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(2010)’s Remake ‘The Wolfman’ Is An Imperfect Film But Had The Seed For A Good One

(2010)’s Remake ‘The Wolfman’ Is An Imperfect Film But Had The Seed For A Good One

Growing up watching TV or film, one way or another people will be introduced to iconic characters. I always got excited for remake or reboots of original movies from years before I came to existence. Sometimes they don’t hit, but other times they do. Daniel Craig’s 007, JJ Abram’s Star Trek, Matt Reeves‘s Planet of the Apes are example of those that did, at least for me. They have tried with the slasher films but most of times they don’t come out well.

When Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman got announced I was followed it closely and when the trailer came out I couldn’t have been more excited. I was gonna get one of the classic monsters for my generation. Not only that but the cast were already some of my favorites Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, that was already vast in itself. I went opening weekend to go see it, I can’t really remember what my opinion was at the time, maybe I didn’t like it because I don’t own a physical media copy of it or maybe time just went on and I forgot about it. I’m sure most preferred to forget about it, seeing how some of the reviews are. For some odd reason the movie started to come to my mind recently and in a world full of a lot of articles, tiktok and YouTube videos on the internet about the film it got my attention more. I found out that people were actually giving it a second chance and enjoying it or people were watching for the first time and weren’t as rejective as those who saw it when it came out in theaters. I started to search it for it online to see if anyone had it, but had no luck, so I decided I was going to rent it from YouTube or where ever it was offered. I got lucky though. I was scrolling through Netflix to see what they had and then The Wolfman popped out, recently added. So I decided to watch it again to see what I thought about it. 

The Wolfman is the story of one of Universal’s classic horror monsters. Lawrence Talbot is called back home after his brother is mysteriously murdered during a time with strange occurrences happening, Talbot will be affected to become a humanoid figure mix of man and wolf which only comes out at night. The film does a good job by putting the audience back in this period of the late 1800’s with this gothic atmosphere to it. I think that was one of the things that intrigued me when I saw the trailer. I feel like if you’re going to make the classic monster stories again, that’s the feel they should all have. It’s the way I would have imagined it, the way I did imagine it growing up, I mean these figures are around during Halloween time. There wasn’t one actor in this film that I could say did so horrible. They’re fine. The production and make up are one of standouts to me. I love the sets of the period time. The first time I Lawrence transform I was confused as to if he was cgi or practical. It is a mix of both. As he is transforming its cgi, but when he is fully develop it’s Benicio Del Toro under make up and a costume. I started to pay close attention and said that’s practical that’s a costume you can tell by the way he moves how his movements make his clothes move. Even the close up of the face. It’s one of the things I loved about it. They didn’t rely on just cgi for when he becomes a werewolf. Even (spoiler) the other werewolf his father Anthony Hopkins, when I saw it, I could tell that was Anthony Hopkins face, eyes, unless they made some other person put that all on and did really well on the face. I think it was fun seeing this be made in the way the original one was. Also made it terrifying. 

Del Toro was a perfect choice for The Wolfman. He’s one of those rare great actors. I don’t know who will be the next Benicio Del Toro. But I’m grateful he’s in my time. There’s a scene in the film that just made me say that’s him, that’s why he is such a great actor. The scene is after his first time becoming the monster. He goes on a killing spree and the next morning his father wakes him up saying “you’ve done terrible things Lawrence, terrible things” Lawrence wakes up confused and looks at his clothes full of blood not knowing what he has done and the look and sound of belong freighted coming from Del Toro’s acting, it’s almost like an adult going back to a child and it helps you feel sorry for him in a way. After that he is put in an asylum and is tortured by being dropped into ice water and you can feel the physical and emotional pain from Del Toro’s scream. Anthony Hopkins playa this inhumane father well. Sir John Talbot doesn’t seem to show much love for Lawerence. It comes out more distant. It’s why I feel for Lawrence in that scene when he gets captured. His father is just observing him, and not even comforting him. His father knew what was wrong with him and just let it play out for his own entertainment. His father got lost into enjoying the feeling of being powerful as the beast and now sees a challenge. Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving are also gifted actors but there isn’t much for them which is one of my issues with the film. Blunt does play the concerned love of Lawrence’s brother which eventually she starts being concerned for him too. That’s all she’s playing, a women who wants to find answers to who or how her man died and now having to make sure nothing happens to Lawrence. Weaving I have to say just looks badass in his costume and I really like the tension between him and Del Toro. But he comes out really one dimensional.

The problem with this film is story wise or script wise. Most of the dialogue is terrible. Scenes just constantly cut to next without it even being built for the next. There’s a scene where in the last half of the film where I believe Lawrence says he envy’s his brother because he had Gwen. I think the audience is suppose to feel the love story here but honestly they did nothing in the film to really show that romance grow. The only scene I got was one where he teaches her how to skip a rock on the water and that’s it. So I don’t really believe in that romance at that point. Now I don’t know if I have or haven’t seen the original Wolfman film, but as I was watching this I started to think, are they like just copying scenes and lines from the original. Cause I could kind of see that, but I said maybe that work for time it was made in but this is like 7 decades later. Weaving’s Inspector Alberline just comes out like it’s obvious he’s just there for The Wolfman to have an antagonist. Imagine an actor being like “what’s my role?” “You’re just an inspector hunting The Wolfman, just point your gun at him”. That seems like a terrible role. The film is a mess and one can tell when viewing it. Reading up on it I found out that director Joe Johnston came in three weeks before principle photography after the original director left due to creative differences. I don’t blame Johnston, he is an incredible filmmaker, it’s proof that the film needed more time and more time in the script. I’m sure if Johnston got that he’d be able to make those changes and come out with something better than this one. The films has all it needs, the gothic tone brought by the cinematography, the production design and skillful make up artists, an incredible cast. This is one film were it’d be nice if it got a second chance but with the same team. 

One of the other things that was missing from this film was the horror. It is suppose to be a monster movie and I only got scared like twice which I thought was impressive scares, but then that was it. The fight scenes go by fast. I‘m paying to watch The Wolfman.

With all its flaws it’s still an enjoyable watch. It’s a B movie. I’m not expecting The Wolfman to be Oscar worthy but at least make it really memorable for fans of the classic monsters. To me story is always important. Either create a good story or give the audience greats actions sequences with The Wolfman. But I preferred they do both. I really thought this film was gonna kick off great monster remakes, but sadly it didn’t. Even if they ever consider it I hope they make it with a team as good as this just not with a script as bad.