Watching a film that you were excited to see is almost always a recipe for disaster. The Wolfman is a film that had many people excited to see it. Take four top-notch actors and a script co-scribed by the writer of Seven and you’d believe that you have a successful film on your hands. Sadly, the only thing shocking in this film in how much it actually ends up disappointing you.
This film begins by rushing through its introduction and headlong into the plot so fast that you wonder if the editor actually lacked the necessary footage to complete it properly. The pacing is so fast that you get the sense that the filmmakers involved had no interest in holding your hand through this movie. Which would be refreshing if this movie had anything new to offer the audiences, and fans of the horror genre.
The acting is probably the most disappointing factor in the execution of this film. You have Bencio Del Toro playing our lead role while Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving are supporting. The cast for this movie couldn’t have been more spot on. Although something is to be said of that. Very proficient and talented actors understand the need for direction and follow their guidance with little to no second guessing. When your director is Joe Johnson, second guessing is something you should probably do. Johnson’s work has consistently shown that he is more comfortable working in the world of effects than he is in the world of actors. He gave us such horror masterpieces as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park 3.
Full of beautiful imagery and dark moods you can’t help but question where this film went wrong but on your ride home the answers just come to you. Special effects are the only reason this film was made. Every major plot point seems to rely heavily on some sort of special effects. Johnson having won an Oscar for special effects would of course rely on this. The acting was placed on the back burner, the names of the actors will be enough to draw audiences to the theaters but their performances will only hinder their careers. The story was nothing too innovative or thought provoking.
It’s hard to say who contributed what to a script when it goes through rewrites and multiple writers. Story will always be king. Lawrence Talbot’s relationship with his father could have been used to really achieve a dramatic connection with the audience. While Lawrence is in the asylum he looks back over his life and realizes who his father his, he should also be second guessing what he really believes to be true. This film could have really saved itself if the audience left the theater not sure if the Talbot family was cursed with lycanthropy or just feral madness.
Sometimes the best films learn from the lessons that the previous generations taught us. Since The Wolfman is a 69 year old re-imaging of the classic Universal film The Wolf Man you would assume that they would learn as much as possible from everything that filming has picked up along the way. Instead it’s a disappointing lesson in what will happen if you don’t.
The Wolfman is rated R for bloody horror, violence and gore. 102 min.