Reflections of a Cinema Goer

Its so long since I’ve posted a blog entry, Im trying this as a warm up.  A form of writing that is easy for me. A film review.I happened to see a film I saw several years ago in the cinema. Van Helsing.

Watching it on DVD brought it all back.

I remember, my Movie Buddy ™ had been looking forward to seeing it. I had been lukewarm. I mean, I like Hugh jackman, and all. His talent is huge. Most of us who saw him in Xmen didn’t know he was actually a star of stage musicals.

No, liked him, but wasn’t confident as to whether the film would be any good- the trailer didn’t thrill.

 But, I went. And the film was a huge disappointment. HUGE.

Now, it wasn’t Hugh Jackman’s fault. Hugh Jackman was doing his Hugh Jackman thing. Which meant he was awesome.

And, it wasn’t Kate Beckinsale’s fault.

Now, I like Kate Beckinsale. I think she can act. But not in scif fi stuff. Unfortunately, she only has two mode in scifi/horror/fanstasy stuff. Pouty, moody teenager- as in the Underworld series. Or pouty, shouty teenager, with a bad middle European accent. As in Van Helsing. Though, when I saw how tight they made her clothes in that, I instantly understood the character’s bad mood.

 Between the basque like belt, and the thigh high, high heeled boots? Pfft! Can we say impractical for vampire hunting? Or even for shopping in Tesco’s for that matter. No woman would go out armed with weaponry to take down supernatural beings, in gear like that. Only a guy, who reads online fetish ‘zines would design something like that.

 But Kate B wasn’t the reason this film falls in the ‘So bad, its..BAD!’ category, as opposed to the ‘So bad, its GOOD!’ category, that it should have been.

Its because of Dracula.

Now, call me old fashioned, but I like my draculas in films to be scary. Or it they cant be scary, to be intense in a camp way, so I can make derisive noises and throw popcorn at the screen. But either way, the actor’s performance should keep me in his film.

 But here, that didn’t happen. Here I kept being jolted out of the film. I kept being distracted. At key moments, my mind went off what was being said on screen. And its wardrobes fault. They should have fired the costume designer.

Because Dracula, all dark haired, hooded eyes, ludicrous eastern European accent as he should be, had his long hair held back with… barrettes. Barrettes, people! That is, little girl hair ornaments! Clipped in the sides!

For real!

So, the entire film I was distracted.

Every time the guy playing Dracula appeared, I wasn’t having a frisson of unease. Or an enjoyable moment of sneering at the campery. I was distractedly muttering ‘…but why is Dracula wearing barrettes in his hair’ And I’m sorry, but no credible villain leaves his house, of a morning, with his hair like that.

Dracula would come on. And I wouldn’t be thinking ‘Oh nos! What will he be doing to Van Helsing? What is his nefarious plan?’ or even,

‘Sheesh! Is he clichéd or what?’

No, I’d be sitting with my mouth open going,

‘Dude! They’ve got Dracula with  ****ing barrettes in his hair! Really? REALLY?’

And Id completely miss a plot point.

This had me in its grip the entire film, had me in thrall.

Up to now, I couldn’t tell you about the climactic fight between Van Helsing and Dracula. Just whether the hair clips survived the smack down.


 Months later, if someone were to ask me about the film, I didn’t go

‘Hugh Jackman, all badass with a crossbow!’ or ‘Kate Beckinsale! Every dodgy ethnic stereotype of Transylvanean accents you can imagine! Whilst wearing a basque!’ but would clutch the person and say solemnly

‘They had Dracula wearing barettes! They had the world’s most notorious vampire wearing school girl clips in his hair! Can you believe it?’ And we would both shudder.

So, yeah.

Van Helsing.


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