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The Wolfman (2010)

Review: written Jul 2010

The Wolfman (2010)

It's so refreshing to see an honest to goodness `traditional' horror movie... a remake of the classic Universal movie The Wolfman. There have clearly been some noble intentions here in recreating and updating one of the original classic Universal horror movies. The end result however, is fragmented, not quite delivering on all the promise, but still with some stunning visuals and a few highlights worth seeing.

It's a straightforward origins type story with few surprises. Benicio Del Toro plays the role with minimum histrionics, while still convincing, and Anthony Hopkins is always a must see, even when rehashing past efforts, coming across as a mixture of Zorro's Dad and Hannibal Lecter. Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving round out the cast, she as the love interest, and he as the dogged Scotland Yard detective. Weaving is probably the most fun element in a movie otherwise lacking in levity. Visuals are fantastic, echoing the gloomy long shadows and foreboding images seen in the best of early black and white horror. Where it comes apart though, is the second half, which is where the movie differs most from the story of the original. The efforts to update the story seem to have left the makers with too much story, and a need to shoehorn action setpiece after action setpiece, with not enough thread left to join them together, and the story presumably left somewhere on the cutting floor. Del Toro is reduced to running around with some too-busy camerawork trying to catch up with the story. It works ok, but you get the feeling this was a better film at some point between its screenplay and the editing room... perhaps a little less gore filled action, a soupcon of humour and a little more story in a shorter movie might have done the trick. And am I the only one that finds it a little odd to see all those dollars go into complicated computer graphics technology to update the wolfman, producing a cgi creature that looks - very much like the original guy in a suit..?

Critics have been unkind and it's perhaps not difficult to see why; the film begins to feel too incoherent , probably the result of having had a change in director in mid stream - and yet with a fun visual style, some actors well worth watching and a classic tale, it's actually quite entertaining in places and arguably worth a watch despite its flaws.

The Wolfman (2010)-01

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