Originally Posted on February 24, 2010
Entertainment Value: 8/10 Critical Value: 6.5/10
Director Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo) brings a remake of the 1941 film to the silver screen, and it is a disappointing outing. Prior to seeing The Wolfman, I was thrilled at the prospect of another werewolf movie, since they are my favourite fictional creature. However, I left the theatre feeling that I could have seen so much more.
Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his homeland of Blackmoor, England to attend the funeral of his brother, Ben Talbot. Emily Blunt plays Gwen Conliffe, Ben Talbot’s widow, and Anthony Hopkins plays Lawrence’s father. His brother went missing and his mauled body was later found in a ditch. While Talbot investigates he is attacked by the werewolf and eventually succumbs to the curse.
Del Toro’s acting was very flat for much of the movie, he delivers many lines with little emotion. Lines that should have impact for the audience fizzle away due to a seemingly uncaring performance. This does not apply to the entire movie since there are more dramatic scenes where I felt that Del Toro was able to deliver better. Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving, who plays a detective, are both acting highlights of the film. It also helps that Hopkins and Weaving are given the best to work with in terms of dialogue.
One of my main complaints with the film was its use of jump scares. They are terribly overused and are also ineffective at startling the audience. The special effects are impressive in some scenes but are cartoonish in others. It seems like more money was given to certain scenes and it makes me wonder why more practical effects weren’t used.
Although many critics complain about the film’s pacing I actually had no qualms with it. The action scenes are thrilling but are sometimes ruined by the poor special effects. Some may also find the gore excessive. Another issue is that the camera work made it hard to make out what was going on during the action scenes, the lighting of the scenes as well as the speed of the camera movements(not pacing) made some scenes difficult to view. I wish to avoid spoilers but there are plot points and occurrences that are very clichéd and served to tarnish a storyline that appeared to be progressing well.
The ending also seems to be a plot hole or a simple goof in writing, since a major occurrence seemingly goes unnoticed by the local town people. Del Toro’s acting was surprisingly a weak link in some places, the special effects could have been greatly improved and the story was ultimately poor. The Wolfman is a movie that could have been a horror masterpiece but turns out to be another sub par film.