My favorite song is Werewolves of London. For Fasching one year, I made up a fictitious basketball team, The Wolves, with my own handcrafted, screen-printed Werewolf image and logo. I will debate which transformation scene is better, American Werewolf in London or The Howling anytime, anywhere, any day. My cheesy dream is to open a Werewolf-themed dive bar.
Needless to say, I was really excited to review The Wolfman. I also love Benicio Del Toro and the movie’s director, Joe Johnston. Joe Johnston – you’re kidding, right? No, I’m not, thanks. Jurassic Park III was experimental, weirdly paced, and had actors that the general public weren’t quite aware of at the time. And for that reason, I found it to be a bold and refreshing change from Jurassic Park II. It’s a movie that stands on its own within a series, and that is rare.
And after seeing it, I can tell you that this movie is an enjoyable mess. It’s cheesy gory too!
Lawrence Talbot returns to his hometown after the mysterious and vicious murder of his brother, Ben Talbot. Ben’s fiancee, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), is sad and living with Lawrence’s creepy eccentric Hannibal Lectoresque father, John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins). Lawrence is a quiet fellow, a lone wolf you might say since people have acted awkward around him since he got out of the mental asylum, where he was put by his father after seeing the death of his beautiful mum. Bad backstory haunts.
The townspeople are also scared because they knew Ben’s death was caused by some brutal creature. They arm themselves and start hanging out in the gypsy camp. Another attack happens, it’s really violent and gory, and Lawrence gets bitten. Abberline (Hugo Weaving) arrives in town to stop the beast, as everyone is pretty sure the beast is a werewolf. And then plot vomit spews all over the place and turns it into a mess.
The transformation scene was the thing I’ve been waiting for. Okay nerds — I’m 50/50: it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but there are times where it’s very Hulk-ish. The CGI in the bonebreaks, especially in the palate were impressive although the cheek changes were not, the hands: so so (the bone breaks were merely for show and not so much as anatomically were-correct), hair growth not impressive and fake-looking, elongation of the feet – normal and reminiscent but nowhere near perfection like Rick Baker’s Oscar-winning work in American Werewolf in London. The werewolf it its entirety: very kitschy and pretty close to the original. Not as CGI-ish as you’d think. I actually liked the costume and found it satisfying. There are a total of 3 transformations, and only one of them impressed me.
The only thing valuable in this film is Benicio del Toro. He’s a lot like Lon Chaney from the first: bulky, awkward, a little of that stupid rottweiler look, but incredibly handsome. The character of Larry Talbot, despite the changes to the plot and using his real name, Lawrence, is a little dopey but adorable, and this film keeps true.
The other characters are NOT believable, and the acting is horrendous, except for Hugo Weaving, who’ll be in the sequel. Emily Blunt disappointed me (Emily BLAH), and Anthony Hopkins crossed out some lines from previous movies, replaced them with words like “werewolf” and “regret”, and then Skyped in his performance.
If only this Wolfman stuck to the simplicity of the original and didn’t
jazz up the plot for the audience of the now, this would be a fairly
good movie. And I thought it was
“cool” in a way other mythical creature movies are not. However…
The ending is fucked up and far inferior to the original – far inferior. Like, break my heart sad. The ending in the original is really badass: Larry Talbot’s father beats him to death while he’s the werewolf – with Larry’s own silver-tipped anti-werewolf cane! It’s amazing that this ending is okay in 1941, but it’s stupid, super-heroey and watered down in 2010.
After the movie in the lobby, I overheard a group of people saying they’ve never seen the original. I prepared myself and watched the original a few weeks ago, and maybe that’s why I’m giving this film more slack than others. For example, I noticed that the scenery is reminiscent of the original in which
it looks like a set, the woods are sparse and foggy (dork!). There’s also a lot of talking and a lot of quiet. And dark green backdrops.
So if you’re like me and sometimes you can forgive directors for things like the horrible script (from Andrew Kevin Walker nonetheless) and watering down a plot for the retards in the audience, and if you appreciate experimentation in the Hollywood style of experimentation, and have an interest in the lead actor, then you may enjoy this. Because despite all the asinine stuff I’ve complained about, I will probably go see it again.