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Van Helsing

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The opening sequence of a film is particularly important as the film maker needs to attract the attention of the audience. Discuss the ways in which the opening of "Van Helsing" ensures the audiences attention The Universal icon rotates around while the non- diegetic drum beat plays in the background, then the colour is drained from it creating a monochromat0ic effect, then combusts. It graphic matches into a wooden torch being held by a mysterious man with a menacing smile, obviously about to cause damage or harm. Then a pan shot through the trees over the large mass of people, note the music still continues- a loud militaristic beat juxtaposed with sounds of a choral influence. The lightning is consistent, causing sharp noises and spontaneous flashes of light. All of this is being used to create tension of what is soon to happen. More various shots of villagers holding axes and sticks, their angry expressions tell us they're pursuing somebody, or about to destroy something. While the film continues the word 'Transylvania' fades in at the bottom of the frame setting the seen for the audience, this also reveals to us that Dracula, a mythological character created based on Mary Shelly's original idea of 'Dracula' set in Transylvania. Film director Stephen Sommers has adapted Dracula into the film as the antagonist of the plot. He resides to be the iconoclast of the story and the arch enemy of Van Helsing who we later encounter. ...read more.


This part of the opening catch's our attention by introducing good and evil along with the very baleful yet moderate character, Dracula. The use of light and sound gives potency to the sequence by being spontaneous and reflecting the meaning of what Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein say. Sommer's uses a shot of both Dr. Frankenstein and Dracula standing over the newly created beast but the framing and placement of the characters suggest that metaphorically this creation is being portrayed as a new born child, trapped between the path of Dr. Frankenstein, the path of good a symbol of right, and justice or the path of evil causing havoc and reaping lives under the cruel wing of Dracula, 'I could never allow him to be used for such evil' says Dr. Frankenstein, 'I Could' says Dracula. While they talk the monster tilts his head trying to focus on the right the decision and we can see that this is a challenging thing to do. The monster is also being used to represent the audience confused, torn against both Dracula and Dr. Frankenstein. Various shots of the monster's attempt to escape build tension and climax of what might happen and feeds on our imagination. Then we get a close up of the servant, Igor the true embodiment of ugliness in its highest form on the outside and on the inside, he betrays the trust of Dr. Frankenstein and shows how humans are lesser than Vampires in different ways. ...read more.


The pace of the sequence keeps the audience 'on the edge of their seats' and gathers high tension which over all should be enjoyable as it hints the rest of the film should also be as tense. The scene ends with a fade. The opening of Van Helsing introduces an array of different themes such as religion: it uses many iconic symbols and relates to issues like good and evil and how intermingled with the matters of holiness and satanic influence. It captivated the audience with its range of different sounds parallel to the opening scene, both non- diegetic and diegetic. The use of camera angles showed different aspects of the film and magnified the actions of the different characters making it clear on the different emotions and feeling they had. The mise en scene added greatly to the scene as it showed authenticity. The juxtaposition of the actions of a new born baby with those of a monstrous being was original and helps us to understand the character. The speech each character used defined the class they belonged in, for example the villagers grunted and yelled whereas Dr. Frankenstein had a more complex vocabulary. The final use of stereotypical behaviour showed humans as easily aggressive, traitoring, weak and prejudice because of the way they treat Dr. Frankenstein, whereas the Vampires were portrayed as superior beings to humans. The aspects of the film ensured that the audience would be fully attentive and want to see more. ?? ?? ?? ?? Oluwaseyi Fatusin ...read more.

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