Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Review: The Wolfman

It's a pity this film didn't come out last month, because what could be a more perfect tie-in for our Wolf Moon theme? But then again, werewolves are ravenous beasts, so this tale fits well with the Hunger Moon monthly dare as well!

This 2010 version is apparently a relatively faithful adaptation of the vintage 1941 version starring Lon Chaney Jr. I've somehow never seen the original, so I have to take everyone else's word on it and judge the movie with fresh eyes.

The Wolfman gets high marks for scenery, mood, costume and performances, especially Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot, the main character's menacing father; and Hugo Weaving as Abberline, the badass detective who I would have preferred as the focus of the movie.

Benicio del Toro does fine as Lawrence Talbot, the actor who returns to his family estate to investigate his brother's mysterious death. Unfortunately, he looks and sounds exactly like a younger version of comedian Rich Hall, and thus I could not take him seriously.

Though the movie attempts to be serious, with its brooding characters and the mystery surrounding the titular wolfman, I found the wolfman attack scenes to be so graphically over-the-top in their gore as to be nearly laughable. Perhaps I was supposed to be shocked by the intestines spread everywhere in the aftermath of a full moon's rampage, but instead I just rolled my eyes.

And that brings me to my main problem with The Wolfman. I constantly questioned the central concept of the murderous lycanthrope. Why does the werewolf tear numerous victims asunder in each attack? We're told that man lets out his inner beast under the pull of the full moon, but beasts don't murder. Beasts kill only what they need, eat it, and leave the picked-over remains for the scavengers to dispose of. Monsters kill indiscriminately, but wolves are not monsters. I'd hoped that, now that we live in more enlightened times, this movie might examine the werewolve's motives a bit, perhaps even show a struggle of beast vs. monster, but it never got that intellectual.

The truth is, I've never liked the werewolf myth, and I avoid most books and movies about them. As such, I am not the target audience for The Wolfman. Those of you who do enjoy tales of lycanthropy (and who haven't seen Rich Hall in numerous episodes of QI) will doubtless enjoy this haunting trip through the misty moors.

About the Reviewer:
AJ of Erthe Fae Designs splits her time between tribal belly dance and creating beaded jewelry. She likes the color green, shiny things, corgis, her husband, tea, and hanging out with dance friends.


  1. Very interesting. I became a Benicio fan when he was in "Fear and Loathing", I'm definitely going to check this one out. What I've seen of it (commercials, trailers) do seem like they could be a bit laughable.

  2. My hubs had a similar feeling after seeing the film, left him a bit disappointed.
    Thanks for a wonderfully well-done review :D

  3. I love Sir Anthony Hopkins. He is a wonderfully talented actor- so I almost went to see this movie. Then my best friend told me how absurd the gore and violence was...same as you! He was laughing!
    Guess we've still gotta wait for an intelligent monster film.