I saw The Wolfman Friday night.
It was okay.
I mean, mostly, it was good. An old story being retold in a new way, with some new twists. The older version, of course, is a classic. I don’t think this version will withstand that particular test of time, but it wasn’t as bad, say, as Legion.
This new version parallels the old one in many ways, but doesn’t take long to depart significantly from the original plot. In a nutshell, a brother, Larry Talbot, played by Benicio Del Toro, estranged from his family, drawn back to his childhood home by the sudden and slightly mysterious death of his brother. He comes back for the funeral, but ends up getting drawn into a murder investigation by his deceased brother’s fiance. That private investigation brought Larry to a gypsy camp. While there, a beast of indeterminate, but vicious, nature runs through the camp, savaging many of the townsfolk and gypsies and, of course, Larry, too.
That incident changes Larry.
He turns into a werewolf, a lycanthrope. And, that’s pretty much where things start to really change in regards to the plot as well. The similarities between the two movies, new and old, depart drastically here.
In this version of The Wolfman, Larry fights his transformation aided by his father, in a way, and his father’s manservant, who is a Sikh. The townsfolk all want to kill Larry for what they think he’s become, but his brother’s fiance doesn’t care what he is, because they’ve fallen in love.
Well, I suppose the story is somewhat predictable. He can’t control himself or the transformation and, most importantly, he can’t control what he does when he transforms into the werewolf. This, naturally, is the conflict that drives the plot of this movie. So, to tell you more would ruin the movie, which means, of course, I won’t tell you about it.
I will tell you, though, that there are a few new twists which, while interesting, are no less predictable. And, near the end, it gets weak. I mean, really weak. Not just predictable, but, well, pretty thin. And, frankly, it took an otherwise okay movie and, well, sort of drove it into the ground. Also? The absolute end could have redeemed this movie, but, sadly, it doesn’t.
So, in the end, unless you’re a huge fan of someone in this film or Rick Baker’s makeup and effects work, I can’t really recommend it. At least, not at full price. If you need to see this movie, hit the matinee, or just wait for it to come out on DVD.
In spite of a pretty good premise, a classic movie for seed material, and a great cast, this movie comes out all mediocre. It’s sad, but there it is. Better ways to spend your money in this economy, so save it and see something else.