Starring: Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Gene Simmons, Geraldine Chaplin, Art Malik, Nicholas Day, Michael Cronin, Dianne Pilkington, David Sterne, and Sam Hazeldine.
Directed by: Joe Johnston.
The first five minutes of “The Wolfman” defines the nature of the entire film; allow me to describe it to you – We begin with the original rhyme narrated by Maleva (played by Geraldine Chaplin) and we then see Ben Talbot, brother of Lawrence Talbot (played by Benicio del Toro), hunting a werewolf in the woods of Blackmoor. Long story short, he loses to the beast. Cut to the film’s title engraved on a gravestone. All one could do is sigh and say “And here we go…”
Following the campy direct-to-video stylized opening and title sequence, we are shown a film that is essentially a remake of the 1941 original of the same name, albeit in a much more sloppy fashion. I say sloppy because this film is poorly edited. There is repeated use of time lapse footage that becomes downright distracting all throughout, the first and third acts feel completely rushed as well. It did Lawrence quite a while to transform into the werewolf, he doesn’t transform until about midway through the film, so that’s a plus. The character-devoted scenes seem to take their time, that’s another plus.
The film feels like it’s missing a lot of scenes, however, as it jumps around quite a lot. I get the feeling that this film was originally two hours long, give or take, I would have much rather seen that film instead of this badly cut theatrical garbage. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and, to a much lesser extent, “The Mummy” were better films than this (especially ‘Dracula’). While watching the first act of this film, the movie “Van Helsing” kept popping in and out of my head as I was forced to sit through the cookie-cutter editing and poor characterizations.
As far as performances go, del Toro is a bit passive here, Blunt and Hopkins do good with what they’re given (especially the latter). “The Wolfman” tries too hard to be an action horror flick but it fails, right down to the cliched Hollywood-ridden werewolf battle in the film’s climax. This would have worked better as a horror thriller (like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, once again). Instead of putting any deep thought into this film, it’s as if Hollywood just rushed through their library collection of classic flicks and remade it just for the heck of it (like they usually do nowadays). Now, will the real ‘Wolfman’ remake please stand up?