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YMMV / Van Helsing

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  • Awesome Music: Alan Silvestri's score. "Transylvanian Horses"
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The former two examples have quite a bit of fan art out there (although not all of it of the fanservice-y nature).
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  • Complete Monster: In the novelization by Kevin Ryan, Dracula is a predator devoid of any qualities but malice and cruelty. Seducing Victor Frankenstein into making his monster, Dracula murders him and later unleashes his young to wipe out a Transylvanian town. Attempting to turn Anna Valerious into his monstrous bride as he's done to other innocent girls, Dracula intends to awaken his children and feed them much of the world out of spite towards God.
  • Critic-Proof: Critics ripped this movie to shreds, but it was one of the biggest blockbusters of '04.
  • Cult Classic: After the release of The Mummy (2017), many people look at this film in a better light for depicting the classic Universal monsters crossing over with each other.
  • Ending Aversion: The end of the film does have its detractors, for the somewhat anticlimactic ways that Anna and Dracula are killed.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Brides. In any other story they'd just be nameless background characters that'd be killed off quickly (and indeed, that's exactly how they're treated in their debut appearance). Here they're actually deadly minions with distinctive personalities, desires and backstories, and give the heroes a run for their money. Even Marishka, who gets killed very early in the story, leaves a hell of an impression on viewers while barely saying a word, and Verona, Aleera and Dracula all mourn her after her death. More often then not, they're what people remember most about the movie. Aleera is the Ensemble Dark Horse of the Brides herself; many fans sought out more of Elena Anaya's films in her native Spain after being introduced to her through this movie.
    • This version of Frankenstein's monster was likewise well received thanks to Shuler Hensley's heartfelt portrayal and his being Truer to the Text than most of the previous film depiction of the character.
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  • Evil Is Sexy: The Brides again. Kind of a given, though, since they're played by gorgeous actresses in elaborate gowns.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Dracula shows interest in making Anna his bride and gets entirely too close and personal during the masquerade ball, and a lot of his dialog with Van Helsing is pretty friendly considering Van Helsing is the one who originally killed him.
    • Dracula's bride Aleera also seems very interested in Anna, calling her "my love" and making claims like "I know what lurks in your lusting heart."
  • Friendly Fandoms: There are fans of the Hotel Transylvania franchise who like this film because they are properties that show classical movie monsters together.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It's not only that the film's Gothic visuals bear quite a strong resemblance to the aesthetics of Bloodborne, released 11 years later, but in the way of further similarities of the film to the game, also sports some sort of trick weapon in the form of the extendable stake, a monster hunter who increasingly transforms into a beast as the main character (quite apart from others being subjected to the same kind of transformation), and, like Bloodborne's Cainhurst Castle, a snow-covered vampire's castle hidden away from sight - and even accessed via what looks suspiciously like one of the fog doors of the Soulsborne franchise, complete with the gesture of pushing through the gate with one hand extended in front of oneself and the gate being impassable from the other side.
    • The film being the closest adaptation to Castlevania becomes this as there is now an actual adaptation of the video game, which debuted thirteen years after the film came out.
  • Ho Yay: Between Dracula and Van Helsing. Dracula seems a hell of a lot more interested in seducing Van Helsing than killing him. Especially when he calls him by his first name and drops hints about how close they used to be. It is also made worse by the videogame and the original script (turns out, they actually toned down on the Ho Yay...)
  • Memetic Badass: Hugh Jackman.
  • Mondegreen: A subtitle variation. Even though Van Helsing said "Requiescat in pace", the subtitles read "At least God's about you".
  • Narm:
    • As he's being strapped into the device that'll use him to bring Dracula's offspring to life, Velkan gives a spectacularly amusing "NEVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" when yelling at Dracula. Dracula's response start dancing with an invisible partner. Huh.
    • When he discovers his father's body, Velkan gives the weirdest Big "NO!" ever - through clenched teeth for some reason. The result is hilarious.
    • The extremely OTT reaction the Brides have at the beginning when the windmill with Frankenstein's creature blows up.
    • Dracula's reaction to Marishka's death - "MARIIIIIISHKAAAAAAAAA!" - and then marching up the wall to shout at his two remaining brides on the ceiling, all while Chewing the Scenery like it's Frankenstein's neck. Plus their hair and clothes are still obeying the laws of gravity and hanging down - or up, depending on the shot - making them all look ridiculous. Just after his realizing Marishka's death is just as hilariously bad as screaming her name: he may as well be fluttering down on little butterfly wings by how overdone and silly a pose he uses.
    • It's supposed to be a sad moment but a whacking great image of Anna appearing in the sky after her death is just bizarre.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. Plenty of scenes have them hamming it up, and it works.
    • Marishka's cackling during the village attack. You can tell her actress is having a ball.
    • For some Anna appearing in the sky after her death is still moving, despite the silliness.
  • Never Live It Down: Anna can't live down the amount of times she has to be saved in the earlier parts of the film. She does at least successfully drive the carriage from Transylvania to Budapest and kill Aleera.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The video game takes several departures from the film, making it Darker and Edgier, but features all but three of the film's cast (Beckinsale, Anaya and Wenham) doing character voices and was generally well received. It also has a respectable combat system and loads of unlockables to get. Enough care was even put into Helsing's hat, as it can be knocked off, and the game keeps track of if you've finished a level with your hat on or not.
  • Older Than They Think: In two directions: this film features Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man, Mr. Hyde and the Creature From The Black Lagoon was also considered for an appearance, years before Universal launched their "Dark Universe". However, Universal first crossed over their monsters in 1943's Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, with Dracula and The Invisible Man joining the party in subsequent sequels.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Robbie Coltrane as Mr Hyde. He was even smoking a damn cigar while doing the voice work!
  • Popular with Furries: Bara furries tend to love the muscular werewolf designs for this movie, especially Gabriel's.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Wonder Woman (2017) fans might recognise Aleera as Dr. Poison.
  • Special Effect Failure: The CGI has aged a bit. The film was made in 2004, a time when CGI was becoming more mainstream as the go-to special effect, but not quite perfected to look seemless. Though some would say that adds to the Narm Charm of the movie.
    • During the prologue sequence, Dracula and the Brides flying through the sky in the distance looks okay—the key word being "distance." The vapor around them, however, looks more like early video game 3D graphics.
    • The fight with Hyde looks more like Helsing is fighting a character from Shrek.
    • While some practical effects were used on the brides bat forms. Any time they show their monstrous nature while in their human ones (Stretching their mouths for instance) it looks a bit off, like the animation isn't integrated too well with the actresses.
    • The carriage jumping across the bridge unfortunately looks like very obvious CGI in a film with otherwise very good effects.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • This movie is very, very Castlevania. Namely when Dracula turns into a bat-demon (cue "Dance of Illusion").
    • Many people who watched Hotel Transylvania thought of the film as if the cartoon was live-action and made for adults.
    • This movie is essentially Ravenloft or Castlevania with automatic crossbows instead of whips. The Reveal that Dracula is really a member of the same Valerious clan that fights him is similar to Dracula being a Belmont in the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow continuity, made later. That Dracula is even named Gabriel.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Some feel that Anna and Van Helsing don't appear to have any connection that warrants The Big Damn Kiss they get. They do bond in the second act but it could easily be a platonic or friendly connection.
  • So Bad, It's Good: As long as you don't take it too seriously, the movie can be seriously entertaining.
  • Squick: Van Helsing digging through a vampire egg sack to see what the undead vampire-babies inside look like.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Although Anna is introduced as a supposedly competent heroine, she spends far too much time getting captured and not doing anything right. If the movie had actually shown that she was out of her depth and had her evolve into a competent fighter, she might have come across better.
    • It feels a bit disappointing having the vampire children (and perhaps, by extent, their mothers) be completely chaotic and irredeemable, as well as a bit of a wasted development after Frankenstein's monster (and Velkan and Van Helsing in their werewolf states are used to cast some sympathy upon the world of monsters. It would have been interesting to see (although perhaps difficult to execute) this expanded to show some of the other vampires turn against Dracula and not pose a threat to humanity.
  • Tear Jerker: Anna's death. Van Helsing even cradles her in his arms while crying.
  • Ugly Cute: The baby vampires.
  • Vindicated by History: Back in 2004 many people thought it was a bad movie; but when The Mummy (2017) came out and audiences got a taste of what the Dark Universe was shaping up to be, more people came to like this film for showing a better depiction of the Universal Movie Monsters.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The Brides' harpy forms still hold up quite well, pulled off with some state-of-the-art motion capture technique.
    • This movie features some of the best (if not the best) looking werewolves to be seen on the big screen.
    • The prequel movie is very well-animated, especially in scenes with fire.
  • Wangst: Dracula's first appearance after the prologue boils down to "I can't feel emotions, so I'm going to be emotional about it!"


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