The Wolfman, 2010 – Movie Review
Posted by LiveFor on February 12, 2010
Director: Joe Johnston
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving
This review by Richard Bodsworth.
It’s been a troubled run to get the iconic Wolfman character to the big screen. Initially written by Se7en scribe Andrew Kevin Walker for Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) to direct, it has gone through numerous rewrites since Romanek departed just days before principal photography. Jurassic Park 3 and soon to be Captain America helmer Joe Johnston stepped in, who did not have a smooth ride either, culminating in reshoots and delayed release dates.
After receiving a letter from his brothers’ fiancée Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) informing him of his death, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) returns home to his family home in the English village of Blackmore, where his father (Anthony Hopkins) awaits. As a creature terrorizes the town, Talbot realizes he must hunt the beast down…
The film begins well with a sharp, well executed build up to the inevitable transformation, and you would be forgiven for wondering why the reviews have been so harsh. The first glimpse of the beast savaging a gypsy camp is energetic and entertaining, but that sadly is where the film falls apart.
As transformable as the main character, the film flirts with ideas that you can only assume were a mish mash from the various writers and directors which gives it a horribly jagged tone. It feels as if darker scenes like the nightmarish visions and scenes inside a mental asylum are leftovers and they awkwardly try and battle against a more operatic, glossy mainstream vision. It is this uneven balance that is the pictures undoing. Yet with so many people involved during the writing the script remains slim, padded with pointless travelling scenes without even halfheartedly attempting to plug some irritating plotholes, as it meanders slowly towards an uninspiring ‘shirts v skins’ climax. The cast do little else than pick up their paychecks, Hopkins particularly, as he spends the majority mumbling like an incoherent alcoholic, but again the Keira Knightly thin script is at fault for this, offering nothing of substance to the one dimensional creations. Johnston’s admirably handled action sequences are boosted by the visual effects work of Rick Baker for The Wolfman character, del Toro could have easily have been mauled by rampant CGI but the make up effects look natural (well, as natural as a Lycan can) and nicely pay homage to the 40’s original.
However a few well handled set pieces do not make up for a dull script. Would be nice to see what either Romanek or Johnston would have come up with given full creative control, sadly we will never know and are left with this instantly forgettable shambles.
2/5 – Bit of a howler (sorry)