Thursday, February 18, 2010

THE WOLFMAN - anaemic

Joe Johnston, hack director of such memorable fare as HIDALGO, JURASSIC PARK III and THE ROCKETEER (oh yes!) creates another cine-clunker with his ill-conceived remake of the Curt Siodomak classic, THE WOLF MAN.

The story is simple. Innocent Lawrence Talbot is bitten by a werewolf on Blackmoor while investigating his brother's savage death. He has to fight to stop the beast, while battling with his own lycophagia, all the time being hounded by the police and the psychiatrists, and with the help of his brother's attractive fiancée, Gwen.

Neither gory enough to be convincing as horror, nor well-acted enough to be convincing as familial drama, the movie occasionally plays as a campy spoof. It's surprising to me that the production design is so hi-rent - with richly textured costumes, and decadent gothic sets. And yet, the make-up design for The Wolfman is distinctly unconvincing, running a close second to Ang Lee's bouncing luminous green HULK as the most implausible filmic creation. You watch the sub-par transformation scenes, and the Teen-Wolf-laughable Wolfman bounding across London and you're taken out of the movie immediately. And as for the acting, despite the high quality cast (Anthony Hopkins, Geraldine Chaplin, Benicio del Toro, Emily Blunt, Antony Sher), the performances seem flat and uninspired. Only Hugo Weaving, as a mis-placed Inspector Abberline, looks like he's having any fun at all.

What a waste of a fine cast. What a waste of the beautifully decorated sets, period costumes, and lush Danny Elfman score. What a waste of my time and money.

Additional tags: Joe Johnston

THE WOLF MAN is on global release in all bar Russia, Australia and Poland where it opens next weekend, Israel where it opens on April 1st and Japan where it opens on April 23rd.

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