Van Helsing

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1 1/2

In this fantasy adventure film set in the late 19th century, Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is a mysterious crusader against the forces of evil around the world. Commissioned by a secret order of the Catholic church, Van Helsings latest assignment is to aid a family in Transylvania, which has nearly failed in their vow to put an end to the evil Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). The only remaining member of the family, Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), must either see Dracula finished off in her lifetime or risk her familys damnation. But the Count, who seems invincible to every attack, clearly has a more diabolical plan in mind. Inspired by the work of Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula prepares an evil plot to eliminate his rivals and extend his reign of terror around the world. Now Anna, Van Helsing and Carl (David Wenham), the brainy friar, must stop him before his evil plans succeed.

Apart from Hollywoods typical implausible action sequences, Van Helsing actually tells a decent story of good against evil. Unfortunately, it is couched in superstitions that see mankind, and particularly the righteous crusaders of the Roman Catholic church, as the last line of defense against evil. Satan is mentioned as the source of Draculas immense powers, but God is curiously absent from the scene. His intervention is apparently only available through the churchs emissaries and, of course, holy water and crucifixes. But the friar at one point requests sexual favors of a village maiden whom he saves. And while the eternal salvation of a family is shown to be at risk because of the possible failure of a vow, no mention is made of Christ as the source of salvation. Thus Van Helsing presents a caricature of the Catholic church, which emphasizes religious superstitions while eliminating the Savior. With objectionable language and violence added in, Van Helsing earns negative acceptability marks.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (3) times mild (hell 2, damn 1)

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Several (9) times moderate (OMG 7, G 2)

Violence: Many times moderate (numerous fights between human characters and vampires/werewolves and other creatures, creatures arm cut off, vampires stabbed with stakes and shot with guns and arrows several times, mob attacks a man, man falls to death, vampires die and immediately decompose, etc.)

Sex: Once mild (man whispers to woman and apparently propositions her and then awakens next to her later)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once mild (reference to a character's sexual desires)

Drugs: Few times mild (use of alcohol)

Other: A few appropriate references to God in conversations, references to Satan and making deals with Satan, Catholic church portrayed as crusading against evil, man portrayed as in danger of hell if vow is not fulfilled, depiction of superstitions about demonic spiritual forces, discussion of the difference between appearance and reality

Running Time: 145 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and Youths

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