A Few Words About A few words about...™ Van Helsing -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    My initial exposure to the horror genre was to the Universal films of the 1930s and '40s. These little gems, of generally short running times, set the standards for me for decades to come for the look, feel and texture of the genre. So for me, seeing the Universal logo turn to black & white, and then morph to the fireball at the tip of a villager's glowing torch...

    The opening sequence of Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing is a brilliant black & white return to that classic era, brought up to date with absolute perfection by cinematographer Allen Daviau. Had the original cinematographer of Frankenstein (1931), the brilliant Arthur Edeson, who also photographed All Quiet on the Western Front, The Old Dark House, Mutiny on the Bounty and Casablanca been available, I would bet that his work would have looked very, very close to Mr. Daviau's loving tribute.

    The cinematography for the rest of the film, all 132 minutes of it, flows beautifully and quickly, as the tale moves from locale to locale, and with our hero played by Hugh Jackman, finally joining forces with Kate Beckinsale.

    For those who may not have guessed, I'm a sucker for this film, and Universal's new Blu-ray release, now with audio upgraded to DTS-HD, is a modern treasure, especially for those whose childhoods are ingrained with those delicate little Universal horror classics generally available via their Legacy releases.

    Van Helsing is a gorgeous Blu-ray, terrific entertainment, and, with its greater bandwidth, a nice upgrade from HD. Don't for a moment think about taking it seriously. Just sit back and allow it to entertain.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    This is a film that I passed on in theaters. Now I'm going to have to check it out!

    Doug
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    With such a glowing review, I will surely be tempted to pick this one up for an upgrade (over my bargain bin DVD) at some point. I grew up on Hammer horror much more so than the old Universal classics, but enjoyed the action-packed adventurous spin of this one quite well nonetheless -- yeah, this is certainly not "serious" horror (though not bordering on comedy either like many others), so just enjoy the ride as intended.

    Thanks yet again, RAH...

    _Man_
     
  4. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    Dear Mr. Harris,

    I am glad that an esteemed film connoisseur as you approves of this movie. I love Van Helsing, but most people and reviewers seem to hate the movie. I think one just has to "get" the special mix of homage and satire, full of winking allusions. Of course it is not meant seriously!

    Thank you for the recommendation, even though I already own this BD (German version) since July.
     
  5. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Hmm..I get it. But i think it still sucks. To much GCI to really feel like a throw back, and bad CGI at that. Its also DULL. Yea, stuff happens, but its like watching someone else play a video game. A problem with to many movies these days, if you ask me. I know, to each his own. But guys, id rent first. In my opinion, the movie, is that bad. 2 out of 5 if i was rating.

    Remember, i have not seen the disc. I am talking film alone.
     
  6. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    aah it's grand reading that Mr. Harris enjoyed Van Helsing. I saw it twice at the cinema, something I rarely do. It's a hugely entertaining monster romp, I even have the soundtrack and making of book.
     
  7. FrankT

    FrankT Stunt Coordinator

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    Fun film. I liked it a lot.
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I still have fond memories of Universal screening the DVD for us at an HTF meet. The response to the film was not favorable but it was an appreciated gesture. I still have the DVD and novelization for sentimental reasons. Whoda thunk? I will have to watch the film again based on the minority view of it.
     
  9. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    Count me in as another who loves this film....I consider it one of my favourite popcorn movies...just put it in and enjoy. I love the soundtrack as well. Will definitely upgrade this one.
     
  10. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I had the DVD, sold it off when I first heard this was comming, can't wait to add it to the collection, great film.
     
  11. Terry Hickey

    Terry Hickey Second Unit

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    Mr. Harris, in your opinion, is the blu-ray version of 'Van Helsing' a significant upgrade from the HD DVD version, video-wise?
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While it is an upgrade, this would be totally dependent upon your screen size and eye for detail. The original HD release was very good looking.
     
  13. Terry Hickey

    Terry Hickey Second Unit

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    Thank you, Mr. Harris for your reply. I only have a 42"screen, so I doubt that I would see a significant improvement. I will just continue to enjoy my HD DVD version of 'Van Helsing'. I appreciate your "A few words about ..." and look forward to your next musings when you have time to post about such disks.


    P.S. Wouldn't it be nice to see the original Universal monster classics on Blu-ray (hint hint Universal)?!
     
  14. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    There was hope that The Wolf Man would be released on Blu-ray, when the remake hits the theaters. But we only got An American Werewolf in London. Not a bad title, but The Wolf Man is released on dvd again, so it would make sense to release it on Blu too.
     
  15. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I would love to see BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and the other Universal Horror Classics on BD. The photography in the Laemmle era monster movies is some of the best from Hollywood's Golden Age, and these films would shine in High Definition.

    VAN HELSING? It is a gorgeous looking film, but I never cared for the plot or the performances. But it sure looks nice.
     

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