The film Van Helsing in my opinion has a vast variety of genres that could in some ways apply to the composition of the film, and personally why I think it is decent film for these reasons. The film has many scenes packed with chase, fight, and dangerous scenes, therefore attributing under the “action” genre. All action films seem to have this underlying framework within the movie, built on the literal action sequences, whether it is a massive shoot-out between the enemy and good guys, or escaping from a rolling boulder triggered from a trap; all action movies seem to get adrenaline pumping and draw in attention with the use of portraying impossible feats that the main character seems to get by without ever breaking a sweat, all to make the audience be in disbelief of what awesome spectacle just happened before them. The other main genre that I see that applies in Van Helsing is the “Adventure” category with smaller sub-genres at play with the adventure genre. Most adventure genres tend to have a main character in their lives, until some force, beyond their control forces them to partake on an adventure to reclaim, discover, finish business, and so on. During the adventure, other accomplices tend to give aid to the characters quest while solving puzzles, discovering things they have never seen before, and in many cases discovering themselves in the process.
Pertaining to the adventure genre, in my opinion, see both a mystery aspect at play, as well as some similarities to a Western within the film. I see mysteries and adventures can go hand in hand when it comes to something that needs to be solved in order to proceed with the story or adventure. The other main genre would have to be a mix between Sci-Fi and Fantasy. The amount of sub-genres within these categories are vast, but the underlying theme I see is they both provide viewers with a sense of awe by placing them in a world that couldn’t exist, with supernatural beings, with robots that do battle with giant apex creatures. These genres all are intended to entice an audience’s imagination, to add a sense of escape from the every persistent reality that we all have to deal with.
Throughout Van Helsing there were many uses of common conventions used in the main story. For example, the premises that the main character, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman), is given a quest to complete and has his sidekick, Carl (David Wenham), accompany him on the journey. During the journey Helsing meets up with Anna Velerious (Kate Beckinsale) who becomes his companion and then his lover as the story would progress. This is a common trope that I myself have witnessed many times in films that mainly encompass around the action/adventure genres. Another convention at play is the whole use of vampires, werewolves, mad scientists, and other fantasy beings all are massed into one movie to have the evil orientated beings be pushed back and the others to prevail. This can be seen in many films having to do with Vampires, werewolves, and such, and yet for those who enjoy this somewhat reputation form film to film, the interest stays.
The film Van Helsing never became a big hit in the views of critics, but those who enjoyed the Gothic horror adventure of a beast slayer as he goes do take down the king of Vampires himself, Dracula, then this movie was what those people were looking for. The main story somewhat begins interestingly with a play-off of James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein, leaving off at the ending of this film, Van Helsing seems to pick up. This time Dracula himself intends to use Frankenstein’s monster as a catalyst to bring his offspring to life, and this is where Van Helsing himself comes into play. Sent by pope in Vatican City to hunt down Dracula before this event could take place, is the beginning of Helsing’s adventure. What play after this is daring encounters of various creatures, pitfalls at every turn all while developing a story behind why and how these events are unfolding. In my opinion, I loved the movie, for these reasons. Now when talking about what worked and what didn’t work with respect to the genres listed previously, the means that this film was intended to be a Gothic horror film, filled with vampires and werewolves, all while the outlaw Van Helsing is on an adventure to bring end to the lord of the vampires, Dracula, while dealing with the fantastic situations throughout the gothic land. I this sense the movie was great and applied to the genres it was intending to cover. Some things that didn’t work with the genres listed had to be the ever constant and somewhat undesirable comic relief that just never seems to fit into the dark and depressing land that the characters resided in.