Thursday, October 24, 2013

31 Days of Halloween - Day 24 - Movie 2

After his brother goes missing, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) returns home to help search for him. His brother is found dead, apparently the victim of an animal attack. Lawrence himself is bitten by some sort of animal, a wolf probably, that slaughters a large number of people at a gypsy camp. When more people are killed it appears that Talbot is the killer, and has suffered a psychotic episode that makes him believe he is a werewolf. After being taken to a mental institution where part of his treatment is to expose him to the full moon in order to prove that this belief is all in his head. Lawrence transforms into the wolfman, kills more people and races home to confront his father (Anthony Hopkins) about the terrible truth behind what's really going on.

I saw The Wolfman (2010) in a theater when it was first released, and was greatly disappointed. For whatever reason I decided to give it another shot and see if my opinion would change. It did. I liked it even less this time around. It has plenty of atmosphere and makes use of fantastic sets and locations, but overall its a dull movie with changes made to the storyline which are clearly there with the idea they would better capture the limited attention span of a modern audience. The bulk of these changes wouldn't have bothered me if they had been handled better, but they're pretty clumsy. My biggest problem really stems from what made the original The Wolf Man (1941) so great. In the original, you really felt for poor Lawrence Talbot's plight, and his character had some energy to him that contrasted nicely with the sadness that overcame him once he was sure of what he'd become. Del Toro's Lawrence is morose and self absorbed all the way through.  In fact everyone in the original had more energy and charisma, particularly Evelyn Ankers, in the role of Gwen Conliffe. The relationship between Lawrence and his father in the original is strained, but there's still obviously love between them, and it's clear his father cares a great deal for him. Here, Hopkins is completely cold and distant towards Lawrence and everyone else. This makes it hard to care for anyone, which you don't. This was really a wasted opportunity.

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