PopEntertainment.com

It's all the entertainment you need!

 

FEATURE STORIES MOVIE REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS BOX SET REVIEWS TV SHOWS ON DVD CONTESTS CONCERT PHOTOS

 

 

  FEATURE STORIES
  INTERVIEWS A TO E
  INTERVIEWS F TO J
  INTERVIEWS K TO O
  INTERVIEWS P TO T
  INTERVIEWS U TO Z
  INTERVIEWS ACTORS
  INTERVIEWS ACTRESSES
  INTERVIEWS BOOKS
  INTERVIEWS DIRECTORS AND SCREENWRITERS
  INTERVIEWS MUSIC
  INTERVIEWS OSCAR NOMINEES
  INTERVIEWS THEATER
  IN MEMORIAM
  REVIEWS
  MOVIE REVIEWS
  MUSIC REVIEWS
  CONCERT REVIEWS
  BOX SET REPORT CARD
  TV SHOWS ON DVD
  MISCELLANEOUS STUFF & NONSENSE
  CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  CONTESTS
  LINKS
  MASTHEAD
  EMAIL US

"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Wolfman

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE WOLFMAN (2010)

Starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Cristina Contes, Geraldine Chaplin, Art Malik, Nicholas Day, Michael Cronin, Roger Frost, David Sterne, David Schofield, Rob Dixon, Clive Russell, Simon Merrells, Mario Marin-Borquez and Asa Butterfield.

Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker.

Directed by Joe Johnston.

Distributed by Universal Pictures.  103 minutes.  Rated R.

 

Everyday Beautiful

The Wolfman 

Joe Johnston's new version of the classic Universal horror pic The Wolfman is an odd contradiction.  It tries to capture the old-school spookiness of the Lon Chaney film - as well as other monster classics from the same era.  Then it ladles on buckets of blood and gore which would seem more comfortable in a Friday the 13th or a Hostel than in this stately period drama.

It ends up being an uncomfortable fit.  The Wolfman has its moments, but mostly it feels like an uncomfortable hybrid of styles - not quite succeeding on either side of its schizophrenic structure.  It is too violent and hyperactively gory and to work as a period drama, at the same time that it is too slow-moving, measured and passionless to work as a classy update of a slasher film.

In the end, it all seems pretty blah, which is a bad place for a horror film to be.

This disjointedness can't be called exactly surprising, though.  This movie was pushed back for over a year before getting its theatrical release and stories of behind the scenes fights and refiguring is almost always a danger sign. 

Therefore a film with such truly talented actors and Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving are stuck in a morass of very slow moving exposition periodically broken up by frenzied action sequences.  I mean, I suppose you can have an Oscar-caliber cast in a movie in which more than one character has his head literally ripped off his body, but it seems a waste somehow.

Of course, sadly, Del Toro is a major part of the problem.  He is majorly miscast here - and not just because he is almost impossible to buy as a British aristocrat.  (I'm sorry, the hint of a gypsy bloodline does not explain that little inconsistency away.)  Plus, a scene which dramatizes his life as a stage actor, which should be simple for most professionals, also turns out to be a failure.  Del Toro offers a performance of the famous "Alas, poor Yorick" soliloquy from Hamlet that is stilted and detached.

This sense of detachment follows Del Toro throughout the film, whether he is gazing upon his mutilated brother's corpse, starting a bar fight to protect his late mother's name, fighting off a crazed animal or even eventually becoming one himself.  The man is a fine actor, he has proven it before, but he is completely and utterly wrong for this part.

Hopkins brings much more life to his eccentric character of the family patriarch - in fact before the somewhat far-fetched (and yet strangely predictable) climax the old man was by far the most intriguing person on screen.

Other fine actors, particularly Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada and Young Victoria) and Hugo Weaving (The Lord of the Rings and Matrix trilogies) are given little to do as the chaste love interest and Scotland Yard Inspector Francis Aberline. 

Aberline in particular is an odd character - a very unsubtle reference to real-life Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Abberline, whose nickname was Francis.  In fact, at one point Del Toro's character chides Aberline for his handling of the Jack the Ripper case two years prior - which was Abberline's most famous case.  Are the filmmakers suggesting that the real Abberline was part of a fictional story?  Fair enough, I suppose.  But if so, why misspell his last name and use his nickname rather than his real first name?  On the other hand, if he is supposed to be a fictional character, make him a fictional character.  Give him a real made-up name and backstory.  I doubt there are that many people who are familiar with a long-dead lawman from over 100 years ago that this kind of game playing makes any real difference. 

It's this kind of heavy-handed storytelling technique which sabotages the whole enterprise.  The screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, who also wrote Tim Burton's similarly convoluted and over-the-top violent version of the legend of Sleepy Hollow, does not respect the source material enough to let it breathe and grow.  He feels an unhelpful and almost compulsive need to over-complicate everything but the bloodletting, which is quick and plentiful once it gets started.

Even the werewolf transformations, created by special effects guru Rick Baker, pale by comparison to Baker's 30-year-old work in a much better wolfman film, An American Werewolf in London.

However, perhaps I am being too hard on The Wolfman.  The new Wolfman does have its successful parts and some scenes are truly scary.  The problem is, the talent involved in the film had us expecting so much more than a periodically successful scare film.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 30, 2010.

RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS MENU

Technology Used by Successwful Businesses

125X125

Shop Aeropostale

Copyright ©2010  PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 30, 2010.

 

Enter Gotham City with Batman Costumes from Spirit Halloween! Protect or destroy the city as Batgirl, Robin, or the Joker. Shop now!