Saturday, February 13, 2010

"The Wolfman" Returns!

The Wolf Man, perhaps Universal’s best character from the classic rogue gallery that is the Universal Monsters, Get’s to hunt again in the remake of the 1941 original, The Wolfman. The movie itself was brilliant, to say the least, but those who go expecting a big picture remake of the original will be surely disappointed.

The Wolfman tells the story of Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro), who returns to Blackmoor, England, after receiving the news from that his brother is dead. There, he reunites with his father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) and meets his brother’s girlfriend, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt). After seeing the savage wounds on his brother’s body, he concludes that nothing short of a large beast could have done such a thing. He goes out to hunt the beast (which local peasantry tell is a werewolf), but is infact bitten by the beast himself. The local legends come true- on the night of the full moon, Lawrence Talbot transforms into the Wolf Man, and instantly starts attacking and viciously killing the local population. Scotland Yard inspector Francis Aberline comes to inspect the gruesome deaths, and becomes obsessed with hunting down the Wolf Man.

Benicio Del Toro, who was last seen in the equally brilliant Che, delivers a fantastic performance as Lawrence Talbot and the Wolf Man. He plays the part of Lawrence Talbot rather coldly, so it is hard to gain an emotional connection to him, but this is redeemed when Emily Blunt arrives as the love interest. Anthony Hopkins also gives an equally chilling performance as his father. Art Malik also appears in a smaller part, which is a shame. Joe Johnston should have utilized his part as the Talbot servant a bit more.

One thing to note is that this film is not for the faint hearted. When the Wolf Man attacks his prey, you see everything- and when I say that, I mean their internal organs. The film is horrifically violent. It has everything from disembowelment to beheading, but it is done in a style where it is not distasteful. I think the film is a great retreat from the mindless slashers that populate the horror genre today. However, I would not suggest bringing any children with you, as they’ll probably have nightmares for months.

Overall, The Wolfman does not disappoint. However, those who are fans of the original (including me) will be a little disappointed at how different the film is from the original. Although it utilizes the characters and the very general story of the werewolf, it does nothing in the way of a remake. It is an entirely different movie. Whilst this is refreshing, those who are hardcore fans of the original (and the Universal Monsters brand in general) will be disappointed at the lack of similarity.

Hopefully, the film will open up some more remakes of Universal’s Monster properties. There is word of a Creature From The Black Lagoon remake, as well as a Bride Of Frankenstein remake. Additionally, there is an upcoming project named Dracula: Year Zero, which follow the events that lead to Dracula becoming a vampire. However, this does not mean anything- these projects have been floating around since the rather disappointing Van Helsing, and nothing has come of them. Hopefully, something will, but for now, the future remains uncertain.

1 comment:

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