Since when does Dracula have Tusken Raiders?

I watched Van Helsing tonight…and good thing I did, because otherwise I would have gone unenlightened as to a number of literary truths. These include:

  • After fleeing London, Mr. Hyde went to Paris and took over the Notre Dame cathedral. The French either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

  • Dr. Frankenstein’s castle was a gift from Count Dracula, who used it as a crash pad for a while.

  • After the good doctor’s demise, Dracula hijacked Igor to head up his army of Tusken Raiders, who are his faithful servants.

  • When vampires mate (which they can do, of course), the result is a gargoyle in an egg sac.

  • Werewolves transform only during the full moon, but have random spurts of lycanthropic ability in the meantime. The person may or may not have control over these bursts, depending on whether or not it’s convenient for the plot.

  • When werewolves fall into a fast-flowing river, the splash they make remains stationary while the river flows through it.

Okay, I’m being nitpicky with the last one, but if you’re making a (semi) star-studded blockbuster with a multi-million dollar budget, you can at least get your CGI right.

Seriously, though, what the hell was up with this movie? In addition to the nonsensical plot, which not only butchers elements of three classic novels but also every piece of vampire/werewolf lore ever written, we have the over-the-top acting on the part of the lead villain, and of course a heaping helping of bad Slavic accents all around. Oh, and a “comic relief” character that’s far too straight-laced to be funny, though I will give the writer credit for avoiding the idiot Jar-Jar type. Hugh Jackman, for his part, is pleasantly low-key, but that’s about the only good thing I can say for this movie.

Best action flick of the year? Please. I hold higher hopes for The Chronicles of Riddick, and that ain’t saying much.

I haven’t quite figured out what the fuss is about with all the “they ruined three good novels!” whiners. It’s an action-adventure movie with monsters instead of terrorists. Werewolves, vampires and the Frankenstein’s monster have all been modified, altered and twisted almost beyond recognition literarily as well as cinematically already. If your suspension of disbelief can handle the existence of these three things, why does it have so much trouble handling a few niggling contrivances about these three things?

It’s a movie, folks. A throwaway action-adventure movie. Not literary excellence, not a Merchant-Ivory period piece, not a historical documentary. Suspension of disbelief. Learn it, live it, love it. Or else you’re gonna be nitpicking the hell out of everything and die miserable and alone. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, especially since there IS no definitive werewolf novel. So what’s the third?

Jekyll and Hyde. The OP complains about the initial monster-hunting expedition in Notre Dame.

See, I honestly don’t get what all the negative criticism is about. This is a “fun romp” movie, full of jokes and asides and anachronisms and winking references to other films. But everyone seems to be treating it like it’s supposed to be King Lear and they totally fucked up Shakespeare, man!

Loosen up. Laugh a little. People really need to get a life if they’re arguing that “vampires aren’t really like that!” Well, DUH! I wasn’t aware that vampires were really like anything…considering they aren’t real! “Vampires don’t really mate and have broods of gargoyles hanging from jelly bags!” :rolleyes: And little gray aliens don’t really land in the desert and play pretty tunes to Richard Dreyfuss, either.

If you want to make a campy, “fun romp” movie that follows its own rules and doesn’t take itself too seriously, that’s fine. That sort of movie can be extremely enjoyable if it’s done correctly. But if you want to make stuff up, make stuff up. Don’t base it on elements of pop culture or classic literature, completely disregard those aspects of your source material that inconvenience you, and then act surprised when people criticize you for it.

Of course, I can understand why screenwriters would want to use established characters: it eliminates the need for excessive exposition, and also allows you to be lazy about character development if you so choose. For Van Helsing, they chose to use Dracula because everyone knows who Dracula is. That situation, however, is a double-edged sword: preexisting characters come not only with their own personalities, but with established biographical facts, and “universes” that contain certain rules regarding the character. Hell, I would almost have been OK with vampires being able to have dead babies, since there’s not really a single set of definitive “vampire rules”, and writers pick and choose from the ones they think will work for their script. But Van Helsing didn’t fight “vampires”. He fought Dracula. Dracula doesn’t have dead babies. And, more to the point, he doesn’t have Tusken Raiders either. What the hell was up with those things?

To those of you who enjoyed this movie: good. I’m glad you did. I have nothing against anybody’s opinion; I’m just presenting my own, as well as my reasoning behind it. The key point here (not that anyone asked, but I’ll clarify anyhow): debating opinions is worthless and counterproductive. Debating the reasoning behind those opinions, however, is both informative and fun. I don’t like Van Helsing. I’ve told you why. And I’ll be happy to indulge anyone who finds fault with my reasoning. I have been known to reverse my opinion on things before when I decided I was misinterpreting something crucial…it just doesn’t happen much.

Oh, and yeah: I do tend to be fairly nitpicky when it comes to movies (music too). It might seem odd, because in most aspects of life, I’m quite passive indeed; I’d much rather just accept minor day-to-day inconveniences, rather than ruin my happiness by dwelling on insignificant faults (an attitude I wish I could pass on to those of my customers who think an undercooked steak destroys an evening). With entertainment, however, I find that I can afford to be a lot more selective, since if I decide I don’t like a particular movie or song, I don’t really lose anything in the process. It doesn’t affect anybody, and I simply move on to the next one. So, because I have the sort of mindset that notices these types of flaws, I find 95% of all movies to suck, and even moreso when it comes to music.

So, there you have it. If I seem excessively picky to anyone, it’s probably because I am. If you’re different, well…groovy :smiley:

Why not? All the old version did. And its not like the B&W Frankenstein is eating up the market…

So which version of Dracula should the producers have used?

The Universal version? The Hammer version? The Coppla version? The Electric Company version (my favorite)? The cartoon Drac Pack version? The version from Billy the Kid versus Dracula?

You get the idea.

now I’ve not seen the movie yet, and have not seen the character design for the ‘Tusken Raiders,’ but in the novel, Dracula does have a small army of Gypsies that he employs to maintain his castle and defend him when he is vulnerable.

could these be them?

Dunno. Do Gypsies generally wear Nazi gas masks that, when torn off, reveal mandibles filled with razor sharp fangs? Are an inordinate amounts of them guttural, unintelligble midgets?

To add to the number fo weird plot points:

If someone is bitten by a werewolf (thus, during a full moon), how on earth is the next full moon three days away?

How does someone slide up the wall backwards when turning into a werewolf?

Why is Dracula immune to all normal methods of vampires killing, but can be beaten to death by a werewolf?

If you’re going to set a movie in 1887, why essentially give the hero a machine gun?

How did these peasants have mountains of silver handy for forging into stakes and crossbow bolts?

Why do I want to answer every X vs Y thread with, “Van Helsing, if he’s prepared.”?


Will work for robot parts
   Call 1-800-I-TUSKEN

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Van Helsing takes place in 1887.

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in 1897. As far as I know, he created the archetype and character “Dracula”. Before that, Vlad Tepes was just a cranky Romanian warlord, and Dracula-the-vampire did not exist.

This is equivalent to a James Bond film in which he sneaks into the back of Ford’s Theater, knocks out an actor, takes a role in Our American Cousin, and shoots John Wilkes Booth with his Walter P99. James Bond didn’t exist in 1865! No! Stop!

I need to salve my wounded soul with a nice historically-accurate piece, like, say, Troy. That’ll do it.

Vlad Tepes was a bit more than a “cranky Romanian warlord,” although he wasn’t the full-blown bloodsucking undead. True, he was a real person and a historical figure, but the legend of his savagery against the Ottomans had made him a supernatural, monstrous figure to the peasantry of Romania loooooong before Bram Stoker ever got ahold of the legend. Somewhere in there, the legend became conflated with the traditional Carpathian “wampyr” monster, and gave Stoker the seed of the story. He picked up the ball and ran with it, but he didn’t make the story up out of whole cloth.

That’s what’s bugging me - Count Dracula is a literary character, and he’s in a setting before the literary character was created.

Of course, I realize the inherent futility in getting annoyed by this, and that just frustrates me further, because I can’t let this go. I suspect I’ll descend into a downward spiral of madness, ultimately attributed to Stephen Sommers’ blatant ripoff of Roman Polanski.

(Fearless Vampire Killers was a better movie! And it did the ballroom dance scene first!)

Why is it so hard for people to just accept that Van Helsing isn’t set in our universe? It’s set in a universe where Dracula was a vampire before an otherwise obscure English author dug him up and dusted him off. It’s a universe where werewolves can crawl up walls backwards. It’s a universe where Frankenstein was hired by Dracula to create a power source to bring his dead podbat children to life. It’s a universe where Transylvanian horses are related to Santa’s reindeer.

Suspension of disbelief, people! Suspension of disbelief!

I can understand getting frustrated at an otherwise our-world spy thriller with obvious factual and scientific errors. But complaining about things like “Dracula wasn’t a vampire in 1885!” (just think about that phrase, mmmkay?) is like watching Fellowship of the Ring and complaining that cave trolls don’t really exist.

I could care less about the literary aspects of it, since it certainly didn’t care. I’ve been descibing it as a “Best of CGI fights” video, instead of a movie. Look, I like a crappy action movie as much as the next guy. I own “The Last Boy Scout” for goodness sakes. But I just got bored during this one. Same old fights, over and over again. Sigh.

Hell, I have no problem with people who thought it was boring (we disagree, but other than that…). I just find all the “Dracula wasn’t a vampire before 1885!” and “Vampires don’t have podbat babies!” and “Werewolves don’t lycanthropize and delycanthropize depending on whether the moon is behind a cloud or not!” and “Dracula didn’t have tusken jawas as slaves!” to be silly. These are fictional creatures. Most of them may have started out as literary characters, but decades of films and books have altered most of them completely out of recognition well before Van Helsing was even conceived.

It just seems like people took the film far too seriously. I brought this up before and someone mentioned that it was the filmmakers who took it too seriously (which can be argued), but I say that’s irrelevant. Who cares how the filmmakers intended it to be viewed? Its context, its style and even most of its dialogue lend themselves to viewing it as a slightly self-conscious funromp film.

Well, jayjay, in each prior post of mine I commented in one way or another about the silliness of my complaint. Don’t worry, I was way ahead of you.

Why not? Seriously? I mean, Dracula has been done to death. We all know who he is, what he does, how he ends up, etc. etc. etc. Do we really need to see another movie that’s a regurgitation of all of that? God knows, I sure don’t. I haven’t seen Van Helsing yet (probably will go tomorrow) but the chief attraction to me is how the movie is going to twist up all these classic monster movie cliches to try to make them fresh and interesting again. I can’t say yet wether they succeed of fail, but the last thing I’d ever do is criticize them for trying.

Oh, and incidentally, the above quoted criticism almost perfectly describes Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel. He took bits of “pop culture” (ie myth and folk tales), borrowed a bit from previous (although hardly “classic”) literature, and threw in some dog-ends of history, used what he needed for his story, ignored stuff that didn’t work, and made the rest of it up. Hell, the same could be said for almost any author in any time period. You’ve practically described the entire genre of literary fiction.