Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, Dad, it Didn't Pass Me By. It Landed on My Face!

The Wolfman

Release: 02.12.10
Rated R
1 hour, 42 minutes

Second Run Seats

American actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro, Big Top Pee-wee) receives a letter from his brother's
fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria), urging him to return home and aid in the search for his missing brother. Lawrence returns to the Talbot estate in Blackmoor, England only to learn from his father Sir John (Anthony Hopkins, Dracula) that Ben's no longer missing; what's left of his body is on ice in town.

Lawrence goes snooping in the woods and finds himself on the receiving end of a werewolf's maw. During the month of his miraculous recovery, Lawrence grows closer to Gwen and farther from dear ol' dad. The townsfolk and Scotland Yard detective, Abberline (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix), start sniffing around Lawrence and his suspicious recovery until the full moon, and the beast within, come forth to put them all in check.

One word sprang to mind after watching Wolfman: elementary. It's not terrible, it's not outstanding, it's elementary. The direction goes through its paces; the story progresses, but lacks a compelling spark. A scene begins, the actors play their parts and you can almost feel them look around as they wait for the director to yell cut. I can't help but wonder if it was the intention of director Joe Johnston (Hidalgo) to give Wolfman an old-school vibe akin to the 1941 original.

The broad strokes of the plot are established in the reunion between Lawrence and Sir John. Their wardrobe, their placement in the scene, and even their interaction with Sampson the dog, telegraphs ninety percent of the events yet to unfold. It just makes wading through the next eighty minutes duller than it should have been.

Dirty Undies
After such a somber beginning, it's nice to see folks ripped to shreds by the beast around the twenty-minute mark. Wolfman flexes its fangs with three more bloody disembowlings; the second is my personal favorite, the third suffers from shoddy CGI, and the big balls-out battle is disappointing. Given the late 1800's time period Gwen and Lawrence's budding romance remains chaste, though the dog in him does dream of a sexy side boob.

The Money Shot
I'm not saying Wolfman isn't good. It's apparent the director and writers deliberated over the details. Maybe a more modern setting for the subject matter or less concentration on making an homage would have raised this adequate film to exceptional. As it is, it's a good enough werewolf flick until a better one emerges.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. I was mad when I left the theater after seeing this. I also wanted my money back.

    I found it to be super predictable after 20 minutes & disjointed thought out.

    I was very let down after being hyped up to see it.

    This film is at the top of my worst movies of 2010 list big time.

  2. You're one of the first people I've read that say that Wolfman isn't necessarily "bad," which is great for me because despite all the terrible reviews there's still something about it that makes me want to see it. Maybe it's Benicio. Maybe it's that transformation. I don't know.

  3. This film had a troubled production history. I am surprised it was good at all.

  4. @Tafari: The predictability was pretty bad. It was a letdown, and I'm sure as I watch more and more 2010 release this will fall farther down my list. Luckily I can always count on some no talent, piss-poor horror movie to spare this from being the worst I'll see this year.

    @whitney: I've seen some terrible movies in my time, and the acting spares it from being absolutely terrible. B/c of its predictability and dull moments I wouldn't advise paying a whole lot to see it.

    @film-book: I can't believe they dumped a $150mil into it and this was the best they could do. I shouldn't be surprised, seems like many remake/re-imagining movies get tons of money dumped in them to produce a weaker version.

  5. The film had the ingredients to be great and that final confrontation in the burning house was badass.

  6. The final fight was nice and violent. Watching the Wolfman shred all those hunters was cool too, esp when he ripped that guy's arm off.

  7. I will be seeing the film again just for that final fight scene.

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  9. at least you guys made it through the whole thing; 25 minutes and i was outta there! just horrible---benecio was all wrong for that part

  10. @IW: I love looking at Emily Blunt too much to have gotten up and left. How sad is that? The things I watch for lovely ladies?

    It'd been nice to have a more charismatic Wolf-Man. When you look and act creepy before you've even been bitten, how can we be sympathetic?