Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One-Year Anniversary Review-athon: "The Wolfman" (2010)

    You know what the original Wolfman movie needed? Mindless gory and jump scares! This is 2010's The Wolfman!

                                                                     Spoiler Warning!

    Directed by Captain America: The First Avenger's Joe Johnston, 2010's The Wolfman is a remake of the previously reviewed 1941's The Wolfman starring Lon Chaney Jr as the title creature. In this remake Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, an actor who returns from London when his brother goes missing. Once home he clashes with his father, Sir John (Anthony Hopkins) and falls for Gwen Conliffe (Cinema Won Favorite Emily Blunt). However, while there he gets bitten by a werewolf and struggles with his curse.
    While not as far off as many remakes get, the film doesn't follow the originals story much more than the basic plot. Which is perfectly fine. I never really had a problem with the fact that adaptations of previous works try to do something different. However, this movie probably should have called itself something different. One it's own it's an mediocre movie. Compare it to the original however...

I don't even think this one needs a caption.
    The Wolfman plays out just like any modern horror film would, taking very little risks and doing little to set itself apart from the other werewolf horror films out there now. The scenes where the Wolfman attacks are needlessly gory and many of the "chills" are just lame jump scares, which are broadcast before the happen. Hint: When a characters is standing alone and the music goes really quiet, the Wolfman attacks. Surprise. The twists and turns are the standard ones for horror movies nowadays. Would you be surprised if I told you Anthony Hopkins was also a Wolfman? No? Good, because the filmmakers do any awful job "foreshadowing" it by pretty much just spelling it out.
    The movie tries to re-create the original's great atmosphere and effects, but for the most part it just fails. It's all been there done that when it comes to the sets and the music is nothing worth writing home about. The CGI used on some of the animals is astoundingly bad, often looking very plastic. And, while I'm sure a lot of effort when in to it and all, but... I'm sorry, The Wolfman make-up is really silly. He looks less like the monster from the original and more like a disgruntled Country Bear. When Hopkins goes wolfman, it gets even worse.

He's so fluffy!
    Where the remake really goes wrong is when you compare it to the original. The new one dramatically lacks the subtlety of the original. The film is pretty in-your-face with it's foreshadowing and the now apparently mandatory, dark-past-involving-dead-parents-and-insane-asylum backstory both tearing away at the original's cleverness. The film tries to take the original classic and remake it using modern horror tropes. It's kinda like if someone re-created the Mona Lisa using crayon. Sure it might not be bad, but it could never reach the original's level.
    However, it is clear they were at least trying to make a good movie. The cast is pretty good. Del Toro is great as the troubled Talbot. Blunt is as good as ever as the love interest, even it the script makes her do nothing more than just look sad. The only real weak link is surprisingly Hopkins, who clearly phones in his performance and is incredibly obvious as the villain. The script, while cliched, is pretty decent, especially with the actually pretty good dialogue between characters, though Lawrence does have the strange tendency to start talking to himself whenever he needs to spout exposition.

No joke, it's an american werewolf in London.
    2010's The Wolfman is certainly trying. The acting is fine and the script and visuals are decent. However, it tries to hard to please fans of slasher films, filling the movie with mindless gory, silly twists, lame jump scares and an unnecessary dark backstory. It isn't terrible, but it just isn't good. The Wolfman (2010) gets 3 stars out of 6.

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