DVD Review – The Wolfman

Some films may sound good on paper, but when it comes down to actually watching them it’s a painful experience. One such case is the Benicio Del Toro starring “reimagining” of The Wolfman which was an extremely troubled production which had two years of delays and reshoots until its final release. The initial version was going to be directed by Mark Romanek who left the project because of creative differences hand he was replaced by Joe Johnson who was a perfectly competent director in his own right but decidedly more mainstream.

The Wolfman is your typical werewolf film. Benicio Del Toro plays the Shakespearean Laurence Tolbert and he his brother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, so he turns back to his family estate and has an uneasy meeting with his father played by Anthony Hopkins. Naturally in the town there are gypsies that are amped nearby. Lawrence visits the gypsies during the full moon and there is a werewolf attack and he is bitten of course. His life takes a turn for the hairy.

Benicio Del Toro is a very logical casting as a wolfman due to his wolf like features and tries his best even though his attempt at a British accent leaves a lot to be desired. Emily Blunt does the typical damsel in distress perfectly fine but it’s been done before and better. Hugo Weaving plays the Scotland Yard inspector Francis Alberline and plays a relatively menacing inspector reminiscent of his career defining performance as agent Smith in the Matrix film. The DVD contains the extended version Max von Sydow which was left on the cutting room floor in theatrical cut.

The film was in development years before it went into production always with Benicio Del Toro as lead, but even with a pre production the film looks extremely rushed the CGI as so typically with CGI now looks extremely dated and at its ver worst cheap. When they actually use physical makeup effects by Rick Baker they were much more successful so much so that he was nominated for Best make up at the Oscars. Baker has recently retired because CGI has sadly taken away a large majority of his job as a make up artist and designer.

The Wolfman could have been an interesting updated reimagining of the universal horror brand but it falls flat. It took me three attempts to watch the film after falling asleep twice which is never a good sign. Universal are going to attempt to reinvigorate the brand of Universal monsters again and hopefully this time it’s much more successful. The first one of these will be The Invisible Man with Johnny Depp as the title character.

★★½

Ian Schultz

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