Thursday, 11 February 2010
REVIEW: The Wolfman
This movie was exactly what I expected it to be. Re-edited and re-shot to be a miracle of inoffensiveness, its a bland, shell of a movie merely hinting at what could have been. Just in case you don't know the spiel that goes with the making of this movie, a talented and innovative director named Mark Romanek was hired to give a brand new take on the age old Universal horror property, The Wolfman. The movie world gets excited. Universal however get some cold feet, and try to reign in Romanek's supposedly darker, more intense vision to the point where he up and quits, leaving them no choice but to hire professional yes man Joe Johnstone. The rest is soon to be forgettable history.
Benico Del Toro stars as the titular lycan, bitten by a fellow wolf when he comes home to tend to his recently consumed brother's affairs. relatively tame carnage ensues. The frustrating thing is there's a better movie here. The twisted, monstrous family dynamic is far the large part sidelined in favor of action and cool trailer shots. The movie tells no story, we just go aimlessly from scene to scene. And this would even be OK for an action movie, if that's the way you have to tell it, if the sodding action was any good. But ladies and gentleman it is lame. Very tame, an over-reliance on ironic deaths, which is trying of the best of times, but when someone says ' and if I'm wrong I'll fly out that window' and is promptly thrown out the window, a line has been crossed guys. Its forced, funny in a bad way and just generally shitty really. The movie also pulled that age old PG-13 horror movie trick of all the victims being middle-aged men, because focus groups find their deaths the least horrifying see. Then there's the amateurish opening, which felt like something of Supernatural, of a guy wondering around in the woods shouting 'Who's there' and 'show yourself'. Then there's an onslaught of shitty dream sequences, one of which makes an allusion t American Werewolf In London. Well done guys, you just reminded me how shit your movie really is. But all these criticisms, I think, amount to directorial hackery, of which Johnstone is certainly guilty. The performances, while not great, were at least not groan inducing to watch.
I did feel a little sorry for Del Toro, not acting in the movie he signed up to act in, and he comes across a little distant, with moments hinting at something more. Anthony Hopkins however, knows how to act in this kind of movie. Unlike most actors, I actually enjoy Hopkins more when he clearly doesn't give a shit, because he has almost made an art out of disinterested hamming. Just as he was the best thing in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula by being entirely batshit whilst everyone else took it seriously, he is similarly good value here. Despite some awful dialogue. Emily Blunt is an actress I like a lot, but it is a horribly thin role, ditto Hugo Weaving, although he made the best of it.
To conclude, a very disappointing movie. Painfully compromised and timid. Avoid.