Friday, February 12, 2010

Wolfen Redux

Directed by JOE JOHNSTON 

'The Wolfman' is pretty much about as in-depth as it's title. It's about the classic tale of the werewolf. This film is a horror movie of a different era: gothic, mysterious, and beautifully moody.  It was a decent popcorn movie, but don't expect to be surprised, although there are a few cheap thrills.  Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins are wonderful as usual and the movie looks beautiful.  That's pretty much it. So buy some popcorn and enjoy it.

Plot:  It's 1891, Ben Talbot (Simon Merrells) is mauled and killed by a werewolf in the Blackmoor woods. Ben's fiancee, Gwen (Emily Blunt), contacts Ben's brother, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) about his disappearance.  As a young boy, Lawrence was sent from England to America by his father because he suffered from fits and delusions upon witnessing his mother's "suicide."  This is a good explanation for Lawrence's American accent.  Now, a world-renowned Shakespearean actor, Lawrence leaves his job with the theater to return to his family's estate in Blackmoor and reunite with his estranged father, Sir John (Anthony Hopkins). I will say that Benicio del Toro embodied the essence of  Lon Chaney Jr. in this film. They even look alike. 

Upon finding Ben's mutilated body, Lawrence starts to investigate the mysterious circumstances of his brother's death.  Many blame the gypsies with the circus bear who are camped just outside of the town.  The gypsies have their own theories and it ain't no bear.  Not being attentive to gypsy warnings, Lawrence gets bit by the other wolfman and the rest is, you know, history.  Sir John's loyal Sikh manservant (Art Malik) and Gwen tend to Lawrence's wounds and he quickly recovers.  As Lawrence starts his transformation, he attracts unwanted attention from the townsfolk and Inspector Alberline (Hugo Weaving), who has arrived from London to investigate the recent murders.  Given Lawrence's previous mental history, he is a natural suspect.  Lawrence eventually travels to London for treatment.  Then we have a few American Werewolf in London scenes before the film returns to the Blackmoor.  Naturally Lawrence manages to fall in love with Gwen.  That's just a given.  Then Inspector Aberline tracks Lawrence to Blackmoor and this time he's armed with silver bullets. 

Do you know that silver bullets are extremely ineffective, even at short distances?  Silver is not as aerodynamic as lead bullets.  I don't know where the silver thing came from.  Perhaps from the medieval French town where the legend originated.  I recently learned that the legend originated from a psycho who trained his pet hyena to attack people, that's the origins of the wolfman.  Anti-climatic, not to mention truly terrible right?  And now it's entertainment.  Moving along, Lawrence returns to the Blackmoor for his final showdown...and you know the rest. 


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