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Laurence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is a famous American actor, he moved to America as a child after witnessing his mother's alleged suicide. After spending his life trying to forget this horrible memory, he receives a letter from his brothers fiancé, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) who asks him to come home to England to help her find his brother, in doing so he discovers his brother has been brutally killed and sets out to find the murderer. On return home he is reunited with the estranged father (Anthony Hopkins) who originally sent him away.
As Laurence searches for answers he learns of a wolf man, a man with wolf like powers who gypsies and locals believe is cursed to roam the moors killing anything it means on full moon nights, unfortunately in searching for this brutal beast he finds it a lot closer to home than he could ever have imagined.
My partner bought this as she is mad about anything to do with werewolves and vampires. This is essentially a remake of the Lou Chaney original but brought to the screen with modern effects. Unfortunately I haven't seen the original so can't comment on that, but this film was somewhat disappointing on every level, I had seen the hype, the trailers and read the interviews, but for a big budget film this feels decidedly cheap.
To start with any film that begins with a letter setting out the main plot definitions is an easy out, following this the idea of Benicio Del Toro being American when his family is British is explained but without much substance, I get that he had a traumatic event in his life and left home as a boy, but why America, how did he become a famous actor, the complexities of the characters aren't really examined here and we are left with two dimensional shells reading piffy dialogue.
Del Toro is fine as the hero/villain of the piece, he has the looks to emanate a mix of pathos, confusion and menace at all times and the acting ability to cover some of the vaguities of his character development, Emily Blunt is seriously underused as Gwen and her characters development is unfathomable and unexplained, finally Anthony Hopkins as the father seems to be enjoying himself, but can add this hammy performance to his Van Helsing in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula as a failed experiment in crazy, his welsh accent is good, but his demeanour is always two steps away from being a caricature, he gazes loopily takes little interest in the destruction around him and actually seems to enjoy it, whilst this could be the basis for an amazing character the lack of any definable character development means that all we see are these odd moments and nothing to really explain them.
The plot is easy and seems a bit rushed, it is really just 3 or 4 set pieces as a policeman seeks to find the wolf man killing villagers, the wolf is convincing enough, rushing around like the hulk with ripped clothes remaining attached, but even the action is simply the wolf rushing about killing people until the inevitable conclusion.
I would have liked to have liked this film, I like Guillermo Del Toro and his films, but on all levels I felt this was found wanting. The dialogue is forced and stilted, it tries to cover the period but isn't a patch on the visual scenery and is diverting in a faintly ridiculous way.
The set and the period settings are excellent and create the shell for something spectacular but they are the best part of this film, too much reliance is put on CGI which rarely works in big films, the big chunky wolfman moves freely and it just doesn't fit, also the killings are gratuitous and never offer a moment of suspense.
My final issue was that there appeared to be two explanations for the origins of the wolf man, one was a curse, the other was traced to a boy in India, the second explanation was much more satisfying but not really explored.
As with much of the film, it is worth putting your brain on hold and letting this just wash over you, its not memorable or particularly clever, but it is expensive and perhaps a lesson to film makers in why its sometimes best to leave decent films on the reel and come up with new ideas.
We bought this as part of a 2 for £10 offer in HMV and I have to say I think £5 is overpriced, it's a forgettable film, there was no reason to watch the extras on the dvd as the film was so dull it would be churlish to want to understand how this was made.
After the sudden disappearance of his estranged brother, famous Shakespearean actor, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) travels back to his ancestral home in Blackmoor at the behest of his brother's fiancé (Emily Blunt). Shortly after arriving at his brother's body is found - he has been torn apart by some sort of wild animal. The locals blame the dancing bear of some travelling villagers, but it soon becomes very evident that something far more savage is at work and it is connected with the Talbot household...
"The Wolf Man" succeeds as an effective movie and an effective remake for one reason. It honours its source material without taking itself too seriously. The original film, when taken in context, is a tragic story and despite not having any literary origins provided a character that would largely save the show as Universal's horror fell into cynical self-mockery. Larry Talbot, as portrayed by Lon Chaney Jnr., had easily more substance than the monsters he would share the screen with and the character's influence could clearly be seen in such classics as "The Curse of Werewolf" and "An American Werewolf in London".
I don't know whether director Joe Johnston (not a favourite of mine) or the three writers of this picture could have gotten away with trying to recreate the seriousness of the original picture given how much of it has since become a cliché. As it turns out the film works as an exciting if superficial horror fantasy with a healthy amount of tongue-in-cheek fun running throughout.
It succeeds in paying homage to "The Wolf Man" legacy without becoming a jokey fan-fest. There's the idea of a werewolf cure brought over from "The Curse of the Werewolf" and there is something of "An American Werewolf in London" in there too. There is even a direct reference to the original Universal "Werewolf of London", where they use the same plot to describe the origin of the werewolf curse. This is a nice touch for us classic horror geeks, as this was the bipedal werewolf film that pre-dated the original "Wolf Man". As for its homage to the original "Wolf Man", it does what any decent remake should do. It uses the same essential plot-lines, rearranges certain scenes and expands on the whole story in many different and imaginative ways.
Benicio del Toro's Larry Talbot does not try to match Lon Chaney Jnr's version, but makes him into a more brooding character. Likewise Anthony Hopkins goes in a totally different direction to the typical country gentleman character Claude Rains. For the record, Hopkins clearly buys into the whole fun side of the film and we even get the Hannibal Lector wink. Emily Blunt continues to impress despite being given the love interest role and is a good match for del Toro and Hopkins. The fictionalization of Frederick Abberline, the real life chief inspector most famously connected with Jack the Ripper investigation, as Francis* Aberline is a peculiar addition. The character works well with a reliable performance by Hugo Weaving, but aside from the quick Jack the Ripper reference, the relevance of this real-life connection in a completely fictional world escapes me. However, it isn't the only element that attempts a connection with the real world. The iconic silver wolf-headed cane first seen in the original "Wolf Man" turns up again, but this time it is connected to the Beast of Gévaudan case.
For the most part the special effects are to the standard one would expect from a big budget mainstream horror. There seems to be an extraordinary amount of violent gore for a film that has been passed with a 15 certificate - fingers are bitten off, bloody limbs are strewn all over the place, there are decapitations and we see disembowelled corpses with entrails hanging out. However, this is all of the short sharp shock variety, which I guess is incredibly mild compared to the lingering torture porn horror we have endured over the past decade or so. No less than the great Rick Baker of "An American Werewolf in London" fame is responsible for all this and also manages to pull off a respectable looking wolf man for a 21st century audience. However, some of the CGI is very ropey and downright unnecessary. The gypsy's bear and a deer used for bait could easily have been filmed using the real thing without compromising animal welfare. Sour grapes? Well, yes my parents company were originally booked on this film to do these sequences. However, see for yourself and I am fairly sure you will agree the scenes are noticeably bad compared to the rest of the visual effects, and should have been edited out. The dog scenes were done by a colleague of ours and are top notch, of course!
The score is by another great mainstay of dark fantasy, Danny Elfman. Elfman is an interesting choice. Aside from "The Simpsons" he is best known as the composer for all but two of Tim Burton's movies. His haunting melodies suit darkness, oddness and otherworldly themes, but even when he deals with adult horror films the atmosphere he conjures implies is more of a dark fairy tale than a story that is designed to terrorize. It is another clue to the overall design of "Wolf Man". It's a horror that will entertain you, but is never going to traumatize you.
*Interestingly Francis was apparently Frederick Abberline's nickname in reality.
The Wolfman is yet another story of werewolves, demons and curses. In fact this one is a remake of a 1940's classic. Most Werewolf films I've seen in the past have been quite lame, dark and lacklustre. However, this one is a little bit of an improvement on previous ones because you're actually able to follow the storyline without much effort. I often find, with these kind of films, that you are expected to know so much about the characters and the genre before the film even starts. With this one it's easy to get into it right from the off. The characters are strong and well developed and you get acquainted with them early on. The film still has the usual werewolf traits of full moons, silver bullets and plenty of howling, but for me it captured my imagination better than the likes of American Werewolf In Paris/London.
The story is set in Blackmoor, England in the late 17th century. The location is typical of the genre, open misty moorland with dense wooded areas and the sun never seems to be shining. There is a small old-fashioned village with its typical bar and suspicious locals.
A local man has been disturbed and goes out to investigate. He ends up horrifically slain and left for dead. The man turns out to be Ben Talbot the son of Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) who lives in a huge mansion on a large estate near the village.
Ben's brother Lawrence (Benicio Del Toro) is a reputable actor plying his trade on the boards of London town. At the end of another fine performance of Hamlet he is approached by Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), who is John's fiancée to inform him of his brothers disappearance, and a request for help to find him.
Lawrence is reluctant to give up his busy schedule on the stage, but eventually concedes and goes back to his childhood home to help Gwen and renew acquaintance with his father, who he has not seen for some time.
Now Lawrence and his father don't exactly get on. His father reared him and his brother Ben after their mother was savagely killed when they were young.
Ben's body is soon discovered and two more local men are attacked in the same brutal fashion. The villagers start getting suspicious of everyone and rumours start spreading. Everyone seems to be under suspicion including people from the local asylum, gypsies from the local camp and other rumours involving curses, demons and wild beasts.
Inspector Francis Abberline (Hugo Weaving) arrives from Scotland Yard to investigate the happenings. As soon as he spoke I just kept thinking of Agent Smith in the Matrix. It was as if he was still in that character. I still chuckle now thinking about it.
The inspector, and a few riled locals, set about trying to solve the crimes and bring the guilty to justice. As you might expect, it gets a bit messy.
In fact it gets a bit more than messy. It's the special effects department that come out of this film with the most praise; really showing off their capabilities. The scenes showing characters morphing into werewolves were particularly spectacular. Their faces being rebuilt before your eyes, but the characters face still recognisable through the restructured jaws, super-sized teeth and extra facial hair. The way the hands and feet are sculpted from human to the powerful limbs of werewolf are amazing. In the past, the werewolf transformations would be done in the dark behind a tree or something, but not here. You get to see it, in all its glory. Wonderful.
In addition to this are the scenes of graphic violence and bloodshed during the epic fight scenes. Decapitations, limbs being torn away and entrails left dangling around in the aftermath; all very realistic. It will make even the hardened squirm a little I'm sure. The creative minds in the special effects division certainly must have had some fun shooting this, and credit should go to them for their spectacular results.
As far as the acting goes it isn't quite so fine. Benecio Del Toro gives a good, if not spectacular, performance in the lead role. He lacks a bit of spark and drive, but is convincing nonetheless. Sir Anthony Hopkins gives an average performance as the father, but it was all a bit tiresome without much feeling or passion. He was a little disappointing for me. He had ample opportunity to shine, but on this occasion failed to deliver. Emily Blunt gives a good performance as the grieving fiancée, but again without anything special. I thought Hugo weaving was great as the inspector, and gave an impressive performance. Maybe it was because I just kept seeing the Matrix's Agent Smith every time he spoke. He brought a bit of light-heartedness to the action and for me it worked well.
Something which irritated me a little was the musical score. It's typically orchestral for this kind of film, but it just got very repetitive and a little annoying after a while.
To summarise the storyline is pretty good, the characters, the acting and the soundtrack are below par, but the special effects are great. Overall I can only really give this film 3 stars.
Movie: The Wolfman
Director: Joe Johnston
Running time: About 120 minutes
A role perhaps perfect for the suggestively hairy Benicio Del Toro, he plays Lawrence Talbot, estranged son of Sir John Talbot and brother to recently murdered Ben Talbot. Upon his brother's death, he returns home for the first time in many years, to find rumours of some wild beast ravaging the land and killing people. He is thrust into the adventure pretty quickly, and before long he comes face to face with an adversary far more deadly than he had imagined.
Sounds as if it could be dramatic and exciting, I know, but the truth of the matter is, this is a good hour and a half film that is stretched way over its limits to over 2 hours long. Too long is spent on trying to create an atmosphere that just doesn't need any help, with the foggy nature of the countryside surrounding the Talbot mansion and the nearby gypsy camp and the rather bland and dull visual tone of the film. I didn't know there were so many shades of grey before I saw this film, and add to this the dragged out scenes dotted around the film and a confusing rather than supporting gypsy sideline and you have yourself a disappointing film indeed.
Del Toro smoulders his way through the film, with a rather suave and smouldering performance. I thought it needed a bit more passion and drive from him to counteract the very slow pace of the film. Support comes strongly as ever in the form of Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot, and Emily Blunt is effective as the love interest throughout the film. Hugo Weaving makes an appearance halfway through the film as the Scotland Yard detective with no fear, and Art Malik is well chosen as Sir John's over cautious manservant Singh, but really, none of these are used to their full potential other than Blunt, who adopts a damaged damsel air from start to finish. I wouldn't say the acting was particularly poor, more that it wasn't quite used as well as it needed it to be.
This all having been said, the special effects are certainly given a good run. The scenes featuring the Wolfman are given the occasional detail and we see things such as hands turning to paws, faces stretching in gruesome fashion and torsos growing before our very eyes. This is all done bit by bit, and looks rather realistic for the most part, and it certainly does add to the occasional element of tension in the film.
The problem is that none of it is particularly well drawn in together. Decent acting not well used, special effects impressive but dotted, and some atmospheric scenes far too drawn out. Overall, I was disappointed with what had been billed as the best role for Del Toro. He has had some brilliant films to his name, and I expected big things of this one, too. Sadly, it misses the point on a number of occasions and is far too long. Not recommended.
Wolfman is a retake of an old classic. This version was released in February 2010 and runs for 103 minutes making it quite a short film.
The story is in the title; it's a man that turns into a wolf. The Wolfman is played by Lawerence Talbolt (Benicio Del Torro), who is asked home by his brothers wife played by Cristina Conte, to search for Lawerence's brother who has been missing for weeks. A search for a beast is begin when the body of his brother is found mutilated and left in a ditch.
The more information Lawrence's father tells him (played by Anthony Hopkins) gives him more reason to question what he had to do with the deaths of his brother and mother.
I don't know if I really enjoyed the film because of how dark it is. I have only watched it a few times because its not a film you want to watch to cheer yourself up after a miserable day. I wasn't too impressed with the look of the Wolfman or the visual effects used. The bloods and guts we see a lot of is obviously fake which is a disappointment to see such low quality. However, there are only a few bloody scenes which may be why the quality was not very important to the creators of the film.
As soon as I was introduced to Anthony Hopkins playing Sir Talbot, I knew there was something dodgy about him and I think this was made pretty obvious by the big dark house he lived in, only with her manservant, miles away from anyone else.
I would give the film 7 out of 8 as I think it needed better quality effects, but the story is good. It can be purchased from Amazon for £12.71
Factually The Wolfman is a 2010 film starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins, it's about 103 minutes long and about what it says in the title - a man who turns into a wolf.
Now facts aside and opinions at full tilt, it's not brilliant. There are brief glimpses of a very good film, unfortunately they are as I said 'brief,' and interspersed with periods of tedium, predictability and cliché. I suppose as a remake of a classic story maybe the cliché is to be expected, if you're going to tell the same story, some things are overused, but I expected a new sort of twist to this story, and I didn't get one.
Now for the few bits I did like. Hugo Weaving. The man is a genius. The only problem with him in this is he doesn't really seem to take the role seriously, which would be great except for the fact that all the other actors do. Therefore his comical exchange with the bar lady in the tavern had me laughing at the rich sarcasm in his voice and anyone who knows of the ripper story will recognise the familiar name Francis Aberline, even if it is only from Johnny Depp's performance as the same character in 'From Hell.'
Was there anything else I enjoyed. Not really. There were some averagely interesting moments, Hopkins made a suitably creepy villain, but nowhere near as chilling as I have seen him in other things, whilst Emily Blunt made a good attempt at a rather boring role. I felt disappointed with the lead finding him wooden and stiff, and his opening poor performance as Hamlet does nothing to endear him to the audience.
Warning for spoilers here. Mostly it was predictable and not just because the story has been told before. You know Hopkins is the villain the moment he walks onto the screen, you know Laurence will become one, and you know what the ending has to be. The gore became pointless, because it was never preceded with anything remotely scary, the supposedly tense scenes were so drawn out I became bored watching Benicio Del Toro open doors and look in dark rooms.
If you're a fan of the horror or supernatural genre there are other films you could buy and be more satisfied. That said I did sit through it without falling asleep, but if that's the only accolade it can be given then it's in trouble. The score was initially good, but repetitive and forgettable, as can be said for the dialogue and the film as a whole.
It gets two stars, because Hugo Weaving was great, but maybe I'm biased, and Anthony Hopkins made a good villain. But overall there's not much to recommend.
The Wolfman was released in February 2010 and is rated a 15 and runs for 103 mins and can be purchased from Amazon for £12.71.
Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Torro) is a successful young actor who has to abandon his acting career when his brother's wife Solana (Cristina Contes) requests that he returns home to help search for his brother Ben (Simon Merrells). Ben has disappeared under mysterious circumstances and when his badly mutilated body is found in a ditch a search for the beast that killed him is launched.
The search for the beast that killed Ben unearths Lawrence's troubled past and causes him to question his fathers (Anthony Hopkins) hand in the deaths of his brother and mother.
I'm not sure if I truly enjoyed this film, yes it is watch-able but to me it seemed very low budget. The wolf man himself looked like a man who had not had a shave for a couple of weeks and needed his nails clipping. The film is not very gory, the scenes where the wolf attacks are quite jumpy but the way the wolf attacks is quite half hearted.
The film picked up considerably for me with the introduction of the police inspector Francis Aberline (Hugo Weaving) I really enjoyed his deadpan acting, he always has an air of quite amusement about him and for me he will always be Mr Smith from the matrix Trilogy.
I was surprised to see Anthony Hopkins playing the part of Sir John Talbot and once the initial pleasure at seeing him had worn off I was quite disappointed with the part he played. I was confused by the way his accent swung from sounding quite Scottish to upper class English all the way through the film.
While watching the film you can tell that there is a twist coming and it did have me guessing for a short while, but I did guess the twist pretty early on as did everyone else I was watching with.
I also wondered why the son Lawrence had an American accent but this area was loosely covered in the film with a quick mention to the fact that Lawrence was brought up by an aunt in America. I personally think the film would of come over better if Benicio Del Torro had of managed a decent English accent.
This film is a remake of the 1941 horror film of the same name, I have not seen the original but I think they should have left this film as it was.
The film had a low budget feel to it, the actors did not seem to be committed to the tale they were telling. The special effects were none existent, for me this film was a flop, I watched it once but I would not watch it again.
I give it 2 out of 5 stars, if it had of been any worse it would have been funny and then I'd of given it another star for the comic factor.
Thank you for reading.
The Wolfman is a hit and miss Gothic horror- unsurprising given its tortured production. While we've pretty much seen it all before story-wise (it is a remake after all), Joe Johnston's direction is largely successful, and the production design and cinematography are truly excellent. It's also a pleasure to see some really violent sequences; you really get the idea that this wolf is an unstoppable killing machine. In terms of effects, much has been said about hiring make-up godfather Rick Baker to handle the wolfman's appearance, but not allowing him to tackle the transformation scenes. However as Baker has already executed this metamorphosis so well in An American Werewolf in London, and since the CGI transformation is actually good, such grumbles prove pretty much pointless. That's not to say the SFX in The Wolfman is perfect; the wolf-on-wolf showdown near the films end is pretty laughable (it feels like it was added at the request of interfering studio suits to try and make the film more commercial), and why CG is used to create such ordinary animals as a bear and a deer is a puzzle- are there no animal trainers in Hollywood anymore? Performance wise it's an equally mixed bag. None of the principles are bad, but some of them don't truly own their roles. If you're going to cast Hannibal Lecter as your film's villain, you'd expect him to really let loose steal every scene he's in, but Anthony Hopkins simply doesn't. Top marks to Benicio Del Toro however, and Hugo Weaving is great value as always. Overall the Wolfman is worth seeing for its stunning Gothic design and refreshingly violent and entertaining action sequences.
The Wolfman is a thriller film that has a slight horror edge to it, I didn't really know what to expect, I hadn't seen any previous adaptations, Dooyoo reviewers whilst not as generous as amazon raters, seem to be rather generous to a lot of films and I presumed that 3 stars must mean that the film was in fact awful and was therefore expecting nothing from it, I was therefore surprised to discover that the film was ok.
I honestly wasn't quite clear who "The Wolfman" was, although I had my suspects. The love story part of the film seems a bit soppy and the gore and action scenes seem to be a bit over the top and unrealistic, I didn't particularly get a feel for the late 1890s vibe the film was supposed to give off but I thought that the characters were reasonably well acted out and whilst none of the performances are going to win any awards.
I found Anthony Hopkins reasonably entertaining and the gypsies had a certain charm about them but Benicio Del Toro seemed a bit stuffy and wooden as "Lawrence", I suppose the most intriguing part of this film is the story itself and that's probably what kept me viewing until the end, I can't say I felt particularly jumpy at the moments when I suppose I was supposed to.
I think there's better thrillers and horrors but if you've got no ideas for something else to watch it could be worth viewing.
This film is set in 1891 and sets the scene with Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) writing to Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) to ask for help in the search for his brother Ben following his mysterious disappearance. Lawrence is a famous Shakespearean actor who just happens to be touring in London despite his residing in New York! Although he hasn't seen his family in many years, he drops everything to come and search for his younger brother in and around the family's estate in Blackmoor. At first it doesn't tell us why Lawrence has been away from his family for so many years, but soon into the film we find out that Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) sectioned him after he witnessed to death of his mother when he was a young boy.
After Lawrence is told soon after his arrival that his brothers' body has been found, he goes to see the body, which has been mauled. This is when Lawrence decides he cannot return to the stage until he has found out what really happened to his brother. Many more people start to go missing, and Lawrence soon starts to put the pieces together and figure out that a werewolf is on the loose.
Me and my husband decided to go see this the other night, after getting to the cinema and finding there wasn't much else on for an hour or so. I wasn't too bothered about seeing it but thought I would give it a go. The film had me jumping from the get go and I figured it was actually going to be an ok watch. WRONG! After a few very jumpy scenes, I started to pay more attention, and soon realised that the music in the background, which was supposed to be adding suspense, was actually giving the whole thing away and with similar music to the knife scene in Psycho, I could tell exactly when the werewolf was going to make me 'jump' again. This was fine, I figured, as it was still quite jumpy anyway and the special effects of the werewolf transforming were actually really good. That is until the director decided to show us the werewolf once it had actually transformed! Me and my husband looked at each other and started laughing. Were they being serious!? It appeared so, although to me it looked like they had stuck a load of carpet on someone - no, really - it looked that crap! To say the special effects so far had been excellent, this was just plain ridiculous. From this moment on, I have to say I lost all respect for the film, and the 'horror' might as well have been a comedy!
I have to say, regardless of how naff the effects were, the acting was pretty good, with Emily Blunt playing a fantastic role along with Benecio Del Torro and Anthony Hopkins playing the role of Laurence's creepy dad down to a tee!
There are lots of 'ARRROOOOOOOOOOOs' (!) in this film, along with mutilated bodies, running through woods, and some pretty good special effects along the way. If you can get past the naff looking werewolf, then you will probably find this film really enjoyable, however in my opinion it just wasn't up to scratch and could have been so much better if the werewolf was left to the imagination and the suspense was used to tease the audience instead.
Go see it and make your own mind up, but don't say I didn't warn you!
Best Quote: Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.
Director: Joe Johnston
Release Date: 12 February 2010
Last time the poor old Wolfman graced our screens it was in Stephen Sommers' risible Van Helsing. Thankfully, this latest attempt by Universal Pictures to reboot their famous 30s monster franchise treats the character with a lot more respect.
The Wolfman in question is poor Lawrence Talbot who returns to his ancestral home in England following the brutal death of his brother. Further misfortune befalls him when he is bitten by a mysterious beast and finds himself getting all hairy and fangy every full moon.
In many ways, The Wolfman is a pleasingly old-fashioned film, reliant on a slightly daft, old-fashioned story and atmosphere rather than lots of mayhem and an overdose of CGI. Director Joe Johnston (a safe pair of hands after the original director walked) does a good job of maintaining a subdued, slightly spooky atmosphere. Mostly set in a run-down English country village, complete with lots of mist (excellent for hiding in, also excellent for disguising a low budget!), it recalls the low budget slightly camp, but fun Hammer Horror films.
The film is at its strongest when it plays out as a human drama. Whilst some amongst the audience may find it slow going, others will be pleased that there has been some vague attempt to create characters and a story, not just a special effects/action piece. True, Wolfman's stand-out moments are when our hairy friend is causing chaos and panic, but it is precisely because such scenes are limited that they are so much fun - you find yourself looking forward to the next bout of carnage, not sitting there thinking "here we go again."
The special effects are also somewhat old-fashioned, eschewing the overblown CGI that destroyed Van Helsing. The werewolf transformation scenes are good (although not a patch on An American Werewolf in London), whilst other effects are pleasingly low key. When transformed into a werewolf, Benicio del Toro still generally looks like Benicio del Toro, just with a lot more hair and bigger teeth. This is an important factor no matter how violent he becomes, no matter how many throats he rips out, The Wolfman retains a human heart (even if it's not always his own!). He is not a mess of CGI pixels, he is a real man and because Benicio del Toro still has the use of his own face, he can emote much more convincingly. Indeed, it is noticeable that in the sequences where CGI is more heavily used, you immediately become more disconnected from the action, as it loses that human element.
Where The Wolfman is not old fashioned is in the level of gore. It is quite violent and I was surprised at the amount of blood and guts the film showed. This more than anything else, signals The Wolfman's intention to distance itself from the bland, bloodless Van Helsing. Guts are ripped out, claws punched through throats and heads are torn off, all in glorious splatter-o-vision. This will undoubtedly be too much for some people to stomach, but the violence is always in context and never too over the top or gratuitous, which is important.
Where the film works very well is in the casting, even though this seems a little strange at times. It automatically gets an extra star from me for featuring "Bullet" Baxter from Grange Hill. Amongst the main cast, Benicio del Toro is excellent as Lawrence Talbot/Wolfman, bringing a real sense of pathos and tragedy to the character, without ever going over the top. There were times when I felt he was stumbling through his lines, as though a little disinterested, but that is probably as much down to del Toro's sleepy eyed acting style than any reflection of his commitment to the role. Either way, he makes an engaging and sympathetic lead. There's no doubt where our sympathies are supposed to lie and, even when he's ripping out stomachs, you are still cheering for Wolfie.
Great value for money is Hugo Weaving as Inspector Abberline, sent from Scotland Yard to investigate the killings. Weaving smirks his way through the film, as though he can't believe he's being allowed to get away with such a performance. He brings a slightly lighter tone to the film, which helps to move things along, without ever making his character a figure of fun. His Abberline is a good, brave policeman, just one with a slightly skewed outlook on life and, whilst he might be a nasty, suspicious-minded little man in some regards, you can't help but admire him. His scene in the village pub in particular is a delightful example of underplayed comedy.
Anthony Hopkins meanwhile, coasts as Talbot's father, in a role clearly taken for the money. Still, no-one does twinkly-eyed malevolence quite like Hopkins and it's fun to see him (literally) get his teeth into yet another role where he can cut loose. His accent, meanwhile, deserves a credit all of its own, since it is clearly independent of Hopkins. At various stages of the film, it does a tour of the Celtic nations, being by turn both Welsh and Irish (though disappointingly, it never becomes Scottish).
It's true that the plot is very shallow and obvious. There are some obvious signposts as to what is to come and it is all highly predictable. There is some truly awful dialogue and some scenes which are too dialogue heavy and slow the pace of the film down. It also takes a wrong turn towards the end with a wolf-on-wolf fight which relies too much on CGI and spoils the pleasingly low-key effects which have gone before it. The ending, too, is a little rushed and robs the film of the sense of tragedy it needs to be truly memorable. Still, despite these flaws, The Wolfman is never less than a daft, but fun diversion that will keep you entertained whilst you are watching it.
The Wolfman is a curious little film, full of contradictions. Incredibly cheesy and silly, without ever being annoying; lacking in genuine scares, but surprisingly violent; and character driven rather than action packed. It probably doesn't warrant a sequel (though the film is careful to set up that possibility), but at least it's got rid of the sour taste left by The Wolfman's last cinematic outing.
Director: Joe Johnston
Running time: approx. 102 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2010
Benicio Del Torro, an American actor (strange that!), returns to his native land of England to visit his family and find out what happened to his brother. There he finds out that he was killed by a mysterious beast. His father, Anthony Hopkins seems to know more than he is letting on - is there something in the family history that explains this brutal murder?
Directed by Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park 3), The Wolfman is a remake of a 1941 film and has been a pet project for Del Torro for a number of years.
The Wolfman's visual effects weren't anything to write home about, but the gothic styling reminded me very much of some of the Hammer horror films of the 60's and 70's and these films seemed to hark back to that sort of style. The scene where Hugo Weaving was sat in the pub was very reminiscent of films like The Horror of Dracula - I just expected Hammer stalwart Michael Ripper to be playing the landlord!
Del Torro was a strange bit of casting. It was very difficult to believe him as an American actor, let alone the son of Anthony Hopkins. His Mexican appearance is never really explained very well and throughout his weird vocal mannerisms are almost totally inaudible. It really was the sort of role you might assume someone like Colin Firth might play, but I suppose they needed a bit of American clout to sell the film in the US.
Emily Blunt seemed out of place too in this film. I'm assuming she's taking the place of Helena Bonham Carter as the UK's newest costume drama luvvie. Hopkins comes off best as the father of Del Torro. He adds a bit of gravitas to the proceedings, but one has to wonder why he bothers with films like this, his acting talent seems to be wasted on trashy American films like this.
The Wolfman wasn't too bad. I had some genuinely decent action setpiece and some good shocks. I loved the art direction and the general 'look' of the film. Yes, it was a bit rough around the edges and there were some pretty rubbishy elements, but on the whole it was a film that filled a cinematic void between decent films at the cinema.
Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) writes to Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) to inform him that his brother has disappeared. Lawrence returns to his family estate, reunites with his father John (Anthony Hopkins) and goes
in search of his brother. Whilst in the forest, Lawrence gets bitten by a monster and his destiny changes.
Having seen the trailer for The Wolfman, I was expecting it to be quite boring to be honest, and it is. Yes it is an improvement on previous wolf films like Van Helsing, the effects are so much better, but it plods along too slowly. The effects of man turning into wolf are the best part of the film, but that is about all there is to like. The main actors don't seem particularly excited by the plot, there is very little emotion apart from when Lawrence sees Ben. The dark tone of the film is good, much better than appealing to children in my opinion, it is quite gory.
There isn't much wolf action and the main fight is disappointing, The Wolfman definitely needed more action and more life. I was waiting for it to get going and it never did. Very disappointing.
Emily Blunt - Gwen Conliffe
Benicio Del Toro - Lawrence Talbot
Anthony Hopkins - Sir John Talbot
Hugo Weaving - Abberline
Jessica Manley - Gypsy Mother
David Sterne - Kirk
Also posted on ciao under the name shabbating
I had high expectations of the Joe Johnston directed 'Wolfman' which potentially looked like it would be a fitting update to Universal's 1941 original. Early reports suggested that the film encompassed high production values, decent acting, and a well written screenplay - but due to a troubled production, could it really deliver?
Benicio Del Toro takes the lead role as Lawrence Talbot, an American thespian who returns to his ancestral home in England when his brother goes missing. After some rudimentary digging around, Talbot discovers that his brother may have met with a sticky (and rather furry) end, and sets about unravelling the truth. Whilst all this is taking place, Talbot's father 'Sir John' (Anthony Hopkins) seems to be acting a little strangely - could he be hiding a dark family secret?
After a rather tame start, the Wolfman quickly shifts into standard monster-flick territory, and from the first quarter of an hour it's entirely apparent that the movie isn't going to utilise the high production values which I had initially hoped for. The viewer is shown the eponymous beast in its entirety fairly quickly, which has the effect of instantly breaking any tension which may have built up. Sporadic (and fairly strong) moments of gore should be expected - and there are flying limbs and decapitations aplenty. It's as if the production team chose to add grisly moments at every given opportunity in order to mask the lack of a decent story. The end result is that The Wolfman has a Hammer feel about it, which, considering its high budget, probably isn't something that the film studio would have hoped for.
A 'Claws' in the contract?
In fact, the whole film feels like it has been set up to stage the climatic werewolf-on-werewolf fight at the end - but even this set-piece can't save what is essentially a dog's dinner. Said battle takes place in a whizz of CGI fur, and appeared to me like two angry Honey Monsters scrapping over the last bowl of Sugar Puffs. Whilst I have read in other reviews that the special effects were 'impressive', I personally didn't find them all that pleasing. Yes, the fur effects were adequately rendered, yet the supposedly frightening beasts have an inintentially humorous quality about them which reminded me of 'Teen Wolf'. This has the effect of making the movie lack any element of fear, and there is a strong camp element running through the whole production - 'Carry on Howling' anyone?
The story just isn't up to scratch - it's dull, ill conceived, and has been seen countless times before. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the film's production was said to have hit crisis point, and this is all too apparent with the quality of the output. There is no real flow to proceedings and the movie clunkily jumps from scene to scene without any real thought. On a positive note, the cinematography helps set the scene nicely - although it's the same misty and murky Americanised perception of England that we have come accustomed to from Hollywood films over the years. The whole thing is rather Gothic, and the moments when the action arrives in the capitol is well handled.
Benicio Del Boy
The acting is of a mixed bag, and whereas Benicio Del Toro doesn't do anything wrong in the lead role, his character Lawrence Talbot just isn't that interesting. This is undoubtedly an error on the part of the scriptwriters rather than Del Toro himself, and the dialogue in general is sloppy throughout. We do see snippets of Talbot's former life before he arrives in England, but there just isn't enough backstory to make the viewer engage with the character fully. Emily Blunt makes an appearance as the fiancee of Talbot's deceased brother, but like Talbot, the character is lacking in development. Blunt works well however, and is fairly believable in the role. Of course, the presence of a female lead means that there is going to be a romance set up - which in this situation seems out of place and a little far fetched. On the whole, Blunt is a a little underused which is a shame, as she did well with the screen time that she had. The best acting performance undoubtedly comes from Anthony Hopkins who is at his charismatic best. Due to his unusual mannerisms and perfect delivery, Hopkins is able to bring a spark of life to an otherwise dull character. Unfortunately, this isn't enough to save the film... just make it a little more bearable.
Hugo Weaving puts in a very similar performance to the one he gave in 'The Matrix' - even going as far as delivering his lines in the same manner. I expected him to pipe up with the iconic "Mr Anderson..." line at any moment - but thankfully he didn't. Weaving's character (Detective Aberline) seemed to be incredibly dim-witted, and even after an entire villiage had witnessed a werewolf attack, he still questioned the existence of the beast. In fact, this was just the tip of the ice-berg in terms of a countless number of plot holes which peppered the film.
A cinematic howler?
Overall I was very disappointed with The Wolfman, which I found to be dull, uninspiring, and thoughtlessly made. Whilst the acting was adequate, both the script and set-pieces were lackluster, resulting in an entirely predictable monster romp. Full marks to Anthony Hopkins for providing sporadic moments of quality - but to be honest, the entire cast deserved better. The best thing I can say about the film was that it was 'watchable', but as werewolf movies go, this one is pretty far down the list - Wolfman should have been left in 1941.
- - - - - - -
Simon Merrells - - Ben Talbot
Emily Blunt - - Gwen Conliffe
Hugo Weaving - - Abberline
Benicio Del Toro - - Lawrence Talbot
Cristina Contes - - Solana Talbot
Anthony Hopkins - - Sir John Talbot
Art Malik - - Singh
The Wolfman (2010)
Directed by- Joe Johnston.
Produced by- Benicio del toro, Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Sean Daniel.
Written by- Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self, Curt Siodmak.
Rated '15' - For strong violence and horror.
Set in the 1800's.
Rick Baker was the genius behind the creature effects in makeup.
Simon Merrells plays 'Ben Talbot' . Kicking off the story, he is missing to begin with but found to be mysteriously murdered in a brutal way. A medallion purchased from the Gypsies is later discovered by Lawrence in his personal belongings.
Emily Blunt plays 'Gwen Concliffe' the fiancé of Ben Talbot but who forms a bond with Lawrence which sees him falling in love with her. She is the one who writes to Lawrence explaining that his brother is missing, luring him back home. A genuinely caring person who nurses Lawrence back to health after his run in with the 'mysterious creature'.
Anthony Hopkins plays 'Sir John Talbot' the father of Ben and Lawrence and residing in his secluded home 'Talbot Hall' ...I feel this character needs to be watched unfolding without my input...it will spoil the film for you! But I guarantee 'Hopkins' fans won't be disappointed.
Benicio Del Toro plays 'Lawrence Talbot'. A Shakespearean theatre actor touring London, lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Lawrence is haunted by his past and has been away from his family since he was young. As the film goes on, it explains the events in Lawrence's past which led him to be so estranged from his father. At a young age he witnessed his mother's mysterious death and so his father sent him to an Insane Asylum.
After returning home he finds out from his father that his brother's mutilated corpse had been found the day before.
This sees him set about investigating what exactly happened.
Geraldine Chaplin plays 'Maleva' the older, wiser Gypsy. After Lawrence is attacked and bitten on the shoulder by 'the creature' she sutures his wound and sends him on his way back to his fathers home. Her daughter worryingly says he should be killed but Maleva refuses, due to him still being a man and later says ' Only a loved one can kill him'.
Hugo Weaving plays 'Abberline'. It frustrates me that Hugo Weaving is not getting the recognition he deserves as a brilliant actor. He gives yet another great performance as he did in 'The Matrix Trilogy' as 'Agent Smith' and in 'V for Vendetta' as the masked 'V', these just being a couple of examples.
Anyway back to this movie, Abberline is the Inspector from Scotland Yard who is set to investigate the murders by the transformed Lawrence.
To be honest I am not a fan of horror/ thriller movies so going to the cinema to watch this came as a shock for me, but hearing of the cast I knew it had to be a good film to watch. It keeps you guessing and there's no long boring wait to see the plot unfold as it get's straight into action and saw me jumping and hiding my face within the first 10 minutes (wimp I know!). I must warn people with a weak stomach that this is appropriately called 'The Wolfman' so expect to see people ripped apart like a huge wolf would do! I would have liked to see the bond between 'Gwen Concliffe' and Lawrence Talbot' go more into detail making it stronger, but it still worked. I think the cast were brilliant but have to say that i am more of a fan of Benicio Del Toro than ever before (also one to watch in which he stars in 'The Hunted', with Tommy Lee Jones)
I didn't want to go into too much detail on the plot as it really would have spoiled the movie for those wanting to watch it. I just want to say that it was thoroughly enjoyable and I recommend it to movie lovers.