The Wolfman (2010), starring Benicio Del Toro, Simon Merrells, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt
Reviewed by: The Masked Reviewer
The first thing to know is that The Wolfman is a remake of the 1941 film of the same name. But unlike so many other remakes, re-imaginings, or reboots The Wolfman can stand on it’s own furry feet.
Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns home after his younger brother Ben (Simon Merrells) has gone missing. His father Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins) is more concerned about Lawrence being back in town, than about his missing heir. Meanwhile, Ben’s fiancee Gwen (Emily Blunt) has been searching for weeks to no avail. Unfortunately, Ben is found slaughtered by an unknown creature, and Lawrence is injured fighting off this creature of the night. Now his living nightmare begins. Strange dreams, recalling traumatic childhood memories, and when he wakes up he finds evidence of the recent murders. Is he going mad or is there something much worse going on?
Cast of The Wolfman (2010)
- Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro, Guardians of the Galaxy): A quiet, reserved man with a rather interesting history. He is a complex character with very personal reasons for staying silent that are slowly revealed throughout the film.
- Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins, Thor, The Silence of the Lambs): Lawrence, and Ben’s aloof father. He keeps his children at arm’s length while looking down on everyone else.
- Solana Talbot (Cristina Contes, Die Another Day): John’s long dead wife. Her death destroyed the Talbot household.
- Ben Talbot (Simon Merrells, Spartacus: War of the Damned): Lawrence’s younger brother that has recently gone missing. His death leaves a large shadow over the whole town, and the rest of the film.
- Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt, Charlie Wilson’s War): Ben’s fiance that contacts Lawrence when Ben goes missing. She is a kind, intelligent young woman that does not buckle under pressure.
- Maleva (Geraldine Chaplin, Chaplin): A kind gypsy woman, that saves Lawrence’s life and tries to help him with his problem.
- Aberline (Hugo Weaving, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings): A police inspector called in from Scotland Yard to solve the rising death toll, in this small town.
Review of The Wolfman (2010)
Rick Baker is back with a new werewolf design, and it’s amazing as usual. The werewolf is a blend of CGI, and Rick’s masterful makeup job. The eyes are deep set, the jaw line is on point, the teeth, and claws are perfectly imperfect, and the makeup lets Benicio Del Toro move around with relative ease making easier to emote through his actions. The CGI is mainly used for transformation, and impossible stunts no human being can perform.
Differences from the original
This version of The Wolfman is different from the original in many ways. It borrows from Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf, as well other werewolf films. How the story was told also changed in this film. The 1941 film had the viewers seeing the events of the film for Lawrence’s eyes. This version of the story is from outside of his head. This film is set in the 1900s so when Larry restrains his emotions it makes sense in the film.
Benicio Del Toro did a great job with the script he was given. As did all of the other actors, and actresses, but their individual performances were not as compelling as the original. The Wolfman did an amazing job with the atmosphere, and use of violence, making it scary, but missing the heart of the story. A man trapped in a monster’s form at night with no control, scared of himself, and regretful of what he has done. All of that came from Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance.
The relationship between Lawrence and Gwen changed for the better, but the father and son relationship suffers in this version. The original is a classic because of the likeable characters, and their interesting relationship dynamics. The remake feels like a real town with a werewolf problem, the characters feel like they fit the times they live in, and the remake explores new grounds. We wander the halls of an ancient hospital, we see how the mad are treated, and we follow a broken man trying to solve a mystery before the next full moon.
The Wolfman feels like its own werewolf movie, which is a great thing to say about any remake. The Wolfman isn’t a perfect movie, but neither was the original. Both are excellent in their own way.
I rate this movie 4/5
Editor’s note: The Wolfman is rated R, with gory violence; I wouldn’t consider it family-friendly