Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Wolfman (2010)

Directed by Joe Johnston.
2010. Rated R, 119 minutes (unrated director’s cut).
Benicio del Toro
Anthony Hopkins
Emily Blunt
Art Malik
Geraldine Chaplin
Nicholas Day
Simon Merrells
Michael Cronin

“Pop, since I’m the bigger man I’m willing to let bygones be bygones so that we can find my brother.” Essentially, this is what Lawrence Talbot (del Toro) says to his father upon his return home. Since this is the late 1800s Lawrence doesn’t have a cell phone or a car. He’s been traveling for days and isn’t quite ready for dad’s response. Basically, dad (Hopkins) says “Oh, didn’t ya hear? We found your brother’s body this morning.” A simple text reading “R.I.P. Simon” (Merrells) might’ve changed things dramatically.

Then again, that might not have changed things at all. You see, big bro decides to pay his respects and discovers what we knew all along, a werewolf has torn him to shreds. Going into a rather tame version of ‘I will avenge my brother’s death’ mode, he still visits all the old haunts where his younger sibling hung out. Despite being rich, little bro apparently was into gypsy chicks so Larry makes a beeline for there spot in the woods. Anyhoo, one thing leads to another and wouldn’t ya know it? Ol’ Lawrence almost gets separated from life by a werewolf, too.

If you’ve seen the 1941 original, then you’ll realize that to this point it is pretty much the same movie. However, there a few drastic difference which change it enough to make it stand, or fall, on its own. First, this one amps up Lawrence’s depression and tries to be real atmospheric. It uses a look and tone that’s far too dreary to come off as anything other than faux angst. I call this “the Twilight factor.” Next, we witness a greater number of transformations and werewolf attacks. Both are in terrifically graphic detail. This was expected but still works very much in its favor. Finally, instead of the self torment that put himself through in the older movie, we get kind of a Vader/Skywalker thing going on. It works okay but not as good as what we had.

Out of all this we get a decent, though not completely unexpected twist. That’s not completely unexpected as in we can see it coming a mile away. Still, it’s well played, dramatically speaking. Aesthetically, it comes off kind of hokey, mostly because of who’s involved. That said, this film is not the bane of society some have claimed it to be. It’s actually not that bad of an update.

Even though I thought it was okay I can’t help but think that it would’ve so much more goofy fun if it were set in the present. I can just imagine his public transformation taking place in Target or Wal-Mart and some teenage girl hiding behind the jewelry counter texting “sum freeks 5 oclock shad gone wild lol!” TTYL.

The Opposite View: Annlee Ellingson, Moving Pictures Magazine

What the Internet Says: 6.1/10 on (7/21/10), 33% on, 43/100 on

MY SCORE: 6/10

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