Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Non-Review: Wolfman

The Wolfman Movie Poster 22x34" February 12th, 2010 Benicio Del ToroI had mixed feelings about the remake of Universal's classic monster icon, The Wolfman. The original isn't sacrosanct to me like it is for some, but it is an enjoyable classic. The question to my mind was how they would handle it. The original brought a lot to the lycanthrope mythos, basically creating all the roots for current werewolf tales. So could the remake bring something new to the table?

The remake stars Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot, a man on a quest to find his brother who has disappeared. Anthony Hopkins plays his father, John Talbot, with a cold eeriness that stopped being a challenge to him decades ago. In the process of investigating, Lawrence gets his bite on. Plenty o' blood ensues.

The film has many things going for it. The cast is tremendously excellent. Emily Blunt especially, delivers here. It's been a good while since I've seen Benicio Del Toro in anything, and this is just reminder of how much I've missed him. The supporting cast is also strong with the likes of David Sterne and Hugo Weaving in the mix.

The look of the film is fantastic. The world is quite lovely. More Pan's Labyrinth than Sleepy Hollow. The washed out colors add the properly haunted environment one wants when watching people get torn to shreds. It's a more realistic world than the original version. This is was the intent, and I think it works well. Joe Johnston, the director floods the London scenes with a hazy atmosphere that is at once rich and grimy.

Ah, but I've been dancing around the main part. What of the story itself?

The movie has moments of brilliance, where it flows smoothly, and you get swept away. There are deviations from the original that are quite forgivable. The names are the same, just events and places have been changed to protect the innocent. The problem I had is that while it does run smoothly in places, it often runs into speed bumps along the way. It's as if certain scenes were written and then they tried to patch them together afterwards. This patchwork writing doesn't do it any favors. As a result the film tends to drag in places.

I'm willing to forgive this to a small amount. Who goes to see a werewolf movie for the writing? You want to see someone good, forced into killing many many people by a vicious infection\curse. On that score this movie delivers. It offers a horror that is very well imagined and excellently rendered. The movie has an obvious conclusion, that really shouldn't surprise anyone, though it did remind me of how much I loved the simple sting of the original.

So did it bring anything new to the table? No. Story wise there really isn't anything that will be remembered in a year from now. Does it tarnish the original? No, Lon Chaney's performance is forever gold. It's surprisingly respectful of its roots. And in the end it's a decent watch. A good way to spend a couple hours with a tub of popcorn in a crowded theater, that will jump at every noise. And that very much is in the spirit of the original.

7/10 out of 1


  1. Great review. I thought the trailers looked pretty good and the cast looked great. Glad it's worth a watch.

  2. Like you said, anything Anthony Hopkins does has a cold eeriness..

  3. Was I right about who is the original werewolf who killed the first guy and infected Benicio? Just nod your head lest you spoil it for anyone who has never seen a movie before.

  4. I'll be seeing it as soon as possible. The thing that always stuck with about the original is how "tortured" Lawrence Talbot was. Also, how he struggled with his dualality. I can't wait to see how Benicio Del Toro (whom I love) presents part to us.

    love your site!

  5. I'm sort of on the fence with this movie.... I guess this is another movie that I'll have to wait for on DVD....

  6. I'm waiting for DVD. For some reason, this is not catching my interest like it is with so many others I know. I can wait. Nice review though, TS.

  7. Me and Geof will be watching it together on the couch, I couldnt be bothered to see this one in theaters, the CG is an immediate turn off for me

  8. Oi... at this point I should probably remind you all that I did classify this as a 'Non' review, right in the title. For the record, I haven't seen the movie.

    This is a game I used to play with friends. I review a film without any idea of what it will be like and then later see how close I got.

    Personally I'll be waiting for DVD myself. If any of you do see it in theaters though, be sure to stop by and let me know how far off I was.

  9. LMAO, you got me back for PEDS. I thought you'd seen it and was going to ask if it was gory!

  10. The non-reviews are always very convincing. I think it's the specific details you pick out, like Emily Blunt being particularly good, that make it seem like a genuine, personal response to a viewing. Funny.

  11. I have yet to get through all of your posts. I like to get to know people and you are interesting to say the least. My question is, do you review horror movies, those are my favorites, and not the stupid blonde screams and runs from the bad guy, kill her. If so point me in the right direction. Thanks

  12. Awal, yes I do review horror, though it's more of a here and there thing. I like to pick on those a lot of the time for my more humorous reviews.


Related Posts with Thumbnails