Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 12, 2010

Beast of burden

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:57 pm

February 12, 2010

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt

Director: Joe Johnston

The Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro is a spectacularly silly remake of the 1941 classic werewolf movie starring Lon Chaney Jr. This brand new version set in 1891 England stars del Toro as Shakespearean actor Lawrence Talbot who returns to his family’s estate after his brother’s murder at the hands of a mysterious creature. This unhappy visit reunites him with his estranged father (played by Anthony Hopkins) and his brother’s fiancée (played by Emily Blunt), but when he himself is bitten by the beast, he too becomes a werewolf on the run from angry locals.

Despite its sturdy cast, some neat special effects, and the appropriately gloomy camerawork and set design, The Wolfman never quite succeeds as a thrilling B-movie, burdened as it is with that ponderous story of a prodigal son who must finally confront his family’s dark past. Too much screen-time is wasted in profound verbal exchanges between Talbot Sr and Jr, when what you really want more of are some good old-fashioned scares.

There’s one really delicious scene in a mental asylum where del Toro’s character, strapped down into a seat, transforms into the beast before a packed hall that only moments ago was mocking him for his hallucinations. Alas there aren’t too many such spine-tingling moments that might have elevated this plodding saga into a fun-fueled ride.

Emily Blunt is always watchable, even in her bit part here; while Anthony Hopkins’ indifference suggests he’s too bored to bother with a performance. It’s Benicio del Toro who brings that doomed quality to his central role, but fails to invest any humanity in the character, and as a result you can’t empathize with his unfortunate condition.

Ultimately, The Wolfman is cheesy Hollywood schlock, and while it’s not a complete waste of time, I can’t honestly say that it’s anything more than a time-pass viewing. So two out of five for The Wolfman; it’s not scary enough to be exciting, and not campy enough to amuse you.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress