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Movie Curiosities

The online diary of an aspiring movie nerd

The Wolfman

ByCuriosity Inc.

Feb 28, 2010

It’ll be easier to review this one if I consider it as two movies: The movie with Benicio del Toro as the Wolfman and the movie with del Toro as Lawrence Talbot.

The first movie kicks ass. The Wolfman and his transformation are a beautiful combination of practical and virtual FX, and the slow, strategic reveals of the Wolfman are wonderfully done. The cinematography and editing are great and complemented by fantastic production and costume design, as well as some solid fight sequences and just the right amount of gore.

It’s the second movie I have problems with. While the production design and costume design are still superb, they’re now hobbled by mundane cinematography, unremarkable editing, clunky dialogue and horrid pacing. It’s here where the Romanek/Johnston transfer is most evident, as Romanek surely had some novel ideas for how to shoot such beautiful sets. It’s also here where Emily Blunt spends most of her screentime and I’m sorry to say that she was woefully miscast. She’s pretty and she has that Victorian look, but she just can’t hold her own against del Toro, Hopkins or Weaving.

I came into this movie expecting to see the Wolfman addressed as a metaphor for our deepest, most primal urges. I came away disappointed in that regard. Sure, the movie brought it up on occasion, but only briefly and never in much detail. Of course, it doesn’t help that the only characters willing to discuss the Wolfman in religious or ethical terms are a bunch of hick villagers who get all of ten minutes to yell about the subject in paranoia. Far more screentime goes to characters who discuss the Wolfman in scientific or logical terms. This was really fucking stupid. Everyone (the audience, the filmmakers, the characters, everyone) knows that talking about lycanthropy in scientific terms isn’t going to yield anything new or worthwhile, so what’s the point in devoting half an act to it?!

I went into the movie knowing the spoiler *that Hopkins is a werewolf who doesn’t try to repress the wolf, but revels in it. The movie would have been so much better if the self-repressed younger Talbot had talked with the self-indulgent older Talbot about their differing opinions on their shared condition. And before you say that such a discussion would be hackneyed and cliched, remember that we’re talking about Anthony Hopkins and Benicio del Toro. They would have made it work.*

Nevertheless, if you buy tickets to see this movie, you’re buying tickets to see Benicio del Toro turn into a werewolf and fuck some shit up. On that basis alone, I can give my recommendation. Just remember that if you need to go to the bathroom or buy concessions, you can do so at any time when del Toro isn’t sporting fangs and you won’t miss a thing. I promise.

By Curiosity Inc.

I hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics, the only one from Pacific University's Class of '09. I was the stage-hand-in-chief of my high school drama department and I'm a bass drummer for the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. I dabble in video games and I'm still pretty good at DDR. My primary hobby is going online for upcoming movie news. I am a movie buff, a movie nerd, whatever you want to call it. Comic books are another hobby, but I'm not talking about Superman or Spider-Man or those books that number in the triple-digits. I'm talking about Watchmen, Preacher, Sandman, etc. Self-contained, dramatic, intellectual stories that couldn't be accomplished in any other medium. I'm a proud son of Oregon, born and raised here. I've been just about everywhere in North and Central America and I love it right here.

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