The Wolfman – Big Bark, Little Bite

The WolfmanI first encountered The Wolfman at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con and being the werewolf fan that I am, grew excited with anticipation of its release.  Little did I know at the time that it would be a full year and a half before this movie finally landed in theaters.  It was, without a doubt, one of my most anticipated films of 2010.  Notice I said ‘was.’ 

The Wolfman is another remake based off the 1941 original; The Wolf Man.  In this latest version, we find Benicio Del Toro assuming the role made famous almost 70 years ago by Lon Chaney Jr.  Unfortunately, this year’s release comes up short.  Even with greats such as Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving, the movie doesn’t impress, though it has its moments in the spotlight…err, moonlight.  On the negative side of things, the plot just drags on like an injured animal.  Normally I can’t stand it when people talk in the theater.  About halfway through this movie, I welcomed it.  Anything to pull me out of the cinematic purgatory that I was watching would be a distraction greeted with open arms. 

When you have a film about Transformers, you expect to see them often in the film, and that you do in both movies.  When you have a film about a wolfman, you expect to see a wolfman often in the film, but here you won’t.  Please don’t mistake me.  I’m well aware the creature is not going to be in every scene.  That would be ridiculous.  However, I would like to see it more commonly than what I experienced in this movie.  The build-up does itself an injustice by keeping Benicio Del Toro in his human state too often.  Even as much as I enjoy the work and talent of Del Toro, I’d have to say that he may not have been the best choice for this role.  Some of his lines are so unconvincingly delivered that it became an awkward experience to listen. 

Finally, some of the CGI is so bad that it’s nearly laughable.  The bear is the best example of the worst kind of such imagery.  If you see this picture, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  I just sat there bewildered as some shots of various animation sequences looked incredible while others looked downright amateur.  Now, onto the high points!

Anthony Hopkins is pure magic in front of the camera.  Combined with his body language, this guy speaks his lines in such a way so that I am utterly convinced he is the character he signed on to be.  Hugo Weaving is another thespian who falls into such a category.  This duo is tough to beat but even they couldn’t save this film.  I must also mention the very beautiful Emily Blunt who holds her own in the film, getting caught between love and sympathy.  Though not earth-shattering, her performance is still a good one that impacts the story. 

Another plus to The Wolfman is the phenomenal makeup job that was applied.  Even on close-ups, you will be hard-pressed to find a gap or design flaw in the lycanthropy-suffering Del Toro.  If they’re still giving out Oscars to makeup artists these days, the person or people that did the work on this film definitely deserve one.  Lastly, the CGI transformation process that Del Toro’s character goes through is absolutely believable and painfully realistic.  It is a saving grace for the aforementioned computer-animated bear that looked more cartoonish than anything else. 

The Wolfman offers up a good surround sound experience at the theater and will likely impress your ears right off your head when it is released on Blu-ray.  The movie does show us some action scenes of pure rage, though they weren’t enough to get the adrenaline flowing.  This will make a good rental for some, but not for most.  I certainly don’t wish for this movie to fail at the box office, but I also don’t think it’s going to be around for long.  It’s probably best to cease with the remakes of this title and move on to something else.  Oh Rob Zombie, how I wish you would reconsider work on The Blob. 



The Wolfman Theatrical Poster



5 Responses to “The Wolfman – Big Bark, Little Bite”

  1. Brian White

    Well I guess I owe you a big thanks and a debt of gratitude for saving me $10 and 108 minutes of my life from being wasted. The tradition holds true…it’s always a bad sign when a movie takes 2-3 years to come out after its supposedly wrapped up. Hey, there’s always Shutter Island next week. I have to have one movie that I can proudly say will land in my future Top 10 titles of 2010.

  2. Bob Ignizio

    Yeah, this was pretty terrible. And that CGI bear (and the deer) were just ridiculous. I mean, how hard would it have been to call up an animal wrangler and have the real deal sent over to the set? This definitely feels like it started out as one kind of movie and then got test screened and tinkered with to death.

  3. Gregg

    Exactly! I’m not expert, but the cost of animation these days is NOT cheap and one would think that an exotic pet or animal handler and the requested animal would be the way to go. You can’t get any more realistic than bringing in the actual creature. Instead, the movie ended up using a PC and some really costly software and the end result was purely awful.

  4. Brian White

    FYI…Your CGI Bear comment sealed the deal for me. No Wolfman in my future.

  5. Gerard

    Wow, so much hate. It is what it is. I’m glad they didn’t water this down to a PG-13 flick. This had some serious kills, violence, and gore. It was a HORROR movie!

    Yes, the bear and deer were cgi, but the wolves, for the most were all practical.

    I read that when this hits blu ray, there will be 17 more minutes of footage restored–for those that want more “story” in their…werewolf movies. lol