I was instructed to watch League first, so I did. I've never read the graphic novel so can pass no judgement on the adaptation of it, but I will say that right from when I first heard about this movie I was annoyed by the character of Mina being a vampire. But enough of that. Onto the film.
It was quite entertaining; just brain-fluffy enough to be enjoyable without having to engage your thoughts too much. I think Dr Jekyll is probably my favourite character out of all of them. A lot of the questions I asked myself were answered (like why Mr Hyde was in Paris in the first place, as initially I assumed he was Quasimodo) and there didn't seem to be any more posed, though I probably wasn't paying that much attention. My concentration was shot to hell today for some reason.
Anyway. The Nautilus is the sexiest ship ever. Tom Sawyer wasn't as irritating as I was anticipating, though I think he should've at least had a southern accent; Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray was just smarmy enough to carry off the role, though he was far prettier when he was playing Lestat... I also thought Richard Roxburgh was quite good as M/Moriati, though the accent-changing irked me as being slightly clumsy.
Oh, yes. Blatant reference to Phantom with his character, too...
It was quite atmospheric, though the perpetual darkness got quite annoying after a while, and it's really not helping the reputation of the British summer. :P
Quite entertaining, however, and I'm glad I watched it before Van Helsing, because it made the latter a lot more interesting.
Van Helsing is a lot more than it seems. On the surface it's a monster-bounty-hunter adventure, but it's one of the most inter-referential things I've seen in a long time, right from the start...
It begins with a flashback to Dracula's castle, where Victor Frankenstein creates his monster/man (the significance of whom becomes more apparent later on) and is then killed by Dracula. It's the slashiest thing ever, incidentally. The monster takes his master to a nearby windmill (blatantly stolen from Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, I swear), which is descended upon by the trademark Angry Mob Bearing Torches, and burnt to the ground - when the absinthe contained therein is set alight - and then the vampire brides descend upon the crowd and chaos ensues. From what I remember. I'm a little sketchy...
Cutting back to 'present day', the eponymous Gabriel Van Helsing is a wanted man, storming through Notre Dame attempting to capture Mr Hyde, and for the first ten minutes or so it's pretty much the same movie as League. Ironically enough, Mr Hyde in this case sounds terrifyingly like Sean Connery... Mr Hyde/Dr Jekyll ends up dead and Van Helsing heads back to Vatican City to get his wrists slapped, and learn about his next mission - to kill Dracula.
I was told this movie referenced Farscape. I found three references at least, the first of which happened in the next sequence. Van Helsing's left-hand-man/sidekick, a friar whose name I've forgotten, tells him all about vampires and how to kill them, and provides him with various weapons with which to deploy them. Van Helsing asks him: "You've spent your whole life in the attic; how do you know about vampires?" The answer? "I read..." (Exactly what Pilot once said to John...)
We also learn about Anna Valerious, who has a connection to Dracula, and whose brother has recently been bitten by a werewolf. Van Helsing, naturally, meets Anna under seige from the vampire brides, one of whom is immediately dispatched with, and another of whom apparently knows Anna, though we never do find out how or why. The first fight sequence holds the next 'Scape reference, when Anna lands on Van Helsing and pins him to the floor with her knees, which is precisely how John first encountered Aeryn.
I won't spoil the rest of the plot, but it's decidedly epic and has a few twists. What I really want to talk about is the continued references throughout. For starters, Richard Roxburgh (again) is Dracula. And... okay. When did Richard Roxburgh get sexy? It's disturbing! This is the guy who played the smarmy, slimy, whiny Duke in Moulin Rouge! He's not supposed to be sexy! And yet, he is. I cannot explain it, especially as he's practically a cliché of Dracula, right down to the accent and the Lugosi-hairline, but he's got a presence that's unnerving... Weirdenss. But aside from that, there's even a visual reference to Moulin Rouge! during the ball sequence when Dracula is dancing with Anna, and she's wearing a red dress that's a near-perfect replica of the one Satine wears during her rendition of "One Day I'll Fly Away" and the "Elephant Love Medley" sequence. I'd like to think it's a coincidence, but I don't believe it is... :)
There's another 'Scape reference with Frankenstein's monster when Van Helsing and Anna first encounter him. He hits his head against the wall and the top and right hand side of his face split open; the right side in particular is emitting beams of light not dissimilar to Stark's face under his mask...
Finally, Van Helsing is played by Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine in X-Men... and Van Helsing actually becomes a werewolf himself in this. At one stage he even flashes his uber-sharp claws and makes a show of dragging them down a wall. If that's not a blatant reference to X-Men, I don't know what is...
Not to mention Kate Beckinsale in corsetry, given that she was also in Underworld... The exploding vampire 'children' were also reminiscent of Mars Attacks! with the green slime.
So: enjoyable, visually stunning, highly confusing with the sexiness,Victor Frankenstein/Dracula slash, and a ridiculous amount of references to other things. But since it's by the same team that brought us The Mummy, I really shouldn't be surprised. I've probably forgotten even more I was going to say about it, to be honest. Definitely worth watching.
So, yeah. Not exactly productive today, but at least I've crossed those two off my list. Will attempt to remember dream now.