Director Joe Johnston has made a pretty solid name for himself in the nineties making above average family films. He was the mastermind behind “The Rocketeer,” “Pagemaster,” “Jumanji,” and the third installment of “Jurassic Park.” In 2004 he tried a different approach to film making with “Hidalgo.” After a three year hiatus, he was hired on to direct the new “Wolfman” picture. That kept him extremely busy for a couple of years. You can look for him to be the creator of “Captain America: The First Avenger” in 2011.
Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro), a damaged nobleman, is brought back home to his family’s mansion after his brother turns up missing. After being reunited with his father (Anthony Hopkins) after many long years, Talbot sets out to find his brother, and opens up a horrifying new chapter in his cursed destiny that is his life. Thirty years prior, Talbot’s childhood came to a rapid halt, the day his mother died. After staying away from the town of Blackmoor for three decades, he’s summoned home by Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), his brother’s fiancee. She fills him in of the news of his brother’s disappearance, causing Talbot to set out to search for clues. After talking with some villagers, he learns of a creature with brute strength, and a taste for blood, on the loose, and killing off the townspeople who roam at night. The town of Blackmoor will need the help of a lowbrow Scotland Yard inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving), to put a stop to the creatures blood spilling rampage. Could the identity of the creature be closer to them than they think? It will take a few full moons before its identity will truly be known. The town will have to work together, and quick, if they want to have enough people left alive to call themselves a town any further.
I know I’ve said this a few times before, but I had truly been waiting to see this film for two years. It was produced a couple years back, however, due to an abundance of teeny bopper “vampire soap opera” movies coming out in rapid succession, Universal patiently sat on “The Wolfman,” waiting for a proper time to strike. Once they found a small window where a “Twilight” film wasn’t clogging our cinema screens, they felt it would do alright. It did rake in sixty plus million. Not too bad right? It is when they spent eighty-five million to make it. Whoops. That is where my negativity stops. All that aside, Benicio Del Toro is one of the top actors out there today. He was a wise choice when they were casting the lead role. It was a surprise to me that Hollywood chose to go back to the Lon Cheney look for the creature. Less monster, and more an angry guy, with a facial hair issue. Not as scary as they had planned on. Director Joe Johnston did, however, turn up the dial on the violence. There were more than a few heads rolling on screen, which is what people want in a movie like this. The father/son conflict between Del Toro and Hopkins was well played, but not necessary. The story could have gone many other ways. In the end, the movie was not a disappointment to me, but only cause I favor Del Toro. I think most people will find “The Wolfman” leaving them wanting a bit more bite.
The Blu-ray edition comes with some pretty nice special features including 2 alternative endings, the original “The Wolf Man”, as well as deleted and extended scenes.
Review By: Charlie Giltenboth