Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Wolfman (2010)

"The Wolfman" (2010, Joe Johnston, Universal Pictures) is the abysmal remake of the 1941 classic of the same name (which spawned many sequels and remakes).

It appears Anthony Hopkins was paid in whisky for his role, and decided to drink his payment during filming...

The problem with movies directed by fans of the originals is that they never seem to do themselves justice. On one hand, this film has excellent special effects (even if they are mostly CGI), the wolfman makeup itself is an excellent nod to Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman and modernises the icon well, and the transformation scenes take a little bit of "American Werewolf in London"'s bone-bending, hair sprouting goodness.

Also, a fairly high amount of gore, and some nice jumpy toothy bits (although not many suspense filled jumps... but this isn't a Japanese ghost story, so what was I expecting?)

On the other hand, however, the characters seem hollow and the dialogue unnatural and forced. I think the main issue is that the writer is trying to capture the classic feel from the original movie and the subsequent wolfman sequels, remakes and copy-wolf movies... The problem with this is, that rather than taking you back to olden times, it just sounds fake and takes away the atmosphere. The put-on accents and terrible conversing dialogue just don't seem researched thoroughly, and I felt like I was watching a bad reading of a Hammer Horror script, rather than a professionally produced monster movie. It's a damn good thing there's good gore and action in this film, because otherwise I'd never have sat through the whole thing!

As in most Werewolf movies, our main protagonist is the real victim of the piece, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) doesn't want to be a werewolf, he doesn't want to kill and maim, but unfortunately that's what werewolves do, so kill and maim he does!

The original plot is turned on its head with a sudden (but oh, so obvious) twist, and the addition of the ye olde Insane Asylum/Lecture theatre is just too Frankenstein for me.

Emily Blunt gives a good performance as Gwen Conliffe, Lawrence's now widowed sister-in-law and new found love interest (Oh my!) and has, by far, the most convincing accent in the whole film, second only to Inspector Francis Aberline's (Hugo Weaving). I have no idea what accent Anthony Hopkins was meant to have, it kind of wavered between English and Irish, and Lawrence was meant to have lived in America and so had a funny English-cum-American accent.

On the whole, I suppose my initial judgement is unfair, the movie isn't so bad that I'm going back to Debenhams for my £3 refund, but I wouldn't go singing the film's praises too loud either. Think I'll just go watch 'Silence of the Lambs' now to remind myself that Mr. Hopkins is really a wonderful actor!

[Picture: Universal Pictures]