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Director: Joe Johnston
Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik, Richard James, Catherine Balavage, Aimee McGoldrick
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)
Official Website: http://www.thewolfmanmovie.com/

Opening Day: 18 February 2010


Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, "The Wolfman" brings the myth of a cursed man back to its iconic origins. Oscar® winner Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father (Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins), Talbot sets out to find his brother... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself.

Lawrence Talbot's childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades recovering and trying to forget. But when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers, and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) has come to investigate.

As he pieces together the gory puzzle, he hears of an ancient curse that turns the afflicted into werewolves when the moon is full. Now, if he has any chance at ending the slaughter and protecting the woman he has grown to love, Talbot must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoor. But as he hunts for the nightmarish beast, a simple man with a tortured past will uncover a primal side to himself... one he never imagined existed.

Movie Review:

Cinematic werewolves of late have been rather sexed up, with powerful lycans duking it out with vampires from the Underworld series, or featuring strapping young men running about topless in forests thanks to Twilight's depiction. So despite having The Wolfman's release postponed from November 2008 (yes) to this week with indications of either a studio's lack of confidence or that of a troubled project, this is one heck of a breath of fresh air having Joe Johnston's werewolf movie going back to its roots and origins in a remake of the 1941 film Wolf Man, and in some ways playing out much like a glossy veneer of a basic B-movie that worked.

For the uninitiated (oh the horror!), werewolves turn from human to wolves when the moon is full and bright/ Think of it in some ways as an animalistic Incredible Hulk, where a transformation from man to beast comes complete with the shredding of clothes, and a bad attitude in wanting to destroy and annihilate humans as sport. Intelligence gets dumbed down while beastly abilities become unsurpassed in speed, dexterity and even healing and regeneration of cells. To stop it means a silver bullet right through the heart, but this means killing the man whose shell the wolf inhabits.

The look of the film follows an overall downcast mood and dread, where Shakespearean actor Lawrence (Benecio Del Toro) returns from to England from the US when notified by his would-be sister in law Gwen (Emily Blunt) about the disappearance of his brother Ben (Simon Merrells). So he returns home to his father Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), who seem delighted that his prodigal son had returned, though now wishing to investigate the demise of Ben. Then we're introduced to big set action sequences in remote forests to my favourite scene at the asylum and onward to the bright lights of the big city, and in between learn the mystery behind the Talbot family.

So the questions one will ask are, how goes the transformation, and how savage is the beast? You've got to wait about 50 minutes before you see the first full fledged transformation that painstakingly takes its time (think ala Bruce Banner to Hulk) to show the grotesque twisting of bone structure to that of a wolf, though curiously this version here is equally adept at moving on two hind legs, or on fours for maximum velocity. It's no more some cheap hairy gimmick to see the transformation just happen, but one that's staged with room for the actor to project pain as his body undergoes physical change. Del Toro is convincing in his role as the harbinger of death, with his dogged looks exuding emotional baggage that his character has to carry in life, and now coupled with something worst that he has no control over when the full moon is nigh.

For the modern audience weaned on gore that comes as a staple these days thanks to torture porn horror, the Wolfman features its fair share of dismembering of limbs, wicked claw action, and plenty of blood spurts and bodily guts spilled around to make it one bloody affair, especially when the beast starts feasting. Joe Johnston also finds it amusing to scare audiences with sudden quick cuts, which does get tired as the trick dries up pretty fast. While it's a guilt trip of glee watching how the Wolfman shred and tear up human tissue that stands in its way, be warned though that the film is hardly an action one, making each action sequence highly anticipated just to see how the filmmakers think up of more ways to entertain.

Anthony Hopkins continues to lure you in thinking that he's basically fuddy duddy and harmless, though his Sir John Talbot does disappear halfway into the movie for a significant while, which is a pity since he and Del Toro do share some excellent chemistry as father and son sharing an unmentionable past filled with a dark secret. Other notable supporting roles like Hugo Weaving as Scotland Yard's inspector Abberline somewhat disappointed with the limited role he's got in the story save for a few witty retorts, being the hunter without much to do except chasing his own tail, and Emily Blunt plays the unfortunate token female love interest with a romance subplot that was all but forgotten, making it all quite a waste of talent here since they got to do the absolute minimal.

With excellent and beautiful looking costumes and production sets, coupled with a haunting soundtrack by Danny Elfman, Wolfman goes back to basics in its retelling of a horror classic, only to turn it into something glossy, but failed to boldly reinvent the wheel to make it definitive..

Movie Rating:

(Classical monsters never go out of fashion!)

Review by Stefan Shih


. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

. Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

. Underworld Evolution (2005)

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