The Wolfman (2010)

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Connections: The Wolf Man

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Review by Crispy
Added: January 13, 2011
As usual when going into a remake, I make it a point to separate it from the source material as much as possible. So when I sat down to watch The Wolfman, the 40's classic was nowhere in my mind. Even so, this was quite the chore to get through.

The plot has been given an extensive makeover, although it may not seem so in this synopsis. Anyway, we start out in the woods, where a man is hunting some kind of an animal. It soon becomes obvious that this hunter is actually the hunted, and he is violently attacked. Turns out this man was Ben Talbot; his fiance, Gwen Conliffe, sends a message to his long estranged brother, Shakespearean actor Lawrence, asking him to return to help search for his sibling, but his mangled body has been found before Lawrence arrives. Exacerbating his grim return, he finds himself at odds with his emotionally distant father. Still, he takes it upon himself to honor Gwen's wishes and find out just what happened to her fiance, and the quest leads him to a nearby gypsy camp where Ben served as a negotiator or sorts. Unfortunately for the would-be investigator, he decided to check out said camp on the full moon, and a certain hairy beast has just arrived at the very same gypsies. In the chaos, Lawrence follows a child into the woods, hoping to protect him from the monster. He succeeds in the endeavor, but not without suffering a massive bite to his shoulder. In the weeks after the encounter, Lawrence discovers that not only has the wound healed at an incredible rate, but his strength and senses have improved beyond what they've ever been. However, as we all know, the cursed man is in for quite a rude awakening as the full moon draws near; plus, there's still the matter of that original werewolf.

Benicio Del Toro went out of his way for the role of Lawrence, as he's a huge fan of the original movie. Turns out, his performance actually left quite a bit to be desired, and since I've seen him turn in some quality shows, I'd say it's safe to assume that this just not the movie he wanted it to be. Perhaps it's the best sign that in no way should this be considered a remake. It's simply not, and many fans, including our leading star, have been unpleasantly surprised about this. But like I said, even going in with a fresh movie in mind, it's just way too boring to actually warrant repeat viewings. To be fair, I did watch the extended director's cut, which included seventeen minutes that were cut for pacing reasons, but even conceding that, there's just way to much unneeded backstory with no payoff. These stretches are made even worse by Anthony Hopkins' quiet, disconnected rambling that he used as Sir John. Sure, I'll admit that it sort of fit the character, but watching long scenes of dialogue between that and Del Toro's obvious indifference did absolutely nothing to make that pre-wolfman hour entertaining. Even after the transformation, things just switch gears from boring to corny. Lawrence's immediate status after his first night will start your eyes rolling, and they'll only pick up RPMs at the grand revelation of his secret past. Top it off with the obligatory wolf vs. wolf finale, and you've successfully digested enough cheese to ensure you won't shit for three days.

On the upside however, the actual wolfman attacks themselves were damned good. Sure there was a bit too much CGI for my liking, but the beast sure did have a ball ripping people apart. The attack on the gypsy camp was especially well done, seamlessly shifting gears from a past-face, no-one's safe splatterfest to a tension-filled scene of Lawrence being stalked in the mist. Unfortunately, there are just not enough of these scenes to grant any real redemption to an otherwise boring affair.

So again, there are two ways of going into this, and neither one quite delivers. If you're expecting a faithful update of the classic film, you're going to be greatly disappointed. On the other hand, if you're looking for a new, blood-drenched monster movie, 2010's The Wolfman still doesn't quite deliver, because there's just so much fluff and cheese surrounding the goods. 3.5/10 from myself.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added 01/13/2011, 06:47 PM
...no. No, I found this to be a good, blood-drenched monster movie.
AttnDefDis #2: AttnDefDis - added 01/13/2011, 09:54 PM
Well. I'm glad somebody finally reviewed this. That being said, I disagree with most of it. True, I haven't seen the original in a long time, but the basic storyline that I remember remained intact. I thought everyone did a good job. I mean there were no Oscar worthy performances and Benicio Del Toro was a bit flat, but the ensemble was just fine. Plus, for me, Emily Blunt can kind of do no wrong. I think what happened to this movie was the fact that it changed hands. I remember reading how they were relying entirely on makeup and there was limited CGI because Benicio was that good and then I believe the Director changed before the movie's completion and the next thing I read talked about how much it had changed. I was expecting much more from this movie, but it was decent and I have watched it again. My biggest problem with it was the overuse of CGI. I mean even the animals were CGI, like the gypsy bear. There was no reason for that. Also, why didn't the gypsy woman tell Gwen the way to break the curse? That annoyed me. Overall, I didn't find it cheesy or boring, but it was disappointing. So, I'd say 6/10.
AttnDefDis #3: AttnDefDis - added 01/13/2011, 09:56 PM
Oh yeah, did anyone else notice a big difference in the two cuts? I saw this in the theater and then watched the director's cut on DVD and despite the fact that apparently there are 17 added minutes, I didn't notice much of a change.
Nirrad #4: Nirrad - added 01/14/2011, 12:02 PM
3.5/10 sounds about right as well. We all left the theater laughing at how bad this really was.
Chad #5: Chad - added 05/07/2011, 02:44 PM
I only watched the unrated cut on the DVD, and that was decent. I wouldn't say it was great, but yes, decent would cover it. The only thing that really hurt it was the finale... we don't need a CGI-drenched battle filled with wire-fu in a freaking werewolf movie.
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