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February 14, 2010
Review - " The Wolfman "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The Wolfman
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo

The Wolfman is this weekend's entry in the "Which Movie Can We
Remake Now?" contest. It's an update of the classic 1941 monster
movie, The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. This time around,
Benicio Del Toro is taking on the role of the title character,
unfortunately with not-so-great results.

The story takes place in late 19th-century Blackmoor, England, where,
after his brother has gone missing, Lawrence Talbot has been
summoned to return home by his brother's fiance, Gwen, to help find
him. Upon his arrival, he learns that his brother's mangled body had
been found days earlier, mutilated by some sort of wild animal or beast,
speculated by many to be a werewolf.

While investigating his brother's death at Gwen's request, Lawrence,
himself, has a run-in with the beast, leaving him badly wounded but
alive. After healing from the attack, Lawrence discovers that the beast's
bite came with a few side effects. Those side effects are especially
evident in the presence of a full moon. (Full moons seem to happen
more often than scientifically possible in this film, by the way.)

Some things worked for this film, and others didn't. I'll start with the bad
then work my way up.
The story, unfortunately, was bland at best. We were given very little reason to care about any of the characters, and the
pacing was terrible. Not to mention, the big twist could be seen from a mile away. In fact, it was so obvious that I almost feel
dirty even calling it a "twist".

In between the pretty decent action segments I found myself bored. At 2 hours long they could easily have cut out 20 to 30
boring minutes and made a bit more interesting standard 90 minute film. For some reason this film reminded me too much of
"And American Werewolf in London"

And I was very disappointed with the performances of both Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, which is surprising considering
both men are usually on top of their game. Emily Blunt did a decent enough job with the screen-time she was given, though.
And Hugo Weaving's limited role made all of his scenes the most watchable.

On the upside, the movie didn't hold back in the blood and gore department. I must admit, I expected it to be a watered-down
supposed-to-be-horror-turned-drama. I was pleasantly surprised by the numerous limbs and entrails that were ripped from
bodies. When the Wolfman goes on a rampage, believe me, he goes on a rampage. The set design and locations were
appropriately dark and creepy.

And I loved the fact that the Wolfman looked very
similar to the original 1941 version. Many people
may not agree with that assessment but, in my
eyes, it was a perfect homage to the original film.
And the transformation scenes were very well done.
Of course, it's always cool to see a person
transforming into some sort of beast right before
our eyes.

All in all, the film wasn't terrible, but it was far from
great. Cool special effects and makeup, excellent
production design, and blood and gore can't make
a film, but it can at least make a bad film watchable.
And that's exactly what we have with "The Wolfman".