Posted on: April 4th, 2010 REVIEW: The Wolfman
The Wolfman is a fairly decent flick, it won’t win any awards, or blow your doors off, but it is a nice 90 minute fun ride if you want to turn off your mind and see some guys get mangled…brutally!
Benicio Del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, an actor lured back to his ancestral homeland in England, upon learning of the grisly death of his brother. He reunites with his father (Anthony Hopkins), and his brothers betrothed (Emily Blunt *growl*), and vows to find out who, or what, killed his brother. SPOILER ALERT…it was a Wolfman. Talbot is bit while in pursuit of his brothers killer…and it all goes to hell for him from there.
Directed by Joe Johnston, The Wolfman is a dark and gloomy period piece with the right amount of gore to please those that crave guts, and a decent story to please those that want a good telling of the lycanthrope fable. Johnston has some pretty big titles under his belt as a director including Hidalgo, Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. He also received an Oscar award for his visual effects work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as being the art director of visual effects for Star Wars episodes IV, V and VI….it’s no surprise that The Wolfman looks as good as it does.
The set pieces are beautiful to look at, Talbot Manor is a sprawling expanse in the English countryside, reminiscent of The Shinings Overlook Hotel. The scenes filmed in the woods (of which there are many) are gothic and gloomy as they should be. Interiors are well set and look as they should for a period piece.
The performances by all the actors in the film are quite subtle, which is refreshing as with a story like this it would be quite easy for the actors to chew the scenery. Del Toro brings his brooding chemistry to the lead role and it works quite well. Hopkins plays the ‘grieving father who’s seen to much’ with a dignified air. And I quite enjoyed Hugo “Mrrrrrr. Anderson” Weavings take on the constable character, and he’s rocking some pretty good chops. Or is that ‘chomps”? HEY-OH!
Of course, none of us are watching The Wolfman for the acting, or scenery or cinematography. We’re watching to see a Wolfman kick the crap out of everything. Which we get. The film follows the standard monster movie guideline, first half of the film set-up story, small glances of monster. Second half of film, monster rips peoples heads off. And that’s okay with this reviewer. The transformation scenes are excellent, and the effects used work quite well within the film. I also liked how the transformations weren’t a long drawn out affair, they get to the point fairly quickly. The scene in the asylum, with Del Toro being the subject of doctor’s symposium on how the man has been cured is one of the stand-outs. We all know what’s going to come, and aren’t let down when we get there.
And the films climax is a fight between two Wolfmen amidst an inferno. Come on, at that point I took off the reviewer cap, but my beer helmet on and said “Hell yes, TWO Wolfmen dukeing it out….get it on!!”
It’s not the best piece of cinema I’ve seen. It does lag in some scenes, but that’s how a lot of movies of this type are. No one wants to watch Peter Parker sitting at a table talking to Aunt May, they want to see Spiderman kick ass and take names. It’s the same with The Wolfman. But it is a great way to shut the brain down for a bit and watch some great special effects punctuated by great performances. Oh, and it ends with TWO Wolfmen….that’s worth it right there!