The Wolfman (2010)
Even a man pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf
After the original film that went on to spawn various remakes and crossovers (i.e. "Frankenstein meets the Wolfman), Joe Johnston tries his hand at reintroducing the classic iconic character to a new generation. Lawrence Talbot (Benecio Del Toro) returns to his home when he hears that his brother has been killed by a mysterious beast. Taking it upon himself to investigate the matter, despite his father's objections. Lawrence Talbot feels the need to avenge his brother's death. For you see after their mother died, Lawrence reminded his father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), too much of her. Therefore, he sends Lawrence away to live with his grandmother as a child. Lawrence and his father haven't spoken to each other for years since then, which means he was rarely there for his brother as well. Hence, why he feels he owes it to his brother's memory to avenge him. Aided by his brother's widow, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), who he's been secretly been in love with since the moment he met her, at his brother's wedding. Unfortunately, he gets himself into more than what he bargained for, as he gets bitten by a wolf after his interrogation of the gypsies. Thus, causing him to morph into the savage Wolfman, who stalks the villagers near Talbot Manor, and craves for blood. Is the Wolfman a monster? Or perhaps a disease of the mind of the savage darkness that lies within us all? Or maybe humans are just as devious and evil as the Wolfman himself?
Unlike many remakes that often fail to live up to the original, I found that "The Wolfman" holds up to it quite well. Although the original is still far better, this new remake reintroduces "The Wolfman" to a new generation without sacrificing too much of the original story while implementing unique and clever plot twists. Unlike the original story, this new version of the story not only explains the estranged relationship of the father and his prodigal son, but it becomes a focal point of the story. Allowing for the viewer to not only feel more engaged into the story as the supporting characters are given much broader roles, but the love story between Gwen and Lawrence is much more fleshed out as well.
Even the setting of the story is much more appropriate as it helps the mystique of the Wolfman. Taking place in a Victorian England, where society is more superstitious, and night skies are so foggy that it allows for the horror to shine through. Allowing for the Wolfman to create a much dark and sinister presence, in which the terrify the audience.
Sadly, the movie does have a few flaws though, For one the CGI can look a bit fake at times, when the Wolfman runs and jumps through the woods. Often looking plainly like a cheap computer model where the character almost seems weightless jumping through the woods. Thankfully, it's only a few scenes that are like this, so I doubt seriously it'll bother most viewers or will most of them notice. However, it's worth noting.
Another problem I had was some of the unexplained plot holes in the film itself. Like the film never explains the origins of where the Wolfman came from, or even how the legend began. Basically meaning that the film assumes everyone is already familiar with the legend, and leaving it up to interpretation. Plus, when Lawrence confronts the man, that bit him as the Wolfman, he finds out that he too was bitten by another Wolfman up in a distant cave. However, they never explain why this other Wolfman was up there to begin with, as that part was kind of vague. And if there's more than two Wolfmen out there, then where are others? After all, the Wolfman that was hiding out in the cave survived and escaped after it bit the guy, who inevitably bites Lawrence. Therefore, where are the other Wolfmen? Sadly, this story never explains it, as it leaves it up to interpretation. However, it doesn't ruin the story too much by any means.
Sadly another issue I had with this movie was that the violence and gore was a bit too excessive. Don't get me wrong, I love a good old violent monster movie as much as the next guy, but it seems like Joe Johnston purposely goes out of his way to make this film as violent as possible just to make the Wolfman more horrifying. Unlike the original, where it used mystery and story telling to create the horror behind the beast. Where as in the remake, it has a strong story that's poised to do just that, but it gets ruined by the violent and gory scenes that become too overly exaggerated. Very similar to how when Tarantino used too much violence in his hit film, "Reservoir Dogs." Although I do like both "Reservoir Dogs" and "The Wolfman (2010)", I just rather "The Wolfman (2010)" focused more on the story rather than it's excessively violent scenes.
On one high note, I felt the actors in this movie played their parts rather well. I loved how Anthony Hopkins played the neglectful father to Benecio Del Toro's character so brilliantly, as you could almost feel the hatred and animosity between them. Both men tolerating each other because their family, but deep down you could just feel a bitter hatred for one another through their performances. Then there's Gwen, played by the lovely and talented Emily Blunt, who comes off as rather charming in her role as the saddened widow, yet desperately wishes to help cure Lawrence of his condition.
Then there's Hugo Weaving (Abberline), who plays the hard nosed detective that investigates the series of murders made by this alleged Wolfman. I always thought Hugo Weaving made a great villain. In fact, he was the only consistent actor that I liked in "The Matrix trilogy", who carried his role quite well; outside Laurence Fishburne. Sure, the last two films royally stank, but Hugo owned the role of "Agent Smith" in all those films despite having to work with a mediocre script. Let's just say, Hugo does a great job once again playing the vicious and hard nosed investigator wanting to kill the savage beast.
Overall, this isn't a bad movie by any means, but it's not as great as it's original story due it's obsessively violent nature. With the exception of a few scenes, the special effects are very well done and shouldn't disappoint. "The Wolfman (2010)" remake may not be as great as the original movie, but it's definitely worth looking at if your into the whole monster mythology lore.