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Van Helsing Should Be Remembered For One CGI Achievement

"Van Helsing" was the monster mash spectacular from Universal Pictures that was unleashed to film fans to kick off the summer blockbuster season in 2004. Coming from Stephen Sommers, the director of 1999's "The Mummy" and 2001's "The Mummy Returns," the film expanded on his trend of featuring monsters from the Universal Studios catalog updated for the modern generation. The film starred Hugh Jackman fresh off of "X2" and Kate Beckinsale fresh off of "Underworld." With all the star power, monster nostalgia, and action eye candy on screen, the film was made to be a success.

While the film did turn a profit, gaining over $300 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of around $170 million, the film didn't quite impress critics at the time, earning a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Thus, the film largely disappeared off of fans' radars for years. However, in the age of social media and with some rear-view film analysis, the film is finding renewed interest from audiences. After the box office and critical tanking of the 2017 Tom Cruise vehicle and similar Universal Monster reboot "The Mummy," audiences were nostalgic for the simple fun of "Van Helsing." It even began crushing the streaming chart when it was released on Netflix in 2021. Some fans even point to one particular aspect of the movie, which was achieved through CGI, that keeps the film in their watch rotation.

Redditors are still marveling at the CGI werewolves in Van Helsing

The film followed renowned monster slayer Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) as he joins Anna (Kate Beckinsale) to hunt Dracula and his evil trio of brides. With the aid of Frankenstein's monster, the team fights off werewolves and Dracula's bat-children to save Transylvania from its big monster problem. The film is a send-up to Universal's own "House of Frankenstein" from 1944 which featured similar monsters to those featured in the movie.

One particular monster that 2022 movie fans can't get enough of from this 2004 film is the werewolf. A Reddit thread posing the question of re-evaluating movies that were traditionally thought of as bad shows fans speaking highly of the werewolves' looks, created by the cinematic magicians ILM entirely out of CGI. "Best live action werewolves of all time," said Redditor u/preptimebatman. The comments on a YouTube clip echo similar positive reactions.

"Best werewolves in movies yet. The CGI is smooth [,] movements are natural, [and] the design is just beautiful, a perfect blend of wolf and human ... Best CGI werewolves," user Wayne Lockhaven said. "This movie was made almost 15 years ago and it still has the best-looking werewolves in movie history," user supereldinho said. "The werewolves are absolutely terrifying," said user arrownoir. Several comments talk about how the CGI holds up so well for a movie from 2004.

Film fans commenting on these various platforms all seem to agree that this film got a bad rap when it was first released. We could be seeing the formation of a new cult classic for monster movie fans. It sounds like fans not only want to talk about how great the wolves are, but also how much they really like the movie in retrospect.

Film fans just seem to think Van Helsing is a fun movie upon re-evaluation

One Redditor also commented on another monster in "Van Helsing" and how it holds up today. U/fuzzylynx said, "I still attest that Frankenstein's Monster in Van Helsing is arguably the closest to how it is described in the book than just about any other version. He's intelligent and soft-spoken, strong and agile — not some slow, lumbering oaf that just grunts." "I unironically think this movie is great," agreed u/evilsbane59. Another Redditor in the "bad" movie thread said, "Dude this can't be regarded as bad can it? This is a classic." It seems to be that audiences who grew up with the movie have grown quite fond of it. Numerous comments mention how viewers saw the movie when they were young and how they revisit it all the time.

"Van Helsing" was released alongside an animated short film that acted as a prequel to the live-action film called "Van Helsing: The London Assignment." Fans of the film would definitely enjoy the short's Saturday morning cartoon vibe. A reboot of the film was proposed in 2015, with Tom Cruise slated to lead the picture (via Variety), but that project eventually morphed into the aforementioned "Mummy" reboot in 2017 according to Variety.

It was announced on Deadline in late 2020 that a new "Van Helsing" project was being set up at Universal, with James Wan set to produce and "Overlord" director Julius Avery set to direct. Audiences will have to wait and see if that project comes to fruition, but until then they have 2004's "Van Helsing" and its terrifying werewolves to continuously revisit with many re-watches.