Movie Weekend: Wolfman

The last weekend gave me plenty of opportunity to catch up on movies.

First stop was Wolfman.

Now, I admit the bad reviews about the film gave me preconceived biases against it. But still, I came in with an open mind.

The film, set in 19th or early 20th century London, tells the story of Lawrence Talbot, a travelling actor who was summoned home by his missing brother’s fiancee. The brother soon turns up grissly murdered and as Lawrence investigates among the gypsy crown for whom his brother was the town’s liason officer, he finds himself attacked by the animal (werewolf) largely blamed for his brother’s death.

The story pretty much takes on a very predictable turn; this being a remake though, one can hardly expect any surprises: prodigal son returns to help investigate his brother’s mysterious disappearance and death, discovers his father was the werewolf, becomes werewolf himself after surviving an attack, and realizes he has to kill his father to save mankind. Add the inevitable love interest who ultimately must decide his fate and you have the most predictable storyline created in both sides of the pond.  

But still, such plot can be passable if the story-telling was impeccably done but no – it was told in dragging fashion and the special effects, if you could call it that, were at best, amateur. I was therefore shocked to read that the film cost more than $150 million.

The actors themselves do not make the movie watchable – Hugo Weaving just keeps knotting his forehead. Benicio del Toro looks as ghastly and worn out as ever, and while I was at one time a big fan of Anthony Hopkins, I can’t but notice that his methods are all the same. He just has one character for all the myriad roles thrust his way: that of a detached observer with a carefree almost wanton way about him.  Effective acting yes, but if you watch him movie after movie, it seems that nothing changes except the name and costume of the character he is playing. I’ve seen this act from SIlence of the Lambs, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and even in The Mask of Zorro.

Probably the one bright spot is Emily Blunt, who, although quite predictable in her acting, exudes that lonely look in her eyes of one who has been recently devastated as she was by the loss of her fiancee. Add to that her obvious beauty and she somehow single-handedly rescues this film.

I don’t know the reason for remaking this film – probably, the producers wanted to cash in on the vampire/werewolf wagon. Sadly, they picked one of the lamest plots to resurrect. This one had better been left collecting dust in some film archive.

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