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Van Helsing

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Van Helsing: Enjoyable, cheesy action with great 4K and sound. No new extras.

    Van Helsing 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Van Helsing's 4K UHD transfer shines with HDR colors and deep blacks, though its dark palette can overwhelm. Details and textures excel even in shadows, despite minor issues like mild souping and a tad purplish blacks.

  • Audio
  • Van Helsing's DTS:X Master Audio is a thunderous sonic explosion, offering an intensely aggressive, yet clear audio experience that fills every speaker, testing the limits of excess and engaging listeners with cinematic chaos and finely integrated atmospheric effects.

  • Extra
  • Universal's UHD Van Helsing release offers no new bonuses but includes prior audio commentaries and Blu-ray extras from 2009, like behind-the-scenes features and bloopers, plus a UV digital copy.

  • Movie
  • In Sept 2017, Universal's UHD releases like The Purge trilogy and Dracula Untold showcased the format's prowess in rendering shadow details in dark films, achieving commendable, though not reference-quality, visual improvements.

    Video: 64

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Van Helsing" showcases a meticulous upscale from its original 2K finish to a striking 2160p resolution, complemented by HDR-enhanced colors that elevate the visual experience. Despite being inherently dark, the film leverages this feature to enhance its atmosphere, particularly noticeable in the meticulously textured black-and-white opening sequence which sets a high bar for visual depth. As the narrative transitions into color, starting with the dynamic battle against Mr. Hyde, the image retains its profound darkness, albeit with some challenges in maintaining detail in the deepest shadows and a slight tendency for blacks to veer towards purple in isolated instances. However, these minor issues do not detract significantly from the overall impactful presentation of blacks and shadow details, which are indeed a highlight of this transfer.

    The HDR treatment amplifies the visual impact, especially in scenes where starkly vibrant colors contrast with the predominantly drab and shadowy environment, such as the vivid red attire in the Vatican sequence that pops against the darker backdrop. This effect, while occasionally bordering on extreme, serves to underscore the film's aesthetic of stark contrast and provides a fresh perspective on HDR's capabilities in enhancing color dynamics in a predominantly dark visual palette. Flesh tones, however, exhibit a slight push towards rosiness – a minor deviation that is noticeable but does not undermine the overall quality of the image reproduction.

    Detail resolution is another area where this 4K UHD presentation excels. Even in darker scenes, there is a noticeable enhancement in texture and clarity, from the intricate facial features to the nuanced details of clothing, all of which benefit from the sharp, fine-grain quality that respects the film's original cinematic texture. This visual finesse ensures that "Van Helsing" on 4K UHD is not only a step up in resolution but a more immersive and visually rich experience that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate for its depth, contrast, and attention to detail.

    Audio: 69

    The audio presentation of "Van Helsing" on 4K UHD Blu-ray, remastered with DTS:X Master Audio, is nothing short of a sonic behemoth. It caters to those who relish an audio track that thrives on the edge of sonic mayhem, offering a densely packed soundscape from the outset. As the film begins, viewers are engulfed in a cacophony of sound that seems to stretch the very boundaries of their home theaters, propelled by an imposing bass that might just be the epitome of excess. This auditory onslaught is both a boon for enthusiasts seeking engagement at every sonic corner and a borderline challenge for those unprepared for its ferocity. The opening scene sets a high bar for immersive audio, complete with full-stage saturation and a vivid portrayal of chaos through both the primary and overhead channels.

    As the movie progresses, the DTS:X track meticulously maps out the film's dynamic action sequences and ambient soundscapes with an impressive overhead presence, ensuring that arrows not only swoosh but palpably fly overhead amidst the roar of flames and the tumult of battle. The degree of immersion is such that every speaker becomes an active participant in creating a multidimensional auditory experience, drawing the listener into the heart of the action. The marriage of precision and power in this track stands out, especially as it handles complex sequences with an intricate balance between intensity and clarity. Atmospheric effects are not sidelined but are given ample space to contribute to the overall immersion, from subtle clinks to the ominous boom of thunder, enhancing the narrative with a layer of acoustic texture.

    For audiophiles and cinema enthusiasts alike, "Van Helsing's" audio track in its 4K UHD Blu-ray incarnation offers an electrifying testament to how far home audio can push the envelope. It's a rollercoaster ride that tests the limits of what speakers (and ears) can handle, achieving moments of pure audio adrenaline without sacrificing detail. While some may find the sheer force of its delivery overwhelming, necessitating a slight adjustment, there's no denying that this track sets a new standard for immersive sound. It's an audacious feast for the senses, promising an unforgettable auditory experience for those willing to brave its sonic peaks and valleys.

    Extra: 74

    The 4K UHD release of "Van Helsing" by Universal presents a somewhat familiar package for enthusiasts familiar with previous editions, bringing nothing new to the table in terms of bonus content. It upholds the legacy content with a dual-layer of audio commentaries featuring insights from director Stephen Sommers, editor/producer Bob Ducsay, and actors Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley, and Will Kemp. The bulk of the special features reside on the accompanying Blu-ray disc, mirroring the 2009 release. This includes a compelling suite of extras that dive deep into the making-of aspects, character explorations, and the intricacies of audio-visual effects that brought the film to life. Despite the lack of fresh extras, the inclusion of a UV digital copy provides a silver lining for digital collectors. Overall, while the package might feel familiar, it remains a comprehensive collection for fans.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Stephen Sommers and Bob Ducsay: Director and editor/producer offer their insights.
    • Audio Commentary with Richard Roxburgh, Shuler Hensley, and Will Kemp: Cast members share their experiences.
    • Van Helsing: The Story, The Life, The Legend: A deeper look into the film's lore.
    • Track the Adventure: A behind-the-scenes exploration.
    • Bringing the Monsters to Life: Insight into the film's special effects.
    • You Are in the Movie!: An immersive experience into the filming process.
    • The Music of Van Helsing: Discussing the film's score.
    • Bloopers: Light-hearted outtakes from production.
    • Dracula’s Lair Is Transformed: Understanding the set design.
    • The Masquerade Ball Scene Unmasked: Dissecting a pivotal scene.
    • The Art of Van Helsing: A showcase of the film’s artistic aspects.
    • Monster Eggs: Hidden easter eggs within the film.

    Movie: 44

    Universal's venture into enriching its catalogue with 4K UHD releases during September 2017 has brought a notable spotlight on films with darker thematic elements, including the ambitiously gothic "Van Helsing". Amongst titles like The Purge trilogy and Dracula Untold, "Van Helsing" stands as a significant test for the 4K UHD format's prowess in delivering nuanced shadow details and elevating the visual experience in films where darkness prevails. The results are commendably positive. Although none of the releases reach the pinnacle of reference quality, they exhibit a substantial mastery over the capabilities of the 4K UHD format, ensuring that even in the murkiest of scenes, viewers can discern the meticulous craftsmanship involved.

    "Van Helsing" in 4K UHD specifically illustrates how advanced technology can breathe new life into visually darker films, enhancing the viewing experience despite the inherent challenges of the genre. The transition to 4K UHD not only amplifies the depth and texture within each frame but also maximizes the impact of the visual effects, making the fantastical elements more immersive and believable. The film's ambitious visuals, from its shadow-laden landscapes to the intricate details of the characters’ costumes and weaponry, benefit significantly from the increased resolution and HDR enhancement, emphasizing the artistry and effort put into its creation.

    In essence, "Van Helsing" under the 4K UHD spotlight showcases a commendable leap in home cinema presentation for films that dwell in visual darkness. While it may not set a new standard for reference quality, it serves as a potent demonstration of how far the format can go in preserving the director's vision and enhancing the audience's engagement with visually challenging films. The upgrade from its original Blu-ray release to 4K UHD is a testament to Universal's dedication to embracing modern technology to redefine cinematic classics for contemporary audiences.

    Total: 49

    Van Helsing," while not ascending to the echelons of cinematic classics, firmly stands as a piece of entertainment catering to fans of Universal's iconic monsters and over-the-top action sequences. It threads a delicate balance between homage and pastiche, resulting in a film that requires little from its audience beyond the willingness to indulge in its high-octane, albeit cheesy, spectacle. The transition to 4K UHD does not disappoint; Universal Studios has meticulously upscaled the film to 4K with HDR enhancement, bringing new life to its gothic landscapes and intricate creature designs. The clarity and depth of the image noticeably enhance the viewing experience, adding a layer of visual immersion that complements the film's grandiose ambitions.

    Sonically, the DTS:X soundtrack is a marvel, offering an auditory experience as intense and dynamic as the film's visual spectacle. Every howl, whisper, and clash is rendered with such precision that it feels as though the action envelops the viewer, further immersing them into the gothic world of "Van Helsing." Despite the lack of new extras in this release, the package includes all previously released bonus content on the accompanying Blu-ray disc, ensuring that enthusiasts and newcomers alike have access to a wealth of behind-the-scenes material and insights into the film's production.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-ray of "Van Helsing" represents a significant upgrade over previous versions, offering both visual and auditory enhancements that elevate the film beyond its original release. While it may not convert the uninitiated, this release is a must-own for fans and collectors. The blend of improved technical specifications and comprehensive bonus features makes it a recommended addition to any home cinema library, particularly for those with a penchant for Universal's monster legacy and action-packed extravaganzas.