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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Wolfman (2010)

The first hour of Joe Johnston’s (JUMANJI) retelling of the 1941 THE WOLF MAN is surprisingly good. There seems to be a respect for the source material (though the film is transposed from the 1940s to the 1890s) and Johnston takes his time it letting the story unfold in its own time without diluting the tension. There’s an elegant patina combined with an old fashioned gothic horror. Alas, the film beings unraveling in the second hour starting with a ludicrous asylum sequence that derails the movie and from which it never recovers (nor does our initial goodwill). The film becomes everything we feared it would be. Benicio Del Toro brings a gravitas to Larry Talbot, the “Wolfman”, and gives a strong layered performance in contrast to Anthony Hopkins ill thought out performance as his father. Hopkins seems to be playing an anemic version of Hannibal Lecter. Still, he’s better than Hugo Weaving who’s just awful as a police inspector. The Danny Elfman score is solid if derivative of Wojciech Kilar’s score to Coppola’s DRACULA. Come to think of it, the film seems influenced indirectly by Coppola’s 1992 film. With Emily Blunt, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Von Sydow and Art Malik.

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