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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Wolfman(2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Joe Johnston

Starring:
Benicio Del Toro/Lawrence Talbot
Emily Blunt/Gwen
Anthony Hopkins/Sir John Talbot
Hugo Weaving/Abberline
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Stage actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) returns home in England when he learns that something Puppy Chowed his brother to death. Obsessed in knowing who’s behind the murder he starts nosing around and eventually gets bitten by an unseen beast. As the full moon rises, Talbot turns into a wolf man and mangles the village inhabitants into Kibbles and Bits. Good doggy now fetch!
THE LOWDOWN
Although I have never seen the Universal 1941 classic THE WOLF MAN (yeah, I gotta change that) and that I was aware of the re-shoot/release date bump abuse this one went through, I was still in a tizzy to wrangle it to the ground and neuter it silly. I’m a big Hammer fan and a classic monster story set in old school England with Gothic vibes up the ying yang spelled fun times to me! So did this bitch come through?

On some levels…YES. To start with, THE WOLFMAN gave me its paw and played nice when it came to its astonishing visuals. Man this baby looked good! Director Joe Johnston put out an interesting mix of old school and modern camera moves, the cinematography was cranked up to Gothic sweet while the production designs were simply amazing! Oppressive countryside, spooky woods, run down country houses, an imposing mansion…the whole of the film reeked of gloominess and I for one lapped that juice up and begged for seconds. The veteran cast was also on the money! Great man Benicio Del Toro (Lawrence Talbot) and sexy Emily Blunt (Gwen) made for likeable leads even though they weren’t given much to do onscreen other than look bummed out. On their end, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving stole the show with their quirky stints. Hopkins in particular was obviously having a Hefner party with the part (10 bucks he was drunk on set…any takers?) and I dug watching him do his wild thing. Now that I think of it, the smaller roles were more compelling than the leads…. hmmmm?

Effects wise, the flick was a big deal for me because it saw the return of King Tut effect master Rick Baker to the wolf-man fold. He of course created the best werewolf transformation ever clawed to celluloid via An American Werewolf in London (1981). Although not near the tour force he pulled off in that film, Baker still came through here. His prosthetic wolf effects was gold design (loved that they kept to the original’s look) and execution wise and the (not long enough) transformation bits sometimes echoed what he did in London, hence all good with this jerk. I’ve heard some complaints about the use CGI in the film, although obvious now and again, it didn’t bother me much... yes... even when he was running. Moreover, the gore in this petting zoo from hell was plentiful and then some. This was a much messier affair than I expected it to be and I wasn’t complaining. I hope you like lots of Ketchup on them fries cause this one went buck nuts on that front! Topple on top of that a handful of rousing and viscerally shot “wolf man goes postal” action bits, some groovy ideas (loved how the wolf man went from running on two feet to then running on all fours like my ex… cool) and a potent score by Danny Elfman and you get a genre puppy that looked fly, was heaps of fun and that put its money on the screen where it damn belongs.

Too bad some that dough didn’t wind up going in the pedestrian, one dimensional and often muddled storyline though. THE WOLFMAN’s chain of events was way too predictable and rarely took chances. I kept feeling I had seen this movie a zillion times before. They should’ve randomly went against the grain, keep the audience on its toes, surprise them and shit (no that anti mystery doesn't count). The movie fell flat on its nout when it came to its lead character Lawrence Talbot too. The dude was just there and taking into account what he’s going through, I expected to feel something for the guy! Nope! If Talbot and his plight would have been more layered and developed it would’ve upped the stakes of the storyline big time. Same went for the quasi love story going on, it wasn’t fleshed out enough to affect me one way or another. The heart of the film was sadly cold. And was it me or was the ending a rip-off on the finale of WOLF? I half expected James Spader to pop up out of left wing, a-hole smirk in tow. Finally, the evolution of the narrative was clunky, sometimes rushed or/and all over the place. Yup the Post production woes were fairly obvious with this one. NOTE: Will I address the Wolf Man’s clothes always returning intact after a night of human chewing? Nahhhh!

On the whole I boogied to THE WOLFMAN on a cosmetic and easy thrills echelon. The movie was vacuous, but still a ride and a half to sit through! I was entertained no doubt. Alas it was way too thin, safe and clumsy in the story department for it to fully kick my ass to pooch heaven. Howl at this moon! and then kiss it! ZIP!
GORE
The Wolf Man was on fire when it came to doing the human laundry. He went all out with graphic ripped off limbs, all kinds of blood and guts thrown around, some impaling, grisly bites/clawings, beheadings and more! It’s a gore party and you’re invited!
T & A
Nope Emily Blunt’s naked back was simply not enough for this perv.
BOTTOM LINE
THE WOLFMAN made for a moody, well shot & acted, hairy dose of gory fun! Just think how much better it could’ve been if they had a more novel and smooth storyline, a stronger axis on characterization and a meatier love story. This flick should’ve had a heart and a soul – the premise and situation begged for them – I didn't feel them. I wonder what the director’s cut will give us? If it will fix the problems I had with the film. Cause as-is, it was all icing and no filling. Still an amusing watch though! Your call!
BULL'S EYE
The flick was originally scheduled for a November 12, 2008 release.

Director Mark Romanek was initially attached to direct. Romanek left due to creative differences and for a while Brett Ratner was considered to replace him.

Benicio Del Toro also produced the film, he's a huge THE WOLF MAN fan.

The make-up took three hours to apply, and one hour to remove.

Gene Simmons and David Lee Roth, did the Wolfman howls.

HOWL AT THE WOLFMAN OFFICIAL SITE

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