Wednesday, February 17, 2010

THE WOLFMAN - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW




THE WOLFMAN – A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW

By: The Mad Hatter

THE WOLFMAN is a remake of the 1941 classic of the same name. It begins with an unseen monster ruthlessly kill a man in the woods. The man is Ben Talbot (Simon Merrells), and his death brings his brother Lawrence (Benicio del Toro) back home like the prodigal son. Lawrence needs to know how his brother died, especially after seeing the eccentric state of his father John (Anthony Hopkins) and the sorrow of his sister Gwen (Emily Blunt).

His search for the truth sends him to a gypsy camp. Moments before Lawrence can get answers, the camp is attacked (in pretty cool fashion, actually) by a primarily unseen beast. In an act of bravery, Lawrence saves a child and draws the beast, a werewolf, away. He is badly bitten on the neck but ultimately survives thanks to the gypsies. However before they bring him back to his father, they whisper among themselves about what they believe he will become.

Before long Lawrence is having nightmares. He’s also demanding Gwen leave for London, getting visited by a Scotland Yard inspector (Hugo Weaving), causing villagers to melt their silver spoons down into bullets, and getting an amazingly screwed up case of “father knows best,” all before the first full moon.

In case you didn't know, this movie was delayed like no tomorrow as the effects wizards tried to get the look of Wolfie just right. Well I don't know if they just threw in the towel or ran out of funding, but Fuzzy still doesn't look that hot. It's strange; nearly seventy years have gone by since Lon Chaney, and yet this wolfman doesn't look too much more believable. Hell, the werewolves in NEW MOON looked better than this creature who looks more like a hybrid of a gorilla and a sasquatch.

As if the effects weren't crummy enough, we get a cast who all must be feeling the credit crunch, since almost all of them do little more than look sad. They also look bewildered, constipated, or all of the above. Emily Blunt's accent changes with each scene which boggles the mind when one considers she's a Brit for starters. And then there's Anthony Hopkins doing his best Malcolm McDowell impression. I'm pretty darned sure this is his worst performance ever, and I'm the guy who saw INSTINCT. He's subscribed to the Walken School of Ignoring Punctuation, but unlike Saint Christopher, he can't pull it off.

There's some pretty darned good talent at work in THE WOLFMAN, but I have to believe that the highest paid of all of them was composer Danny Elfman. The only reason I can think of for his textbook scary movie score to be played so freakin' loud all movie long is that it cost the filmmakers so much to get him to do it. This is actually a pity because THE WOLFMAN did have a few good scenes, and unfortunately, all the tension is removed from them by the furious strings coming from the score.

Perhaps the only good thing that could come of the silliness that is THE WOLFMAN is that Hollywood might take it as a cue that movies that scared our grandparents are "ooga-boogas" from a bygone era and just don't adapt very well. Argue amongst yourselves on the merit of Coppola's DRACULA and Branagh's FRANKENSTEIN, but for me this is the final nail. It gave me a laugh here and there, and did provide one especially good kill, but none of that was enough to change my opinion that this movie is nothing but an immense waste of time and money.

-The MAD HATTER

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