REVIEW: The Wolfman

5 08 2010

Joe Johnston’s “The Wolfman” is a remake of the 1940s original, yet it winds up making you nostalgic for a completely different decade.  Strangely enough, it most resembles the 1980s.  Benicio Del Toro in his werewolf makeup looks like he walked straight off the set of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and somehow wound up in 1890s England.  Weird…

The movie tells the same story we have seen countless times with all sorts of predatory creatures, although it’s typically werewolves and vampires.  Some sort of flesh contact is made with the creatures, a normal person is transformed into one of them, and they subsequently find themselves living on the outskirts of society.  In fact, we just recently saw Neil Blompkamp use this formula and apply it to aliens in “District 9,” and he created something that felt refreshingly original.  Here, it’s just same old, same old.

In fact, the only thing that Joe Johnston does to add some flavor to the tired story is to amp up the violence and gore.  “The Wolfman” bears an R rating and uses that level of freedom to go hog wild on the blood.  There’s all sorts of decapitations and ripping of limbs in the movie, almost to the point where it becomes overkill.  One has to wonder if Johnston turned over the reins to some violent video-game loving teenager for these sequences.

I can’t think of the last time where I actually thought that a movie’s special effects were bad, but they certainly are here.  Blame poor planning and poor execution on the filmmakers’ part.  And there’s absolutely no relief from the hackneyed story, not even from a pair of Oscar winners, Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.  Never has the latter been so far away from his “The Silence of the Lambs” glory days.  If he doesn’t start picking better movies, I’m going to have to hold a moment of silence for his career.

And still, I just can’t get over that wolf makeup because it’s just absolutely horrific.  I find it so hard to believe that it’s the work of renowned Oscar winner Rick Baker, not some mom for a high school play.  Watching Del Toro’s wolfman fight civilians just made me chuckle; watching him fight another werewolf was as funny as any comedy this year.  The suspenseful, climactic battle scene just feels like a dreadful”Scary Movie” parody of the wretched “Twilight” series.  D /


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5 responses

6 08 2010
Paragraph Film Reviews

Great review, good to hear other were absolutely baffled by how terrible this was! As you say, make-up & general effects were tragic and it was all very campy. This got far more laughs than shocks in the screening I was at.

6 08 2010
Castor

Heard so much bad things about it that I will probably never give it a shot…

6 08 2010
Fitz

The gore was so unnecessary that it came off as laughable. I saw this for free and still felt ripped-off.

6 08 2010
Marshall

Totally agree with you on the gore. I felt like Joe Johnston woke up, decided he didn’t want the movie to be rated PG-13, and threw buckets of blood on the set.

8 08 2010
Red

Definitely won’t be watching this anytime soon. Or ever.

Why, Emily, Why?

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