Universal Pictures

Anthony Hopkins; Benicio Del Toro; Hugo Weaving; decades of improvement for transformational effects. What could possibly go wrong for the 2010 adaptation of The Wolfman?

I almost didn’t find out, since I almost fell asleep half-way through the film, but I’ll give it a shot.

I am not a remake snubber. I think of movie remakes as like stage performances. There’s always the same basic script premise, but the directors and producers make the story fit their vision. Whether or not that vision is any good remains to be seen. You don’t see an outcry every time there’s a new version of Hamlet on Broadway. Why should movies always have to prove themselves in comparison to an original?

However, Wolfman will be yet another failure to keep the fires against movie remakes going.

If you can’t guess what happens, let me summarize:

(Spoiler Alert! Not really. This movie is surprise free. You can get the plot from the trailer. I guessed correctly from the trailer about who the original werewolf was.)

A young Shakesperean actor, Benicio Del Toro, returns to Blackmoor to learn what happened to his murdered brother. He gets bitten by a giant dog, and every full moon he turns into a smaller, hairier version of the Incredible Hulk. In doing so, he becomes the greatest Shakesperean actor ever, causing jealousy from Aberline, a detective from Scotland Yard. Everyone thinks he’s just a madman, so they send him to London, where he goes on a short killing spree in a mental asylum, probably because they kept dosing him in ice water. When he becomes human again, he goes back to Blackmoor to confront the original werewolf, his father Anthony Hopkins, who rips his shirt off as they go at each other in wolf-fisticuffs. After killing his father, he tries to sex up his dead brother’s girlfriend, played by Emily Blunt, who shoots him.

Universal Pictures

So, what works? Well, the acting seems as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, the story is so boring, that the only time you really wake up is three-quarters through when you hear Benicio Del Toro raise his voice, yelling “I will kill all of you!”

But after that, you can go back to sleep.

The transformation effects were very good. Using CGI for the transformation gives a lot of leeway in what you can accomplish, and it shows how torturous such a transformation can be. The problem is that at the end of the transformation, there is Lon Chaney’s wolfman, in all of its understated glory.

The story suffered above everything else, mostly because it left few surprises. You knew what was going to happen from the preview, so there really wasn’t much to look forward to. Even the intense gore from wolfman attacks were yawnable. It’s amazing that this script was rewritten during shooting. I’d hate to see what it looked like before.

I’m sorry, but I am falling asleep as I write this, as I have to dredge up how boring this movie was again, and it is putting me into a napping mindset.

I give this movie 1.5 full moons. Do yourself a favor, and watch An American Werewolf in London again instead of this waste of time.

By Pat Emmel

Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.