Friday, 12 February 2010



This is the second film of the year so far that's been dogged by studio executives messing about with the finished product. A few weeks ago we had Edge Of Darkness which suffered from men in suits tinkering and changing and rejecting a music score by John Corigliano; now we have The Wolfman which was supposed to come out last year but instead was re-edited and rescored to ultimately little effect, finally limping out over Valentine's Day weekend.

Ostensibly following the same setup as the 1941 Lon Chaney version The Wolf Man, this one has English aristocrat Benicio Del Toro (a Puerto Rican actor playing English with an American accent) returning to his ancestral pile and bonkers Dad Anthony Hopkins (a Welsh actor playing English with a wandering if-it's-Tuesday-it-must-be-Irish accent), after the pre-title killing of his brother by a mysterious beast on the moors during a full moon. Emily Blunt (English, playing English and sounding it) is the late brother's fiancee who doesn't really have much to do, and Hugo Weaving (Nigerian-Australian) is actually the fictionalised real-life Inspector Abberline fresh from his Ripper investigations. Some circus gypsies, as in the 1941 film, are camped on the moors; they're led by Geraldine Chaplin (playing unidentified Eastern European). Look, I don't care where actors come from but they really should try and sound like they're all from the same hemisphere at the very least. Bloody mayhem ensues as the beast gets loose.

It's a movie that doesn't really work, almost certainly due to the interference of the studio numpties. Presumably it's supposed to be a straight homage/reworking of the Chaney version (Del Toro at least resembles Chaney but behaves nothing like him) with the dry ice pumping over the moorland but the level of gore and grue distract from the period recreation. Some of the effects work is obviously CGI as well. For a while it was even going to have an electronic (!) score by Paul Haslinger replacing the gloomy Gothic Danny Elfman score; when that didn't work they stitched back the Elfman, tailoring it to fit the new edit that was shorter by half an hour. In the final event it's all a bit of a mess, sadly, and not much of better watch than the Chaney. The midnight moorland stuff and period detail look fantastic, though.


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