23 October 2010

23 Oct - "The past is a wilderness of horrors. Lawrence, I'm glad you're home.".

The Wolfman (2010)
dir. Joe Johnston (Jumanji, 1995)

Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, 2000)
Emily Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning, 2008)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
Hugo Weaving (Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 1994)
David Schofield (The Last of the Mohicans, 1992)

I did some serious multitasking while watching this one! I also took notes! And I discovered I have problems distinguishing Benicio Del Toro and Javier Bardem!

Ok - I guess they don't look THAT much alike, but they do have that swarthy, hispanic, heavy-jawed thing going on and it wasn't until the movie was over that I was 100% sure it was not Javier Bardem that I was watching. I also thought Benicio del Toro directed Pan's Labyrinth until just right now (Oops! That's not even close).

I don't know where to start! At first The Wolfman was really good! I thought the only reason it didn't do well in the theaters was that gothic horrors weren't really in the mode now (What was the last one? The Others?) But then it sort of devolved into a Van Helsing/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sort of mess. Was this supposed to be about coming to terms with the undeniable-yet-ultimately-unacceptable beast that exists in the heart of Man or is this about beasties tearing it up? Because you're not allowed to have it both ways.

There was some cool visual stuff, Anthony Hopkins was supposed to be some sort of Great White Hunter type guy, and he had this tiger-fur lined coat that was badass. Also the African-Animal topiary garden where child Lawrence discovers his dead mother makes me want to live in an old-time British estate.

On the other hand, the second half of the movie was really tedious and predictable. Really shameless forshadowing is rampant throughout. The one exception is a silver cane/sword received by a mysterious stranger near the front end, which entirely violates the rule of Chekov's Gun, and I'm not sure whether I should be relieved about that or not.

A few points remaining:
1) Cameo by GOLLUM at the 35-minute mark

2) Death toll in the 20s, but the DEER survives.

3) Old-time insane asylums are the scariest places in all of space and time

4) Requisite circling dolly shot of the anti-hero perched on the edge of a rooftop and howling

5) The romance was SO contrived: OMIGOSH - he taught her how to skip stones! They are soul-mates now! I have asked countless male-types to teach me how to skip stones, and not only have I never fallen in love with any of them - I still can't skip a damn stone. This scene irritates me.

6) Where can I get some arcane old textbooks with monster illustrations?

7) The sequence of full moons is insensible. From Buffy, I know that the full moon lasts for 3 nights a months. However, in Wolfman, it only lasts for one. Fine. Whatever. Here's the timeline.

Moon1) Lawrence visits the gypsies, gets bit by wolf.

Moon2) After recovering from his injury for a month, Lawrence transforms into a werefolf and kills many townsfolk, he is apprehended in the morning.

Moon3) Lawrence has been confined in a mental asylum for what we can assume is one month. He transforms and kills many sinister old-time doctors. In the morning he tells his GF that he has to return home to kill the first Werewolf (for vengeance reasons)

Moon3-4???) Lawrence returns to his home (after dark!!!) pursued by his GF and Scotland Yard after a journey which could not have sensibly taken a whole month, and seems to have only taken the day (making it the night after the full moon). Nevertheless, Lawrence and the original werewolf transform well after night has fallen! Grrr, sloppy storyline.

Last point: They stole this scene from The Lion King, and it's weird how obvious it is.

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