Bam!" in the sky. Some people are fascinated watching fancy firework displays. I get bored quickly because it all just becomes repetitive. In the end, one's ability to enjoy VAN HELSING is predicated on whether or not one can enjoy a 2-hour plus fireworks display. It sure as hell isn't going to be because of the story or the characters. As I walked out of the theater afterwards the only thing I felt was annoyed that a complete idiot squandered yet another great idea for a movie. And I had an overwhelming urge to play Darkstalkers for some reason.
VAN HELSING is just one astoundingly bad theme song away from being the YOR, HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE of Universal Monster movies. And I assure you that isn't a compliment. Maybe in 25 years VAN HELSING will develop some sort of cult following but I suspect the film's excessive running time will hurt those chances. How many cult classics of the past 25 years run in excess of 2 hours?
Still, I have to tip my hat to Stephen Sommers. He's managed to produce a movie in the same summer as Roland Emmerich and guarantee Emmerich's won't be the dumber of the two. Now that is quite an accomplishment!
The only existing group photo of Tarzan, Michael Ironside from HIGHLANDER 2, and the Jawas!
But I will say this for Stephen Sommers' VAN HELSING, at least it's better than another Van Helsing movie I came across the week before the movie opened.
Oh, the things I can find in Wal-Mart at 3:30 in the morning. There I was making my monthly check of the Wal-Mart $5.50 DVD bin and what do I notice on the shelf across the aisle but something called THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE SCEPTER OF GOD. And it was only $5.96 for the VHS or $7.96 for the DVD. Being a cheap bastard I opted for the VHS. From the director of SLEEPY HOLLOW HIGH, this can't be good. I've never actually seen SLEEPY HOLLOW HIGH but then that's because I've always been told to avoid it like the plague.
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE SCEPTER OF GOD; production values that make an episode of BIBLEMAN look like Sommers' VAN HELSING and the acting, oh God the acting, is the worst I have ever, and I do mean ever, seen in a motion picture. No exaggerating on that last part! This is the worst acting I've seen in a movie. As a matter of fact, if not for being awestruck by the level of bad acting demonstrated in this movie there would be absolutely nothing whatsoever to recommend. I dare say everyone should see this movie just so they can say they've seen the worst acting of all time. And just who the hell was the target audience for this movie supposed to be? It can't be little kids or the Goosebumps set because the actors are all high schoolers and nobody of high school age would dare wipe their ass with this movie let alone watch it. It's then that I realize that the target audience must be me and people like me. People who will watch just about anything just to find the worst of the worst or the best of the worst. In this case, just the worst of the worst! In fact, the movie is so awful the means by which I grab still captures from movies tried to reject the movie. It kept trying to blacken out the stills. Let's go Young Van Helsing slaying shall we?
We begin in London, 1905. Most people probably never envisioned the character of Van Helsing as looking like Hugh Jackman. I bet even fewer people envisioned Abraham Van Helsing as looking like current Family Feud host and former Tim Allen Home Improvement sidekick Richard Karn. I also don't recall ever hearing of Van Helsing running around with Hadji from Johnny Quest as a sidekick. This Hadji clone has no magic powers so he's pretty much relegated to just watching from the sidelines while Van Helsing faces-off with the guy who won 5th runner up in the Knotts Berry Farms Halloween Max Schrek Look-A-Like Contest. By face-off I mean the evil-looking bald guy just stands there as Van Helsing stabs him through the heart with this cheap-looking golden scepter that looks like some sort of ancient Egyptian ancient meat thermometer.
We're then introduced to the incredibly dorky Professor Arad. The man looks to be the love child that Gene Shalit and Albert Einstein never had. He's at some sort of excavation site accompanied by extras from Dawson's Creek where they unearth the remains of someone or something. Next thing you know some bizarre blob-like substance comes up through the ground and grabs one of the students causing him to scream in pain. Whatever is going on is causing some sort of mini-quickening because nearby machinery begins to spark and smoke. Turns out they unearthed the remains of that bald-headed evil guy from the opening flashback. We'll get to that soon enough. The important thing is that the Dawson's Creek escapees are dead and Professor Arad realizes that this evil being now once again walks the earth and can only be stopped by the last surviving member of the Van Helsing family.
Enter Michael Harris, our would-be hero. Not since Justin Whalin in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: THE MOVIE has the forces of all that is good and just in the universe been represented by such a boyish clod. Michael likes to walk around in a faded aviator jacket thus proving that not everyone looks cool wearing a leather jacket. Accompanying him is his husky friend Danny. Danny is supposed to be his funny fat friend but he isn't particularly fat and he certainly isn't funny. Michael has a run-in with the school bully and his African-American henchman and soon finds himself pinned against the locker getting punked out. It's worth mentioning that the bully looks like an even bigger dweeb than Michael. Just when you begin feeling sympathy for Michael we find out the hard way that he's also the front man for a garage band that specializes in performing crappy, five years out of date, alternative rock. In fact, when Michael sings his voice radically changes to what sounds like the lead singer of a Pearl Jam cover band. The producers must have spent some money on whoever performed the song because we're forced to listen to quite a bit of it. "Only The Good Die Young" is the name of the song and I can only hope these guys have been very good.
In Michael's garage, Danny discovers a trunk "from the old country", as Michael tells him. The trunk, which is covered with stickers just to make sure you understand it was shipped from far, far away, was sent to Michael's late uncle but its never been opened. Seeing this sticker covered case causes Danny to have a flashback to when he was a child playing in the mailroom of the local post office where his father worked. Danny came across a small package with the same stickers as that trunk and opened it. We don't see what was in the case but it gives off a glow like the suitcase from PULP FICTION. Too bad what was in that package wasn't the same thing that was in the trunk from REPO MAN because the less we see of Danny the happier I'd be. Wanting to keep what was in the package and not wanting his dad to find out he took it, young Bobby Hill, I mean Danny took his little yellow shovel and buried the item God knows where. He has since forgotten the exact location but has never forgotten the gold glowing object inside of it. So if any of you have never received a package you were expecting it's entirely possible that a chubby redneck boy buried it somewhere in South Carolina.
This heralds the arrival of the movie's villain, a day-walking vampire who depending on the camera angle either looks like an undead version of the lead singer of Right Said Fred or a nosferatu version of Mr. Clean dressed in leather like a goomba from The Sopranos. If it comes down to a battle of who looks cooler wearing a leather jacket then evil is going to win easily. So Count Clean is in town all of 2 minutes when kills a German Shepard and encounters the bully's African-American henchman driving down a seemingly deserted road with his girlfriend. The dialogue spoken by these two proves conclusively that the whitest people on earth wrote this movie. We get such howlers as "Daaaaaaaaaaamn!" and "White boy's got issues!" and "You betta slow yo ass down!" Fortunately for the sake of race relations in this country they are soon killed. Count Clean doesn't suck blood like a typical vampire but instead possesses a burning touch ala Man-Thing. First he reduces the black guy to a smoking skeleton and then he uses his powers to probe the girl's mind looking for information leading to the whereabouts of young Michael. The look on the woman's face while this is going on conveys anything but horror or agony.
Is this woman getting her brain sucked or having an orgasm?
Shortly thereafter, Michael comes driving down the road and he's actually listening to that damn song of his on the CD player. Sheesh! He stops to investigate the dead dog and the abandoned car and takes a sample of this burning blob-like substance he found on the ground. There are no signs of the couple's remains.
So to whom does he take this mysterious substance to for further examination? Well, I don't remember her name so I'll just call her Babe, since she's the local high school Britney Spears look-a-like. Despite looking like a Miss Teen USA contestant she's clearly keen on being the next Agent Scully as she hangs out in the school science lab even while the rest of the school mourns the death of seemingly the school's only black students. So the cops removed the bodies but didn't bother to rope off the crime scene or Eh, what's the use? She deduces that the substance is an indestructible living tissue, acidic in nature, with the power to reanimate dead tissue. If only it had the power to reanimate this dead movie. Also, this young woman playing Babe seems to be trying to fight off her real life thick Southern drawl and not quite winning.
Meanwhile, Professor Arad shows up at Michael's house where his mom is told that her later sister was married to a late vampire hunter and that her late husband even aided them on occasion. For a woman who has just learned among other things that vampire's really do exist she is remarkably apathetic to this news. The Professor wasn't aware she didn't know any of this since the all-important Scepter of God was shipped to her house after their deaths. Little did he suspect there was a chubby sneak thief lurking within the post office all those years ago.
Okay, we're a halfway into this thing and I'm already asking myself where's the "Adventures" part?" Adventure requires someone to go somewhere or do something but virtually nothing has happened thus far.
To try (and fail) to compensate for this fact we get treated to yet another extended flashback where Abraham Van Helsing and Hadji skulk about a tomb looking for some ancient artifact. They open a sarcophagus and find Don the Vampire from Mad Mad House sleeping inside it. My mistake, it's actually the corpse of Morgan LaFey, King Arthur's evil sister, clutching the sheath that held the legendary sword Excalibur. Yeah, we're really combining our legends here aren't we? Upon taking the artifact, Morgan LaFey springs to life and begins doing a Linda Blair impression. Also, a suit of armor in the tomb also comes to life and tries putting Hadji in the sleeper hold. It's holding a giant sword but instead opts to apply a one-armed chinlock on the boy. Abraham uses his special crossbow that shoots boomerangs and decapitates a mannequin, I mean Morgan LeFay. This also causes the suit of armor to unreanimate. Thus concludes this utterly pointless and woefully unexciting flashback.
Back in the present, Michael learns that his great great grandfather was famed monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing. Professor Arad tells him and Danny that Abraham Van Helsing was also a relic hunter of sorts. Van Helsing collected those artifacts that were said to possess great powers because he feared they would fall into wrong hands. He even tosses out a whopper about how Bram Stoker documented one of his expeditions, you know, the one where he battled Dracula. So Stephen Sommers turned Van Helsing into Blade and the maker of this movie has turned him into Lara Croft? I don't think so. Stoker's subsequent book made the Van Helsing name so famous that they had to change it to Harris for safety's sake. The Professor opens that trunk in the garage revealing it to be full of vampire hunting weapons including a crossbow that appears to have been designed for midgets. And Danny learns the Scepter of God was the artifact he stole from the mail and buried.
Elsewhere, Babe has a lover's spat with her boyfriend Bully. I will simply call him Bully because I can't recall his name either. Not only do I not buy this guy as an intimidating person, I also don't buy for a second that this girl would be dating this guy. He's mad at her because she's helping that dork Michael Harris. They seemingly break up right there on the spot. She then heads over to Michael's house to tell him of her scientific findings and the Professor freaks upon learning about the discovery of that ash.
Finally, we get an explanation as to who the villain is. His name is Simon Magus and he is an evil fallen angel capable of absorbing human flesh in order to disguise himself as a human. Abraham Van Helsing vanquished Simon Magus in the opening flashback but now he's back and looking for the Scepter of God. Holding the Scepter and speaking some holy words can unleash hell on earth. Yes, it can unleash hell on earth, which perfectly explains why it is called the Scepter of God, because when you think God you automatically think Hell on Earth. Jesus, this movie is moronic. Danny is told that the location of where he buried the Scepter is locked somewhere deep in his mind. The Scepter of God you see is the also the only thing that can kill Simon Magus as evidenced in the opening flashback. And it really works well when Simon Magus just stands there and let's you stab him in the chest with it.
Just then, Simon "I'm too sexy for my soul" Magus does his Kool-Aid Man impression bursting through the garage door and scaring the beejeezus out of our heroes. I would refer to them as the Scooby Gang like on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer but they're just way too lame to be compared to Scooby Doo. They're even lamer than Clue Club and the Bloodhound Gang from 3-2-1 Contact. Hell, they're even lamer than the gang from the show Power House. The would-be destroyer of mankind is momentarily thwarted when Michael shoots him with Billy Barty's crossbow. The arrow sticking out of Magus' chest looks longer than the crossbow itself. Everyone flees the garage, hops in the car, and speeds off. By the way, we were told earlier that Mom had gone to her mom's place as a cheap excuse to get rid of her for the remainder of the movie.
I should mention that Professor Arad has a fancy compass called the Clock of Something or other or some crap like that, I forget, that detects evil and tells the exact holy hour of confrontation or some crap like that. All it does is just spin but that's probably because it is obviously just a portable CD player in disguise. I know when you're on a low budget you have to improvise with the props but come on already. It's clearly a freaking portable CD player with some crap glued to it to make it appear to be some sort of ancient artifact. And it really is a rather worthless artifact that serves no real purpose in the course of things.
As their car speeds down the darkened road, Magus leaps on the hood. Babe screams like a banshee and everyone else freaks out as Magus grabs Danny through the window and begins scanning his mind for the location of the package he buried. How the hell does he even know to scan this dweeb's mind to look for it? Fortunately, Bully comes driving along in the other direction and has a near collision with them. This causes them to swerve off the road and have a very, very, very minor wreck. They just went down an embankment and car is now stuck in a slightly diagonal position. For reasons that will forever remain a mystery, the backseat of their car suddenly explodes. Thank goodness they were smart enough to get out in time.
Low and behold, it turns out the place they wrecked was about 20-feet away from where Danny buried the package containing the Scepter of God all those years ago. Magus pops up again and somehow his flesh got burnt off so now his skin looks like raw hamburger meat. I guess he didn't vanish from the scene. It's just that we just didn't see him there near the car as it went up in flames. Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. Meathead the Cenobite grabs Bully to steal his flesh but Michael shoots off his arm with one of those boomerang crossbow thingamajigs. At least this time he used an adult-sized crossbow. Danny spies the little yellow plastic shovel he used as a kid that's still there sticking out of the ground looking brand new. He pulls the shovel out of the ground and holds it up in the air while the others declare him to be the new King of England. Okay, he just begins digging up the package. He finds the case, experiences the glow one more time, and then removes the Meat Thermometer of God. The power to destroy the world is now resting in the hands of this wussy.
A few feet away, Simon Magus regenerates his severed arm and begins using it to give Michael some slow motion bitchslapping. By slow motion, I don't mean they slowed down the footage but that he takes his sweet time in between bitchslaps. Oh, Babe is tending to the unconscious Bully.
Having grown bored with the repeated bitchslaps, Magus acquires the Scepter of God and begins reciting those ancient words but Michael throws one of his great grandfather's switchblades at him. Magus recoils in pain and just stands there doing nothing allowing Michael to bum rush the fallen angel and stab him in the chest with the Scepter. The Professor recites the incantation causing Magus to scream, smoke, and fall dead. That's it? That's really all it took to kill the villain? Yep, that's it. Professor Arad tells Michael what a good job he did. Yeah, great work. The world's wimpiest hero just defeated evil's gimpiest henchman. Good will always triumph over evil because evil will just stand there waiting for you to stab it in the chest with something.
Michael's self-confidence goes from zero to Harvey Weinstein in a matter of seconds as he declares that he's officially dropping his last name of Harris and proclaims himself Michael Van Helsing. And the batteries in the portable CD player must have died because the Clock of Something or Other has stopped spinning. Oops, my mistake. The Clock stopping means evil has been vanquished. Yeah, whatever.
All of a sudden we're at the Valentine's Dance where Michael's band is performing that "Only The Good Die Young" song. The band is now named The Van Helsings. Shouldn't he have just called the band Van Helsing ala Van Halen? Babe is shown dancing with Bully, very much in love, so Van Helsing doesn't even get the girl in the end. The song concludes and everyone claps. This may explain the popularity of American Idol because clearly people have no taste. Oh God, they're not done! Now they're performing a power ballad! And we're going to get the full version just to pad out the film! This song is called "If I Choose To Live This Life". After about 5 minutes of this song I'm hoping he chooses not to live this life. When the song finally mercifully ends, everyone goes crazy again. I hate these people.
Thank God the movie cuts back to London before they get a chance to do another song. Back in the London warehouse of ancient artifacts and other assorted crap the Van Helsings (the family not the Pearl Jam tribute band) have accumulated over the years, Professor Arad seals the Scepter of God in a crate. As he files it away he hears a loud crashing sound coming from around the corner. He soon discovers another case has been smashed open containing unhinged chains. He checks the log and learns the crate contained a werewolf. Huh? They kept a werewolf chained up in a wooden crate in a warehouse? Since when is a werewolf an artifact? The professor declares, "I'm going to need Michael for this." Need him for what? To get it to stand still long enough to shoot it with a silver bullet?
Fade to black and suddenly this appears on the screen:
What adventure? What friggin' adventure? There was no adventure in this movie! My trip to Wal-Mart where I bought this movie was more adventurous than this! This movie has the worst acting I've ever seen and one of the weakest plots I've ever sat through! I suspect most people could drop their pants, stick a magic marker in their ass, squat over a piece of paper, and still manage to write a better screenplay than this! And yet this movie ends with a graphic threatening a sequel? Well, dammit, I want more! I demand more Young Van Helsing non-adventures! I demand an entire franchise! If anyone involved with the making of this movie is reading this then let me suggest some future sequels I want, no, I demand you make!
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE STAGNANT WEREWOLF
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE MOTIONLESS MUMMY
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE INANIMATE FRANKENSTEIN
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE PARALYZED POLTERGEIST
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: THE THING THAT DIDN'T DO ANYTHING
THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG VAN HELSING: DRACULA RISES FROM HIS GRAVE AND JUST STANDS THERE NOT DOING A GODDAMN DAMN THING
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