Sunday, February 14, 2010
I WANTED MORE
THE WOLFMAN (B)
This was one of my most anticipated movies of early 2010. After seeing it, I can't go as far to say this movie disappointed me in the end, but I really wanted more out of it. The Wolfman has plenty to remember for it's glory, but also suffers from less memorable pieces of mediocrity that hurt the overall value. Boosting the film's redeem-ability is the stunningly gorgeous and immensely talented Emily Blunt. She stepped up her acting game to the next level to prove her worth in a cast that featured Academy Award Winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award Winner Anthony Hopkins, and the underrated Hugo Weaving.
The Wolfman is a dark tale about a countryside that is cursed with terror in the form of a ravenous wolf-like creature (hence, The Wolfman). Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) returns home to discover the whereabouts of his missing brother. While looking for clues to this mystery Lawrence crosses paths with the beast in the forest. Trying to save a young boy from certain mutilation Lawrence is bitten by the Wolfman. Unlike many victims of the malicious creature, he survives the attack. Thought to be a lucky man for his survival, the opposite proves to be true as Lawrence discovers the wound carries a curse turning him into an uncontrollable murderous beast.
The screenwriters kept details in the dark preventing a real sense of understanding for certain portions of the story. Some are elaborated upon later and others are missed. Certain details were deemed understood without definition. Example: I know this could be assumed, but what is the Wolfman's purpose when he transforms? Does he lust for blood? Does he need to feast on human flesh? Or is he just a wild beast reeking havoc?
Those are some broad questions I did not feel like the movie appropriately addressed while watching the malevolence of the monster tear apart and gorge countless victims of their lives and limb. Even wild animals have a purpose for their destruction (survival, food, protection of their territory).
The poorly defined rampages was my biggest problem with the script. I also thought the story was poorly structured without a lot of creativity to take this menacing tale to the next level. The gore didn't leave much to the imagination and was often inserted to pass as storytelling for that scene ("throw in some blood and guts and we'll go from there").
The screenplay also featured outstanding dialogue fitting of the time period that sometimes sent delighted chills through my body. As some may know, a movie can be below average in many regards, but have great dialogue (like this one) to make it so much better from my perspective (You've done terrible things Lawrence, terrible things). The skillful dialogue is a huge reason why this movie rated higher than the mostly average flick it was.
The Wolfman featured some of the best cinematography I have seen this year (though 2010 is still young of course). The movement and following shots from the camera were constantly catching my attention for its beauty. Many of the well crafted shots created a sense of uncertainty for what is to come. The bleak candle light hardly cut through the darkness in many scenes setting the ominous mood for this eerie tale.
In need of mention is the exquisite (and I mean absolutely fantastic) costumes and set design. Both were equally impressive and made the viewer feel like it was indeed the 19th century. I also have to throw some love to the original music composed by the highly regarded Danny Elfman. The movie would have been much more simplistic without his score heightening the mood and tension in each scene.
Overall, The Wolfman was a movie that stimulated my senses but never ensnared them. It was not terrifying like the trailers led on to, and was only moderately suspenseful. Once the details in the last act are unveiled, the movie pretty much follows as suspected. Another thing that was off putting was the Wolfman's resemblance to Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. I didn't find the creature very scary looking at all. His actions were deplorable and disgusting, but just looking at him never struck fear into me. I wish the filmmakers worked harder to create a unique intimidating beast.
The star power is enough to make this film memorable. The intricate pieces that enhance a film's worth for myself (music, costume/set design, dialogue, Emily Blunt's marvelous face) will probably be less appreciated by the mass audiences. My recommendation is to check it out and generate your own opinion. I can see this movie hitting or missing with movie goers.
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