The latest movie from Steven Sommers leaves a lot to be desired, can this HD DVD edition of Van Helsing give us any more detail?

Having destroyed one classic Universal beastie with the abysmal The Mummy Returns, filmmaker Stephen Sommers then set his sights on disposing of the rest of them with Van Helsing.

A revamp of the legendary vampire slayer, the film finds Hugh Jackman tooled up like some kind of proto-James Bond, doing battle with Dracula, and encountering the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s monster along the way.

There’s the sliver of a good idea here, but it’s buried beneath an abundance of lame CGI effects and hyperactive direction.

Whatever you think of the film, it’s impossible to argue with the 1080p transfer present on this HD DVD release. The opening black-and-white sequence is arguably the best-looking part of the film, but even the rest of the material holds up well, with much more detail than was evident in the DVD release. The only major fault is that the sheer amount of poor CG effects in the film can make it look a little soft in places, but you can’t blame the transfer for that. Surprisingly, the DD+ mix is primarily focused on the front speakers, with most of the action sequences making limited use of the surrounds.

Pretty much all of the extras from the two-disc DVD release are included here in the form of two commentaries, numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes and a blooper reel. It’s just a shame that Universal didn’t employ its interactive U-Control functionality to make it all accessible while watching the film.





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