In this latest film manifestation of the werewolf legend, it’s the 1800s and Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his home on the moors to search for his missing brother at the behest of said brother’s fiancee Gwen (Emily Blunt) and ends up suffering from lycanthropy and Daddy (Anthony Hopkins) Doesn’t Love Me Syndrome.
Lycanthropy, in folklore, is a physical transformation that occurs during the full moon, usually after receiving a bite from a werewolf. Though Wolfman was indeed bitten, its condition unfortunately did not cause it to turn into a good movie. Lackluster and kind of lame rather than frightening, it should be locked up and forgotten about lest it part more people from their money like its main character parts people’s heads from their bodies (i.e. forcefully).
The Wolfman could be more accurately called The Wolfmen since there are several werewolves involved in this movie. To tell you who they are would be giving too much away, but suffice it to say that there are a lot of shots of claws, puddled intestines, and blood splatter. So much, in fact, that it seems like this movie couldn’t decide whether it was going to go the camp route or the serious one.
At the risk of sounding like a serial killer, after a while intestines are just funny.
On the one hand we’ve got Benicio Del Toro (who, with his American/Spanish accent, seems mistakenly cast considering this is a British period movie) hamming it up like he’s spoofing his own character in a Mad TV sketch…
“Dear God, what have I done” and all that
…and on the other hand there’s Emily Blunt, emoting with all the gravity of one who is expecting an Oscar nomination.
“All this is so dreadfully dreadful… whatever shall I do?” weep!
Hugo Weaving (here playing a Scotland Yard inspector who can only be described as the greatgreatgreatgreatgrandsomething of his character from The Matrix), is alternately serious and over the top.
“Hello Mr.Anderso–I mean Talbot.”
Meanwhile Anthony Hopkins just rolls with the punches as his character’s personality does a complete 180 about halfway through the film.
“You see, all this time my scruffy hobo beard was masking my evilness!”
The result is a seriously schizophrenic tone.
The story is kind of all over the place too, but the good(ish) news is that you won’t care enough about any of the characters for it to bother you. You can just sit back and watch claws pop through people’s eye sockets without being really worried about how it’s all going to end. But even that gets pretty cliched. They included the obligatory “mother and crying child trying to find each other during a battle” scene and I lost track of how many times someone was slammed suddenly out of frame during a lull in the score. It all becomes so predictable.
Good thing, too, because the ending is more of the same. They beat around the bush about the brother’s fiancee going to the gypsies for help to “save” Lawrence, which apparently only she can do, but when we get to it, it’s like “really? THIS is your super-secret plan? Anyone could have done that!” Anticlimactic, much?
“Okay, hide behind the tree, pant loudly, and turn slowly around…. EEEEEEEK!”
Why does she want to save him, you ask? Well, because in the approximately two weeks since her fiancee went missing and turned up dead and savaged, she fell in love with him! Of course she did! And believe me, you won’t feel it at all. Lawrence shows all the love for her you’d expect from a robot… and not a very advanced one at that. It’s like that subplot was just in there as a way to kill time in between intestine splatterings.
GWEN: Oh Lawrence, you really must take better care of yourself.
LAWRENCE: Beep Boop.
Now, the movie does have its moments. There are some Nazi-esque scenes at an insane asylum that were particularly disturbing…
I think someone was reading a book on “Dr.” Mengele while writing this
…and a hilarious moment involving Lawrence transforming in the middle of a scientific lecture. I wasn’t expecting it to detour from the moors to central London. It’s the equivalent of that time in the Jurassic Park series when they had the dinosaurs show up in Los Angeles: retarded but cool.
Next on The Wolfman, hairy Lawrence takes an omnibus over the Tower Bridge.
And the historical accuracy, as far as I can tell, was pretty good. They spent some serious money on this. Unfortunately no matter how much money you spend on the effects, you can never make a half man half wolf look anything other than stupid.
Rrrrrrg! Fear me, for I am gorilla man!
It’s just a furry, clawy man. As much as I hate to compliment the Twilight series, I think they made the right call in having their werewolves turn into full-on wolfs rather than hybrids. At least wolves can be different colors. To tell the fighting werewolves apart in this movie, they had to make one of them rip his shirt off like an hairy, angry Hulk Hogan.
The wolf had that look on his face, too
But, this movie isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen. The worst part about it was the people I had to see it with. No, not you Panda and Pickles, I’m talking about those guys behind us who wouldn’t shut up and kept coming and going. Who pays $11 to sit in a dark room and NOT watch a movie? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to stay home? Or sit in the car for 2 hours?
“OMG, this is SO much better. I can play apps on my iPhone and no one will yell at me!”