Welcome, to Tango’s Thoughts October 2013 Horror-a-thon. Over the next 31 days, I will take you on a journey through horror, where I will pick off one title after another, until the exciting climax on October 1st, Halloween and I’ll be starting off our horror-a-thon with The Wolfman, the 2010-remake of Universal’s classic from 1941.
The movie stars Benicio Del Toro (Lawrence Talbot), Anthony Hopkins (Sir John Talbot), Emily Blunt (Gwen Conliffe) and Hugo Weaving (Aberline), was written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self and was directed by Joe Johnston. It was released in Italy on January 27th, 2010 for its World premiere and on the 12th of February in the US. When it comes to criticism, it wasn’t the big hit the studios had hoped for, with a 4.8 average on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.8 score on IMDB (to date). But enough of statistics and casts, that’s not why we’re here, is it? I didn’t think so…. So let’s just jump right in to it, shall we….
How do you get a perfect intro to what’s expected to be a fantastic film?You let the camera pan over a tombstone touched by moonlight while a female voice narrates the engravings;
Even a man who is pure of heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf
When the wolfsbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright
Pan the camera through a dark forest, to a man screaming at someone, knowing he is not alone. It sets up the premise of the movie and it gives you an expectation of how the movie is going to feel. It’s dark and ominous, but at the same time it draws you in. Just perfect!
The rest of the movie is pretty straight forward, using whatever it can from its source material up until the second half of the movie, giving the Universal-classic the homage it deserves while still managing to feel original and fresh. But does it have what would be expected from a werewolf-based movie? Yes, yes it does. It doesn’t show you the beast right away, leaving it to be somewhat of a mystery. The hallucinations that comes with the curse (here showing us the ‘original’ beast). It has the cliched scene where the man wakes up outdoors in bloody clothing not knowing why, it has somewhat of a love-story entangled to the plot and it has not one, but several transformation sequences. Top that off with a fantastically fierce looking beast and you have what you need for a great horror-movie.
Speaking of the transformation. Whenever the subject comes up, I can not help to compare it to one of my all-time favorite scenes, the transformation-scene from An American Werewolf in London. It is, by far, The best transformation-scene ever to be put in a monster-movie and will probably be so for a long time, but the transformations in The Wolfman is not far behind, especially the one where we get to see Lawrence transform for the first time.
Just look at it. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, gets the Tango’s Stamp of Approval. the transformation-scene is where most of the werewolf-movies fail but this one does it right, not letting the CGI take over, as it most often does on these specific sequences.
There was a few scenes in this movie that stood out a bit from the rest. The London chase-scene were we see the beast run across the rooftops of London, crushing chimneys and dodging bullets from Aberline’s revolver – fantastic! When the first beast (yeah, there’s a plurality of wolfs) taunts the Gypsy-village – It actually scared me a bit. Of course the first transformation-scene, but the transformation-scene in the asylum. Wow, breathtaking. The reaction on the psychiatrist alone was almost worth the admittance-fee.
I’m not going to dive to deep into everything about the movie, but I will say this. The performances given to us by both Del Toro (who’s performance alone could have driven this movie if it wasn’t as good as it was) and Hopkins respectively, are phenomenal and of course, Weaving delivers his Aberline with utmost sophistication, once again showing us why he does what he does.
The only thing I felt could use a once-over was the ending. It leaves you rather unsatisfied. A climactic clash, followed by a short chase-scene through the woods, it sets up what could have been a magnificent ending to a gripping tale, but alas, it kinda just ends.
There it is, ladies and gentlemen, a perfect start-off point to what will be an entertaining journey for me, and hopefully for you as well. And as werewolves and vampires seem to be going hand-in-hand nowadays, what could be better for tomorrows post, than a review of a vampire-movie? I’d say… nothing. So, tune in tomorrow for Tango’s thoughts on Dracula 2000.
Until then…. niteynite, don’t let the monsters take a bite!