Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Wolfman

Whilst watching The Wolfman last night I learned several things..

1. This film is clearly made by Americans as the foggy English town of Broadmoor seems to be a stones throw from London yet it's townsfolk display every regional accent (mostly northern) in britain.

2. The cast are very talented but seemed to get duped at the last minute when their director gets changed into the guy who did Jumanji and their lauded script by the guys who wrote Seven and American Beauty gets put through a shredder.

3. No character has any logical response to being afraid, only the need to do something stupid to put them in an even more dangerous position. Like Jordan doing all those jungle challenges.

4. Benicio Del Toro looks more and more disappointed with himself and the film as it goes on, by the end he doesn't seem to give a shit.

5. Anthony Hopkins is so ambitious with his character he doesn't want one accent he wants five, he goes from Hannibal Lecter to Sean Connery within the same sentence at times.

There are more but simply put The Wolfman feels like something that seemed a very good idea at the time but became more and more half arsed. Imagine a man who decides that one Sunday he's going to clean out his garage and all the junk and then after working for a bit he starts to get bored and tired and finds things he doesn't want to throw out even though he doesn't need them and then he realizes time is getting on and there are better things to do so he hastily shoves all the mess into a corner and pretends to himself that he really nailed it and can ignore all the things he intended to do and never did.

The components of The Wolfman seem all great, great cast, writers with big reputations, Danny Elfman, lots of fog and candles, Rick Baker (who does the awesome effects in American Werewolf in London) but at the last minute the original director quit, maybe because his ideas weren't commercial enough or maybe he just lost faith in it. Either way Joe Johnston came in (Jumanji, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park III) to try and get the job done. He obviously had a tough job at short notice but the film plays out with a series of walking in foggy woods and something makes you jump, to walking down creaky corridors and what's that? Oh it's just the dog and then something else makes you jump again right after. They're cheap cliched scares and there are so many of them you don't really get much sense of story or tragedy in what happens.

Benicio Del Toro is the grieving brother of a dead, er, brother who is sent home at the request of his dead brother's grieving widow Emily Blunt (I should re-do that sentence). He's an actor but she seems to mistake him for Columbo, then he mistakes himself for Columbo and sets about trying to solve the mystery of his brothers death and after about ten minutes of detective work and asking some gypsies gets mullered by a werewolf, then after suspicion from the towns folk and protection from his suspicious and morally indifferent father Anthony Hopkins (who is plain bizarre and not even sure himself of what his character is supposed to be) becomes a werewolf, makes Emily Blunt fall in love with him by being the only guy her age around the place and kills people. An interesting element in a mental asylum never seems to play out as well as it should and there's plenty of gore and things to jump at, but not much in the way of sense or drama.

The Wolfman will appeal to those who like to be scared but not unsettled, there's limited character and despite a great cast nobody really gets a lot to do.

**

Highlight
Hugo Weaving as Inspector Abberline is just right, weary with a touch of humour and somebody who is brave for a reason. My favourite moment was of him ordering a pint of bitter in monotone Agent Smith manner. Shows how hard it was to find a highlight.

Lowlight
Anthony Hopkins and the teddy bear's picnic gone wrong end fight. Just stupid and lame.