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Movie Review: The Wolfman (2010) February 14, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews.
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Argh!

Talk about a massive disappointment.

The Wolfman (the film not the man) is a ‘remake’ of the 1941 classic horror movie (which I haven’t seen), and had been on my ‘must-see’ list for quite some time.  I’ve always been a sucker for monster movies and this one looked highly promising.

Ponder the following:

  • a classic werewolf storyline (let’s not pretend there’s any surprises here);
  • 2010 make-up and prosthetics skills combined with the latest special effects technology;
  • Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, Golden Globe nominee/winner Emily Blunt, and freaking Mr Smith/Elrond (Hugo Weaving)! and
  • script by Andrew Kevin Walker, who worked on Seven and Sleepy Hollow (plus uncredited rewrites of Stir of Echoes and Fight Club!).

There was no way this film could not be awesome.  Or so I thought.

Even when I heard that The Wolfman received lukewarm reviews, I was convinced the critics were wrong.

Well, they were right.  It’s still early, but there is a good chance The Wolfman will be my biggest disappointment of 2010.

It’s difficult to know where to begin. The Wolfman‘s biggest problem is that it’s not scary.  Not one bit.  All the elements were there – the full moon, the shadows, the misty woods, and even the growls – but there was zero tension.  Not having seen the 1941 original, I can’t say whether this was supposed to be a tribute or a ‘re-envisioning’, but The Wolfman felt like a cheesy, unintentionally comical mess.  I couldn’t decide whether it was trying to take itself seriously or be tongue-in-cheek with the over-the-top blood and violence.

The pace was all stuffed up (when a 102 minute film feels both too long AND rushed at the same time, you know there’s a problem) and the script was utterly predictable all the way to the end.  Even the music didn’t fit.  Worst of all, the special effects and make-up were sub-par.  The CGI buildings and scenery were good, the morphing process were decent, but the post-transformation scenes made me think I was watching a pissed-off Chewbacca on acid.  While there may be excuses for all the other problems, there’s no excuse for for this in a production of this magnitude.  Not in 2010.

I should have known the film was in trouble when Benicio Del Toro (one of my faves) appeared on screen sporting the worst haircut since ‘The Hanks Disaster’ from The Da Vinci Code.  When I heard Del Toro was cast in the lead role, I thought, “Great choice!  They’ll hardly have to use any make-up!”  However, that haircut made him lose all credibility, and I think the look on Del Toro’s face throughout the movie confirmed that he was embarrassed to have such an abomination on his head.

As for the others: Anthony Hopkins looked like he was just there to pick up the paycheck, Emily Blunt did her best in a thankless role, and Hugo Weaving was utterly hilarious (unintentionally, of course).

There must be a plethora of reasons why The Wolfman was crap, but the easiest point of blame is director Joe Johnston.  It’s not he is a bad director, but his style didn’t fit this film.  It may have worked for Jumanji and Jurassic Park III (and could for the upcoming Captain America and Jurassic Park IV films), but not for The Wolfman.  How they ever managed to botch up something so promising this badly is beyond me.

1.5 stars out of 5

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Comments»

1. Nate - February 14, 2010

well, that saves me 2hrs. I’m trying not to see movies I don’t need to waste time on. I was also looking forward to it…until all the bad reviews started pouring in. Part of me wants to see the *disaster* of it all with my own eyes (like Astro Boy) but I think I’ll just leave it alone this time.

pacejmiller - February 14, 2010

I’m usually the type that would still see it despite the worst reviews! You need to see Del Toro’s disaster with your own eyes! I am still deciding whether I should waste more time and money on Valentines Day (the film that is).

2. uioae - February 14, 2010

You’re losing credibility as a sensible man and a man of good taste when you tell the world you were looking forward to watch The Wolfman… But glad you suffered on my behalf.

pacejmiller - February 14, 2010

Come on!! It’s THE WOLFMAN! Any sensible person would want to watch it!

3. Nate - February 14, 2010

DON’T YOU DARE SEE VALENTINES DAY!

I may still see THE WOLFMAN, but I would never, EVER (no matter how much I love Sidney Bristow–er, I mean Jennifer Garner) waste two hours on that

Please don’t do it. Wolfman has gotten bad reviews, but Valentines is getting Fs left and right.

pacejmiller - February 15, 2010

Hah! Okay.

4. Eviltreeswithinme - February 18, 2010

Actually I thought that the movie Wolfman was pretty good and it’s not suppose to be scary. I don’t really see anything bad about it. Besides Joe Johnston showed us something different in his work.

pacejmiller - February 18, 2010

Really? You didn’t find it predictable and cheesy? Complete lack of tension?

5. 10 Worst Films of 2010! « About Writing – The Personal Blog of Pace J Miller - January 17, 2011

[…] 8. The Wolfman […]


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