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The Wolfman

Director Joe Johnston's 2010 remake of the classic Universal horror film.

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All HOWL and VERY Little BITE!

  • Feb 13, 2010
Rating:
+2

There is no question that the original 1941 film “Wolfman” was a classic so I would not even try to compare director Joe Johnston’s 2010 remake titled “The Wolfman”. I’ve read that the film had suffered many re-shoots and heavy editing, actually the movie had been pushed back to different release dates before it settled in on one. The film is a fractured stab at the classic horror film, it has so much style that gave it potential, yet the storytelling proves to be so clumsy that it verges so closely to becoming incoherent.
 
After his brother Ben had been brutally murdered, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his family estate of Blackmoor to try and discover the identity of the killer. He reunites with his father Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) and comforts Gwen (Emily Blunt) his brother’s fiancé. Wandering into the woods trying to find some clues, Lawrence is attacked by a mysterious beast and is badly wounded. Thankfully a group of gypsies tends to his wounds and he survives. Now because of the beast’s bite, Lawrence finds himself cursed to turn into a half-man, half-wolf creature whenever the moon is full. A inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) is summoned to investigate the events in the small village who later suspects that Lawrence is the one responsible for all the murders and mayhem that pile up. Now, Lawrence must find the mystery of the curse, his brother’s murder and the longtime murder of his mother; all the while trying to contain the savagery that dwells within him. A beast that can only be contained by love or a silver bullet…

                      A scene from "The Wolfman."

                                                   A scene from "The Wolfman."
 
“The Wolfman” has very simple plot elements: a curse, an unfulfilled love, familial devotion, a beast and its mystery, and the pursuit of the beast. The premise of the film is very simple, and quite frankly the overlords of Hollywood shouldn’t have messed up the film’s formula. I guess we can leave it to the big-shots of Hollywood to try and get involved in a film’s making with stupid decisions and idiotic ideas to mess up a simple formula with stylized fast-paced screenplay and clumsy development of the story.
 
The narrative of “The Wolfman” is very messy and lacks a certain rhythm to its sequences. The film feels rather episodic and the scenes are jumbled. I am not sure, but I almost felt like I was watching a music video than an actual full-length motion picture. The screenplay appears a little too rushed, hurried to cover the key scenes than letting the viewer take in the potential mood; it never lets the viewer get hold of the story’s emotions. It felt like it was merely touching upon its narrative rather than actually telling a story; the film is barely coherent, and loses the brutal duality of man and wolf, it touches upon the idea but misses it by a mile. Lawrence should have been portrayed as a man imprisoned by a beast inside, who is afraid of the damage that he may do if left to roam free. Unfortunately the hurried approach of the film’s direction makes the movie very hollow and empty. Not that the plot doesn’t have its complexities, but it was needlessly stretched to the point of annoyance because of its poorly laid out screenplay and cheap editing tricks. 

                   A scene from "The Wolfman."

                           A scene from "The Wolfman."

                                              Emily Blunt in "The Wolfman."
 
Instead, the film relies on its visuals to try and salvage itself from dismal failure. Well, the movie is very handsome and the visuals are almost reminiscent of a Tim Burton production. The manner with which the movie is shot is full of gothic atmosphere and stylized mood. I did like the transformation sequences, I thought the CGI-assisted effects were nicely done (but a little inconsistent). The film also has some visceral touches of blood and gore, that is filled with limb slashing power and bloody carnage. The scenes of violence were ok and the wolf scenes are reminiscent of other werewolf movies but the editing is just so messy that I never felt the effects of the scenes by squandering the potential emotions. Shadows and the effects of moonlight were also utilized to exhibit the movie’s mood and tone. Yes, the movie does feel like a period film; the set designs and costumes were all done with meticulously, I really did feel like I was taken to England’s past. 

 Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in "The Wolfman." 
                   
While Benicio Del Toro was obviously miscast in the role of Talbot, Anthony Hopkins is right at home as Sir John Talbot. Hopkins has a flair for roles such as this and makes me feel nostalgic of his Hannibal Lecter character. Emily Blunt was decent as the film’s damsel in distress, and Hugo Weaving makes for a good Inspector Aberline who also supposedly handled the “Ripper” cases. The romance between Lawrence and Gwen felt a little too forced and lacked believability.
 
I am not certain whether this movie is a horror or an action film, it didn’t achieve scares because of its rushed screenplay and heavy editing and it doesn’t linger enough to fully make one marvel at the action. The film was merely sprinting from scene to scene and picks up whatever plot detail as it goes without developing each one. The gypsy subplot is touched upon but doesn’t make any impact to its narrative; they were just shown and then hidden under the carpet. “The Wolfman” appears to have been chopped to pieces and reattached together to make up for a full-length feature film. It may appeal to the least meticulous audience but cinema fans had better stay away. 2010’s “The Wolfman” is a missed opportunity despite its potentials for a truly entertaining monster feature and feels rather empty even for a loud spooky howl. AAhh-wwwooooooo!!!!!!
 
RENTAL [2 ½ Stars]

HYPE Level: Extremely Undeserved HYPE

This review is a Lunch.com Exclusive
 
 
 
2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE! 2 ½ Stars: All HOWL and VERY Little BITE!

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March 19, 2013
I actually like this the more I watch it, great review WP although I swear I read this before and rated/commented on it.
March 20, 2013
did you see my latest reviews? one of them is a review for a movie made by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) his latest made in H-wood
 
February 22, 2011
Wonderful review as usual i totally agree with you on the point of weak storyline! It got a little bit confusing there in the middle and some of that confusion was never explained. i was apparently a little more impressed witth thr film as a whole than you though this may be due to my weakness for outright gore....wich this movie had in abundance lol. And im sure you will be pleased to know that it took me (half of) seveeeeeeen daysssss to finish this whole movie i was plauged by irritating inturruptions all weekend long!
March 20, 2013
how are you Megan?
 
March 19, 2010
Nice review on the film, William! You hit a lot of key points as far as where the film lacked in story and depth. I especially loved all the images you found for your review. I had a bit more trouble picking some out for mine, but I'm operating on little sleep at the moment. (laughs)
 
February 16, 2010
Very, very interesting review, William. First I must apologize for the delay, we had but another blizzard up here. I was without a net for a few days. Now, as far the film goes, thank you for a very honest review my man. I'm so impressed with your ability to separate the facts from the hype. It seems like everyone is talking this one up but your word is bond as far as I'm concerned. Keep it up my man!
February 16, 2010
No worries, Jason. I hope the blizzard wasn't too rough. I know some people may enjoy this movie but it just wasn't impressive enough for me. After all, it is all about  "To Believe or NOT To Believe...THE HYPE!'
 
February 13, 2010
I think part of the reason they may have actually thrown in stupid and idiotic ideas actually has a lot to do with the movie going public as well.  I didn't expect Wolfman to be all that great, but I did expect some stupid ideas and whatnot because people complain way too much about Hollywood being too simple and formulaic so of course they'd try to spice up a movie... it's just they don't realize when spicing something up is good and when it isn't.

The other thing about this that's odd is that they're trying very hard to ride the coat tails of New Moon on this one (on Valentine's Weekend?), since that film gave a boost to the Werewolf fixation as well it seems like the executives over there are trying their damn hardest to capitialize off of the popularity of the Vampire (Transylmania for that one... but I heard that one was so bad Michael Bay looks like a prestigious Film maker) and now this one.  

So I'm holding off on this one.  I'm not sure what I'll see Valentine's Day Weekend.... maybe Valentine's Day but that'll only be worth seeing this weekend and not others.
February 13, 2010
Hey, Sean. Yeh, I figured that the filmmakers would have to spice things up but its simplicity was really messed up by the bad editing and screenplay. I almost feel like they chopped the flick apart, rearranged the sequences and then tried to put it back together. I felt like I was watching a music video. I highly doubt it was all the director's fault and I am almost certain that money-men wanted the flick aimed at mainstream tastes. I do hope it has a director's cut.

I know, I am guessing that they added more of the 'love bit' to capitalize on its release date and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it wasn't originally intended. I am pretty sure that you will notice the same things I have, I'm trying to avoid spoilers so I cannot really point out its editing mistakes but we can discuss them all after you've seen the movie.

Too much wasted potential.
February 15, 2010
Sorry, Scot, If this is a 5 star flick then Twilight is a 4.
February 15, 2010
LOL! I may see New Moon just to see how bad it was. Not to worry, I can see how some can appreciate this flick, but it just didn't do it for me. It is a bad sign when I kept looking at my watch... ;-P
February 15, 2010
I wasn't trying to compare, but they really are trying to capitialize off the resurgance of this stuff suddenly becoming popular again.  They run in cycles.
February 15, 2010
yeh, Scot, who compared this to Meyer's garbage? once again, you are getting emotional because you liked it while I didn't. ;-P
 
February 13, 2010
I could tell from the trailer that this was gonna be a stinker. I wonder why they always cast people who could NEVER be the elder Talbot's son in that role? First the hulking Chaney and now the very latino Del Toro. What gives? I liked the casting at first, but Anthony Hopkins as dear old Dad?
February 13, 2010
I know what you mean. I know the cast has great talent but somehow, somewhere, despite the decent performances, the characters didn't feel right. Hopkins was acting like his dear old Lecter self...hey, a movie about SECRETARIAT?
February 13, 2010
Last time I looked the were filming and that was months ago. The Count and I had some spirited discussions over some photos he sent me which were obviously NOT Secretariat--the blaze was all wrong, the stockings didn't match up etc. I was going to use was as my profile picture for a while there but changed my mind.
February 13, 2010
really? I hope that it turns out to be at least as decent as Seabiscuit. I do like movies about animals. What's your fave anyhoo?
February 13, 2010
NEVER CRY WOLF, THE BLACK STALLION, and DUMAS. Oddly enough they're all by the same guy. There wasn't really enough drama in the lives of the people around Secretariat for a good film, and there was no big dramatic big build up or any doubt abaout how the races wre going to go either. He was retired to stud at the end of his 3 year old season.
February 15, 2010
Well at least they go to the trouble of explaining it for a change!
February 15, 2010
She looked Latina but I don't remember the script explaining that she was from Spain.
February 15, 2010
Well if she at least looked the part that's a beginning!
February 18, 2010
Scot...you are reviewing a movie aren't you? that's been said...so how come you underanalyze and just cheer for Hollywood?! LOL You haven't justified your rating so far. ;-P
February 18, 2010
I guess his heavy accent can be explained away as genetic too. Or maybe he picked it up in America. =) Where's your hype meter on this one?
February 18, 2010
the hype level is below. The meter will hopefully be introduced after the launch.
February 18, 2010
Oh I see. I was looking for something a little more graphic.
February 19, 2010
it will be hopefully. I have quite a few ideas that need to be in the community.
February 20, 2010
One that I wish they'd implement is making it possible to reply to a specific person when you've got a number of people replying in a string. so that your comment notice would go to them instead of to the last person on the list. Sometimes this option is available but most of the time it isn't.
 
February 13, 2010
Thanks for the great review! I was planning on going to see this movie tomorrow and now I know what I can expect ;)
February 13, 2010
Thank you for the read, Melissa! Just keep your expectations extra low, I didn't like it but maybe you may at least have fun with it...
 
February 13, 2010
Damn it. I was afraid of this. The film has a great cast, cool effects, and wonderful source material, but the film was doomed by its hack of a director. I can't wait to see how he ruins "Captain America".
February 13, 2010
from what I've read, Disney had already nitched the idea of the holocaust in the upcoming Capt. America flick. No more concentration camps and mass murder...it is all about family movies now. As for Thor, no more wenches and sex for Godly favors. That's Disney for yah...Iron Man 2 is the last Marvel production.
February 13, 2010
I told everyone that Disney buying Marvel was going to fuck it all to hell. Nobody believed me though. So much for the Marvel Knights. I'm officially switching over to a DC / Vertigo fan.
February 13, 2010
I'm thinking more old school DC from the late '60s up through the '80s.
February 13, 2010
I dunno, BLACKEST NIGHT is just another unnecessary money-grab for me. Not impressed with the storyline.
February 13, 2010
I don't think I'm familiar with the storyline even.
February 13, 2010
They're even going to screw up the Secretariat film. You'd think they could make a decent flick about a horse!
February 13, 2010
really? they're making a flick about SECRETARIAT? I hope it to be at least as decent as SEABISCUIT.
February 15, 2010
I have mixed feelings about this movie as I was not grabbed by all the hype like a lot of people and I really was not impressed with the casting, but I wanted to mention a couple things in this comment stream. I had not heard the the Holocaust was being axed from Captain America... Sad indeed. I remember the comic cover with Captain America punching Hitler. Also, Vertigo seems to have a solid line of comics, and I await to see more movie productions. I saw a trailer for The Losers (by Vertigo) last night at Edge of Darkness, which I was at least temporarily excited about. Having not read the originals I am looking into those as I type.
February 16, 2010
I can't wait for a film based on Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" books. I keep hearing rumors about a possible script or director, but then it turns out that there's no truth behind them. Last one I heard had Tim Burton helming it and Johnny Depp starring, but that was before "Alice in Wonderland", so that doesn't seem likely. I'd also heard that Alex Proyas might be interested in it, but his last few films were so mediocre that I hope it's not true.
 
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More The Wolfman reviews
review by . March 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Embrace Your Inner Monster
   This movie was quite a surprise. I've never seen the original 1941 film, so I had no idea what to expect. I certainly never imagined what the film actually turned out to be--a confusing story and plot that relied too heavily on CGI affects to cover glaring gaps. I don't expect horror films to make perfect, logical sense. I prepare myself for the plot holes and actually enjoy exclaiming over the fact that there's no way the murderer could have moved that fast to kill the …
review by . December 24, 2010
 can see what Hollywood was trying to go for with this movie. Namely, a modern attempt to recreate the style of classic 1930's monster movies. Their first effort at it is The Wolfman, and they definitely pull that off in most ways. Benicio Del Toro does a fantastic job in the lead role, and Anthony Hopkins is naturally such a good actor that he can bring perfection to any role that he assumes. Lush, victorian-style visuals combined with bloody gritty violence also work quite well surprisingly.   …
review by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I saw the Wolfman earlier in the year when it came to theaters with my kid and again recently with my wife on On Demand and thoroughly enjoyed myself each time. I have gotten kind of tired of these stupid, hipstery, over-stylized "horror" movies with werewolves that simply turn into giant dogs and fight people or vampires or whatever. This was a throwback to what the wolfman really is, a cursed man who turns into a half man half wolf during the full moon. This movie had the classic look …
review by . February 12, 2010
Pretty Tame for a Beast
 THE WOLFMAN Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self   Directed by Joe Johnston   Starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving   Sir John Talbot: Never look back, son.  The past is a wilderness of horror.   Theoretically, I would welcome any monster movie these days that wasn’t about vampires and that also wasn’t geared towards teenage girls.  When that alternative is THE WOLFMAN though, a remake …
review by . August 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is an interesting new take on the werewolf genre. The movie takes place in the late nineteenth century England, and at the center of the story is a family that has been torn apart by inter-generational feuds between father and his two sons. The setting of the Victorian England is richly mined for its visual backdrop, and this is one of the more appealing features of this movie. The werewolf CG effects are very well done, but they are nothing spectacular. In fact, the CG-generated werewolves …
review by . May 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Legend is reborn......
Horror, a genre that has terrified millions for the better part of 114 years this fabled genre took its first leap in 1896  with Georges Méliès'  "Le Manoir du diable"(The House of the Devil) which is cited as the very  first horror film. another more influential  film that is now lost to time is  Paul Wegener's "The Golem"(1915) taken from an ancient Jewish legend, Than there came  Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" …
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
As is often the case with remakes of classic films,The Wolfman just doesn't live up to the original. While the film boasts an impressive cast, all of whom give strong performances, the story sinks beneath the number of uninspired action scenes and the overuse of special effects. Having said that, this is the first time in a mainstream American film where I've seen realistic werewolf carnage, which was rather fun. LOL! Luckily, the cast takes their roles seriously despite the poorly written …
review by . March 01, 2010
It was Saturday night, on a movie and dinner date with my wife with the kids at home with the babysitter. We went to see The Wolfman, with a quick Thai dinner to follow.      The Wolfman is the perfect kind of a movie for a night out like this. Nothing too out of the ordinary, a fairly predictable plot, and an old fashioned horror movie which reminded me of those old time Hammer horror movies I used to watch as a teenager. Imagine those old movies, but remade with modern effects …
Quick Tip by . October 30, 2010
I loved how they pulled up an old school feel to this movie.
Quick Tip by . August 01, 2010
I just saw this film as a rental this evening; my view was it had spooky scenery, some good visual effects, and I thought the werewolf was one creepy-ass creature, although there were not enough of the wolf scenes to really satisfy me. Lots of conversation in it, although most of it was pertinent to the story...more gory scenes would have made it better.
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman, is lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father, Talbot sets out to find his brother... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline has come to investigate.
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Details

Director: Joe Johnston
Genre: Horror
Release Date: Febuary 12th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Stuber Productions
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