Last weekend was a really poor time for Universal Pictures to release their remake of The Wolfman (remember when it was originally scheduled for theatrical release on April 3, 2009?). It was up against the rom-com powerhouse chick flick Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day weekend and the adaptation of the popular children’s book Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Therefore, it’s not surprising that The Wolfman, directed by Joe Johnston, came in third at the box office with $35.5 million — not too terrible, but far below its $150 million budget.
So, there’s a chance you had to take your gal last weekend to Valentine’s Day or your kid to The Lightning Thief, instead of seeing The Wolfman and I’m here to tell you that if that’s the case, you’re missing out. Go this weekend! The film, starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving, is a return to old-school horror where you’re chilled and frightened, as opposed to disgusted and mortified.
If you have seen The Wolfman, then, it’s time for SPOILER TALK! Below are some of my spoiler-filled thoughts on the film, and as always, remember to leave your thoughts about the movie here below in the Comments section.
— I don’t know how the screenings were across the country, but the one I admitted played the movie really LOUD. Now, I’m somewhat hearing impaired and yet I had to keep my finger in one ear through the entire film. Very distracting and irritating to my ear.
— As far as the acting went, I thought that Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot was the standout performance of the entire film. The scene when he visits his son at the asylum and reveals their family secret is worth the price of admission alone. This is followed closely by Hugo Weaving’s Scotland Yard Inspector Aberline, who’s investigations remain rational in a wholly chaotic time (werewolf on the loose!). If the film had been just these two actors, it would have been great! Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt’s performances weren’t as strong, though in all fairness, I don’t think they were given such great material to work with. Del Toro mostly had to act conflicted and anguished, while Blunt hardly had anything to do till the very end.
— To elaborate on Del Toro’s film performance, I felt that he was the weakest part of the film. When in human form, he was too meek for someone who supposedly made a living as an actor and at times I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Perhaps, because Lawrence was back home in a setting where he suffered boyhood traumas, he reverted back to the way he used to be. He did better while transforming, although when he was yelling lines like “I will kill all of you” he sounded like a pouty teenager.
— Gwen writes to Lawrence to tell him to come home after his brother Ben — her fiance — is killed. He does, they meet first time, and soon after they fall in love. Even after Gwen learns his tragic secret, she still continues to be in love with him, which seems unlikely, especially after losing her fiance at the hands of a werewolf so recently.
— As soon as Lawrence arrives back home from America, his father John alludes that Lawrence could be a werewolf. Why would he say that when the werewolf attacks, including the one that killed Ben, occurred while Lawrence was still abroad?
— After Lawrence is bitten by the werewolf, the townspeople come to get him and put him away because they fear him and what he could do. He’s then taken to an insane asylum where the doctors mock him for “thinking” he’s a werewolf. This part didn’t make sense because it was the townspeople who made this claim, NOT Lawrence. Why would the doctors have committed him?
— We find out Lawrence’s father had been a werewolf all those years and that Lawrence had actually witnessed his father as a werewolf kill his mother. While Lawrence is in the asylum, he has flashbacks to when he was in an asylum as a child (after witnessing his mother’s murder) and we see his own father administering the ice-bath treatments to him. I’m wondering if his father actually did this or was this symbolic?
— When Lawrence transforms into a werewolf, they make it a point to show the back of his shirt ripped, yet the back of his pants doesn’t rip at all!
— At times, when the transformed werewolves are running from behind they look ridiculous. They look less like werewolves and more like men in wolf masks hunched over running.
— Gwen desperately wants to save her new love Lawrence, so she goes to the gypsies for help on what to do. I forget what the gypsy women said exactly, but I know I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. Was she basically saying, “You’re fucked, he’s screwed, give it up!”? I’m not sure.
— At the end of the film, Gwen is racing against time to get to the Talbot mansion where Lawrence was about to transform. We’re led to think she might have a plan to save him from his fate, yet she gets there and nothing — no plan, zero. Why was she rushing to get there then? How was she supposed to face a werewolf?
— At the end when father and son werewolves battle each other to the finish, this was one of my favorite parts!
— The film looked amazing, from the darkness of the Blackmoor woods, to the moonlight dangerous nights, and the haunted feel of the Talbot mansion. The best looking scenes were those in the streets of London at night — exactly the spooky feel you’d expect from a Wolf Man movie. It made me really wish this movie had been released around Halloween, where it would have gotten the respect it deserves.
— The transformations: Awesome! The last thing you want to do is laugh when a werewolf is on the loose, so the filmmakers really scored with having make-up effects master Rick Baker doing the creature work.
Ok, your turn: What did you think of The Wolfman? How does this remake stack up to the original?