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Van Helsing: The London Assignment

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Overview

From Universal comes the straight-to-DVD animated feature, Van Helsing: The London Assignment. Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen picture that not only boasts a lush color palette and sharp image quality, but, when accompanied by the kicking 5.1 Dolby Surround track, the flick looks, feels, and sounds as big as the Hollywood production that it precedes. Sadly, since it's only 33 minutes long, there are no scene selections on the disc, but the size of the extras should please those looking for a little meat to their...
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Overview

From Universal comes the straight-to-DVD animated feature, Van Helsing: The London Assignment. Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen picture that not only boasts a lush color palette and sharp image quality, but, when accompanied by the kicking 5.1 Dolby Surround track, the flick looks, feels, and sounds as big as the Hollywood production that it precedes. Sadly, since it's only 33 minutes long, there are no scene selections on the disc, but the size of the extras should please those looking for a little meat to their DVDs. Bonus features are split into four different sections, the first being a spoiler-filled look at Stephen Sommers' summer blockbuster Van Helsing in the "Behind the Screams" documentary hosted by cast member Josie Maran. Basically a shill when it comes down to it, the clip features many juicy moments from the film, littered with raving comments from everyone involved. A jaded viewer might think that it's a little too much (the product placement of the Universal box sets at the end are certainly an eye-roller), but that's the nature of the movie tie-in beast -- put the product out there to sell the bigger fish. The "Animatic to Animation" storyboard comparison is next, followed by an interview with star Hugh Jackman that shows the actor recording dialogue and discussing the differences between film acting and voice work. The final extra is...you guessed it, another movie tie-in! This time it's for the Vivendi Universal Van Helsing game for the Playstation 2 and Xbox systems, featuring a few more tidbits from Jackman, along with additional interviews with the game's creators. Fans of the film will enjoy diving into this disc, with others most likely buying it for their kids to watch time and again. (Warning: the film features numerous violent scenes which might be too extreme for younger viewers.)
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Van Helsing: "Behind the Screams" - An exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the world of Van Helsing, hosted by one of Dracula's brides, actress Josie Maran; "The Making of the Van Helsing Game" - See what it takes to transform a hit movie into a gripping video game experience; "Animatic to Animation" - Moving storyboards reveal how four thrilling scenes from the film are taken from concept to final animation
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
There’s a whiff of "marketing ploy" in this 30-minute animated prequel to the monster box-office hit Van Helsing, released direct to DVD just as the movie hit the theaters. But it sure doesn’t play like a cheap brand extension. The animation, creepily atmospheric, is a cut above; and Hugh Jackman, the film’s star, provides the voice of the lead character, Van Helsing, one of "humanity's protectors" as a Knight of the Holy Order. The script has its witty touches, and film buffs will appreciate the opening black-and-white Universal logo, a nod to the studio's horror film legacy. Please note, though, that the unrated program is no more geared for young children than the PG-13 feature film. It begins with a harrowing, surprisingly graphic murder committed by the dread Dr. Jekyll. Van Helsing is dispatched to London, where he becomes embroiled in this deadly case that leads to the royal palace, where an unwitting Queen Victoria is under Jekyll's influence. Van Helsing has definite franchise possibilities, and The London Assignment plays not so much as a prequel as it does the pilot for a TV series.
All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
Van Helsing: The London Assignment is an exciting and visually stunning straight-to-video prequel that should set up the world of Stephen Sommers' $200 million epic nicely. The animated mini-movie has a slight anime look to it, which makes sense when you start to delve into the mostly Asian production behind it. Through this bold visual style, the audience is treated to some highly entertaining (and quite violent) scenes of monster mayhem, with the hero taking on various ghouls and creatures whose look, more often than not, hearkens back to Mike Mignola's (creator of Hellboy) style of deep shadows for extra-creepy effect. Hugh Jackman does an admirable job with the line delivery, though the same cannot be said for his annoying sidekick, Carl (David Wenham) -- a cookie-cutter character made in the exact comic relief mold that series creator Stephen Sommers has written into every one of his movies. Even with that character's incessant whining, The London Assignment is still a breezy, fun time for those looking for a little lead-in to the big event film. It might be a little too violent for some of the youngsters, but older fans will be surprised at just how much they manage to get away with here.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/11/2004
  • UPC: 025192451324
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Letterbox
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 96,790

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hugh Jackman Voice Only
Robbie Coltrane Voice Only
David Wenham Voice Only
Alun Armstrong Voice Only
Technical Credits
Sharon Bridgeman Director, Producer
Bob Ducsay Executive Producer
John Kafka Producer
Judith Reeves-Stevens Screenwriter
Garfield Reeves-Stevens Screenwriter
Ken Solomon Editor
Stephen Sommers Executive Producer
John Van Tongeren Score Composer
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Bonus Features
      Van Helsing: "Behind the Screams"
      Animatic to Animation
      An Interview With Hugh Jackman
      The Making of the Van Helsing Game
   Languages
      Captioned for the Hearing Impaired: English
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: None
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Customer Reviews

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