Werewolves are one of the oldest monster stories who have a long legend attached to it. In the recent times, the Harry Potter and the Twilight series have attempted to give Werewolves a goody-two-shoes spin, but most of us only remember werewolf as a good old blood thirsty monster who transforms into a wolf during a full moon night. Hence it was heartening to know that a new Werewolf movie was coming up which would be full of blood and gore and not just a werewolf who wants to teach his nephew or wants to woo a girl besotted by a vampire (sheesh). But sadly, The Wolfman doesn’t live up to the expectation and becomes a movie with a yawn inducing storyline and some strictly OK visual effects.
The story starts with the death of Ben Talbot. His fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) invites Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) to investigate the reasons surrounding his brother’s death. In the process he learns that his family and the house are believed to be cursed. Off course, here the curse means that a shadow of Werewolf is always there on the family. At the same time an inspector from the Scotland Yard, Francis Aberline (Hugo Weaving) comes down to investigate the mysterious deaths that have been occurring in the village. As Lawrence learns more about his own family, especially his dad, Sir John (Anthony Hopkins, in a wasted role) we learn more about his disturbing childhood events which leave an inedible scar in his and his dad’s life. When Lawrence gets trapped in his family curse, he develops affection for Gwen who attempts to find a cure for the curse thereby putting Lawrence and the audience out of their collective misery.
The relationship between Lawrence and his father is the pivotal plot point; unfortunately, the relationship is not fully developed. The events of Lawrence’s childhood were interesting but not much was depicted. If more reels were devoted to the childhood events of Lawrence then perhaps we could have empathized with the Werewolf more and thereby feel for the character. The way it’s been done, we really don’t give a damn about him and just want the movie to end.
The director Joe Johnston attempts to give a dark and melancholy environment throughout, but never really manages to set the mood right. Most of the events are predictable and there’s never a real effort made in giving some twists to make the viewer engaged with the story. The movie starts pretty well though. The attack on Ben and the environment of the castle is shown convincingly enough. Lawrence’s father and his faithful man servant Singh do have an air of intrigue around them. The entire scene involving the attack in the gypsy camp is pretty riveting. But the movie moves downhill after that. Its almost as if the curse that hits Lawrence, hits the movie also. Talk about realism!
The movie boasts of a stellar star cast comprising of Anthony Hopkins, Benicio del Toro and Hugo Weaving, but none of them have anything great to contribute. They do help in making some of the dialogues seem plausible, but they don’t leave a lasting impact on the viewer’s mind. The cinematography by Shelly Johnson and background music by Danny Elfman are some of the redeeming features of the movie. The few gory scenes that are there keep get coming have an air of repetition about them and are disappointing as well.
This was a nice opportunity to start the Werewolf series for the current generation with a story that could have been darker and more violent. But nothing new is attempted in The Wolfman and the audience gets bored by the entire proceedings. It is said that Benicio del Toro (who is also the co-producer) took a lot of interest in the movie as he was a fanboy of Werewolves series. I am not sure if even he’s proud of this movie.
First Posted on PFC