The Wolfman (2010)

The Wolfman

In Theatres: 
Feb 12, 2010
Running Time: 
125 Minutes
Did You Know?

Special Make Up Effects Artist Rick Baker went to Universal to tell them he had to be a part of this film. Universal had already chosen him as their guy but had no way of getting in contact with him because he didn't have an agent.

The clothing and surrounding environments are spot on to put us in place and the acting, even if Benicio Del Toro (Che) takes a bit to come into his own, is drawing. Everything seems to be in its place to make Joe Johnston’s (Captain America) revision of Universal’s legendary creature feature The Wolfman everything we had hoped it would be. As the transformation loomed my thoughts were on Rick Baker (Special Make Up Effects) who helped to create without a doubt the best werewolf transformation in film history in the 1981 classic An American Werewolf In London. Expectations were extremely high for The Wolfman but unfortunately those expectations were not met for several reasons.

Where to begin? For starters, my greatest anticipation, the werewolf transformation, was good but not great. What made Bakers American Werewolf feat so perfect was the organic look and feel of the transformation. Here there is a touch of that in the film but as always CGI comes in rearing its ugly cartoonish head. Why do movie studio’s always believe that bigger is always better. The film manages to keep some of its campy looking 40’s feel with Benicio’s finished Wolfman form which is anthropomorphic like Chaney was in the original, human shaped, but more massive. As if we couldn’t relate superhuman strength to a fictitious creature without the psychological link between size and strength, but that brings me to my second point.

The Wolfman is not written to appease the logical. This is nothing more then a popcorn flick designed to press certain buttons. Designed to make you jump in your seat is less of a psychological scare factor and more of a quiet to loud ratio popping up every few minutes. The blood and gore factor is less about design and more about giving the audience what it is that studio's think they want. In one scene a claw goes through a man’s jaw and comes out of his mouth, pauses for effect, then the man disappears into the darkness. Its flashy, done to show off a bit, but not impressive. As the film moves on the gore and violence becomes almost laughable as it dips into the stereotypical and adds nothing to the story but cringe worthy moments made cringe worthy only by their lack of substance. It subtracts from the animalistic savagery of their movements and make a mockery of the creature we should fear. Other oddities are camera effects such as characters stepping outside of themselves or dream-like camera shots that don’t add much to the film and look kind of cheap. Aside from that the story is almost non-existent. Yes I know it’s a remake, yes I understand that the filmmakers want to leave a bit of an homage at its core, but for some reason the story just isn’t there. Shocking really when you consider the team of writers on the film were Andrew Kevin Walker (8mm, Se7en, Sleepy Hollow) and David Self (Road To Perdition). The love story comes out of nowhere, the back story is stretched out to an unnecessary point, and when its all over and done with your not quite sure how you got from point A to point B, or frankly, if you even care.

Is it a film that people can enjoy? Sure. Absolutely. It reminded me of the 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. That film has a great look to it, terrific locations and sets, a decent enough story that if you didn’t take seriously at all you’d get some enjoyment out of. The Wolfman is exactly the same. Nothing that’s going to replace your favorite film of all time but one that will give you some escapism and entertainment as long as you avoid putting to much stock into it.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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