Sunday, February 14, 2010
MOVIE REVIEWS: THE WOLFMAN
Universal Studios resurrects the classic lycanthrope with this tale of a man who experiences an unsettling transformation after he returns to his ancestral home in Victorian-era Great Britain and gets attacked by a rampaging werewolf. When Ben Talbot (Simon Merrels) vanishes into this air, his brother Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his family estate to investigate. Upon reuniting with his estranged father Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), however, he discovers a destiny far darker than his blackest nightmares. Ben is dead; the victim of a savage attack by a beast that keeps the superstitious locals cowering in fear every time the moon shines bright in the sky. Shortly after discovering his brother's true fate, Lawrence. swears to Ben's wife Gwen that he will bring her late husband's killer to justice. As a young boy, the untimely death of his mother caused Lawrence to grow up before his time. Though Lawrence had previously attempted to bury his pain in the past by leaving the quiet Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor behind, he discovers that you can't outrun fate when he's attacked by the very same nocturnal beast that claimed his brother. Not even recently arrived Scotland Yard inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) can dream up a rational explanation for the gruesome spell cast over Blackmoor, yet rumors of an ancient curse persist. According to legend, the afflicted will experience a horrific transformation by the light of the full moon. Now, the woman Talbot loves is in mortal danger, and in order to protect her he must venture into the moonlit woods and destroy the beast before it destroys her. But this isn't a typical hunt, because before the beast can be slain, a simple man will uncover a primal side of himself that he never knew existed. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker pens a film directed by Joe Johnston and featuring creature effects by special-effects makeup legend Rick Baker. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik.
Director: Joe Johnston
Release Date: Feb 12, 2010.
Rated R for bloody horror, violence and gore
Runtime: 2 hr. 5 min.
Genres: Action, Horror
More often than not, films that are beset with long production problem are destined to roll out as terrible films. Occasionally, a film will some how come together and find its way even with a myriad of trials and tribulations, Tombstone being one of the more recent examples that pop to mind. The Wolfman isn’t one of those films. Less its original director and after reshoots and delays, The Wolfman comes to the screen an unfocused mess. Joe Johnston took over the reigns after Mark Romanek walked off over creative differences. Johnston working in gothic horror is like watching a porcupine playing with a balloon. Johnson has no talent at building suspense or establishing characters as a result he drags down what is a fairly impressive cast. Benicio Del Toro gives what maybe be the stiffest most uninteresting performance of his career. He’s neither brooding nor conflicted instead he walks through scenes in an almost catatonic state only occasionally showing a glimmer of life. Anthony Hopkins crews scenery as readily as the Wolfman chews off appendages. In certain films Hopkins can be effective in this type of role but the script here is just a horrid unfocused hodgepodge that provides zero characterization. Emily Blunt is simply asked to look dour and speak in her natural British accent, nothing more nothing less. Hugo Weaving, like Hopkins, makes as much of an impression as possible but his effectiveness is severely limited as a result of the films massive flaws. Besides a bulldozer approach at direction from Johnston, whose over use of gore makes it more comic than scary, the script is wrought with issues. As mentioned the characters are all underwritten, the audience never has any idea what these characters motivations or connections are. This makes a film that is just over 2 hours long seem rushed but tedious at the same time. A major twist that could have been saved for the finale is just haphazardly thrown out in the open way too early in the game. The finale lacks any emotional bite and features a final battle that is funnier than it is dramatic. Kudos to Rick Baker’s practical effects which echo the work done in the original, sadly the CGI is mostly ineffective. Coupled with the fact that most of the outdoor scenes feel cheap and distinctly soundstagey this mess of a movie is neither enjoyable or scary.