Well it has been a long time coming, but I have finally gotten around to seeing this movie. I have to say that I am very impressed. Out of the original Universal Monsters, The Wolfman is only ever seconded by Dracula. So as you can imagine I had my reservations from the start. I wasn’t really sure if I liked Universal revisioning the old classics. With amount of revisions and remakes out there though, it was only a matter of time before these screen gems were dusted off. It wasn’t until I saw the first bit of advertisement for the movie that my hopes were lifted.
Let me start with the story first. The story fallows Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) who ventures back to his home town of Blackmoor to investigate the disappearance of his brother. Upon arriving he finds out that his brother has been killed by what seems to be an animal or a lunatic. Once he sees the state of the body, he is then compelled to stay and investigate what happened to his brother. While investigating at a gypsy camp he comes face to face with his brothers killer. While in a struggle with the beast he is bit, and thus cursed. Now there is also a plot with his father (Anthony Hopkins) and a small side love story with his brothers fiance’ (Emily Blunt), but I really don’t want to give too much away at this part in the review. I really hate spoilers in the middle of a review, so I will reserve any and all comments that spoil the movie at a labeled spot at the bottom. Now on with my thoughts. I really feel that they delivered on the story. They kept enough of it intact that you can still call it The Wolfman, yet added enough to make it stand on its own. The original story I don’t feel would have stood up very well in this day and age. So that added dramatics were really a must to bring people into the story. Again the only problems I had with the story were toward the end, and as promised, I will not discuss them in this portion.
I would also like to touch on the visual dynamics of the film. The director really did a fantastic job visually in this piece. From English country side to the streets of London, each brings its own touch to the movie. Mt favorite of them being the scenes in the forest. That was always a scene that stuck out for me in the original, was the Wolfman stalking around in the foggy forest. They take that visual and tweak it in just the right matter to make those scenes just epic. It also goes without saying that Rick Baker did an awesome job with the make-up effects. I know a lot of people were very disappointed with the use of CGI in the transformations scenes. This is where my opinion differs. I feel that this is the CGI age in movies, I really don’t feel that a practical make up effect could have pulled off what needed to be done in the film. I was just happy enough that the Wolfman wasn’t going to be all CGI, and feel you should just be grateful that they still use a man in make up. I was really starting to get disillusioned with werewolf movies. I mean with all of the CGI werewolves and bad puppets to boot, it’s been a while since I have seen a decent werewolf in a movie. All in all, I feel Rick did a very good job updating the old Wolfman to the 21st century, yet still maintaining some semblance of the old look.
One last thing i would like to touch on before i move to the spoiler section is the acting. The cast really seemed to mesh in this movie wonderfully. Benicio played an awesome Lawrence Talbot. When i saw the first pictures of him in the role, I really didn’t think he was going to do the role justice. Thankfully, I was wrong and he delivered a very strong performance from beginning to end. Anthony Hopkins does as Anthony Hopkins always does. He takes the role of Sir John Talbot and delivers in full. Can you really expect anything else from the man? Also in fine form was my man Hugo Weaving is the role of Inspector Abberline. I am always impressed with Hugo’s work. He can take a character that is really only meant as a supporting part and play it with such greatness. Overall, I don’t think they could have picked a better cast then they did. The movie wouldn’t have been the same with out them.
So what do i rate the movie? I give it 4 out of 5 Top Hats. I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it to watch it. Then when you do, proceed further to my spoiler section. I know some of you are going to do it anyway, and i will now take the time to tell you, you are a naughty little cheater! I bet you read the last two pages of a book don’t you?
If you have not watched the movie, I implore you to go do that THEN read further!!
So here is the only problem that I had with the movie. The only problem that i felt it necessary they lose a full hat rating. What was the deal with making the father a werewolf too? Was it really that necessary? I mean I sort of enjoyed, but then I was like “No, they could have done without that.” Don’t get me wrong they couldn’t have picked a better actor to play that part. That role has Hopkins written all over it! Some how I just can’t stop thinking that they could have taken it a different route, and the movie wouldn’t have suffered. I think a big thing that kept me from enjoying that aspect was the fight scene between the two wolfed out Talbots. The only thing i kept thinking was “So this is what ir would have looked like to see Michael J. Fox and James Hampton slug it out! (If you haven’t seen Teen Wolf to get the reference, go see it) Anthony Hopkins werewolf even had grey hair to boot! It was hilarious to watch once you get that image in your head. My only other regret in the movie is that you will never get to see Abberline wolf out. I don’t discount the movie for that though. I will if they make a sequel, but for now it’s just awesome to think of a werewolf Hugo Weaving.