Da Wolf, Man!

One of the problems with taking other people’s advice about what movie to see is that they might get upset with you if you don’t like it as much as they did. (And that’s all I have to say about that. You know who you are.)

The Wolfman is a newish movie by the kind-of all over the place Joe Johnston, director of such diverse films as Jumanji and October Sky. It’s oddly faithful to the original Universal classic, in such notable ways as re-creating Lon Chaney, Jr.’s furry-faced lycanthrope makeup. Nobody is calling this a perfect movie, but some parts are very effective. And, as always with horror movies, one person’s effective is another person’s cheesy laughable moment.
For me, I liked the sets, which seemed to use a minimum of CGI. I liked the makeup, as mentioned. I liked the way Benicio Del Toro reminded me of Chaney both in the thickness of his features and his sort of square acting.
Less successful was the near utter predictability of the whole affair. Now, given that this is a remake and there aren’t a whole lot of ways for the story to turn out, it actually wasn’t nearly as bad as some “original” movies we’ve seen lately. There’s a scene in a mental asylum that was both original to this remake and evocative of the 1940s-era mad scientist movies.
Also, the finale did not emerge from classic werewolf movies of the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s—which I suppose is something of a spoiler. I rather liked that, however, because the movie was faithful in so many respects to the original that updating the ending was more effective than if they had modernized everything.
Emily Blunt and Hugo weaving both performed admirably well, unlike, sadly, Anthony Hopkins, whose performance might well define the phrase “phoning it in”. (Have we seen anything out of this guy in the past ten years? What the hell happened? Is it just old age? And what the hell did he do to his face?)
A mixed bag to be sure. I rather enjoyed the overall experience as did the Old Man. The Boy did not look amused as he proclaimed that this was not his kind of movie. (What kind of movie was it? I asked him. He said, “Monster/action movies.”)
But I would only recommend to the sorts of people who recommended it to me. Heh.

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