NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

The Wolfman Movie Review: The Manimal Who Came To Dinner

By     get stories by email

Updating the 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. split personality shape shifter spree The Wolf Man on which it is based, Benicio Del Toro's confused canine in Joe Johnston's The Wolfman exhibits similarly alarming anti-social tendencies when in mixed company, but with somewhat less to chew on. And while German émigré screenwriter Curt Siodmak's classic original bore the imprint of someone who had fled the similarly lethal anti-semitic scourge of Hitler, with Bela Lugosi providing the narrative bite, the new and not improved Wolf Man veers more towards dysfunctional family conflict and outsider phobia species profiling.

Del Toro is Lawrence Talbot, at least for now, a brooding late 19th century rural British loner who was sent by his callous dad (Anthony Hopkins) to a London insane asylum and then to live with an aunt in the US, after witnessing as a young boy the violent death of his mother, an alleged suicide. But Talbot, long estranged from his father, has been summoned back to the remote family estate by his brother's distraught fiancé Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), after he's found brutally murdered, possibly by the local ostracized gypsies or perhaps a wolf. Even a circus bear owned by the gypsies falls under suspicion, though his only claim to fame is dancing.

The Wolfman Movie

And while the frantic villagers hunt for the four legged culprit, Lawrence is bitten by the apparently bulletproof beast but survives. Which according to the gypsies is an irreversible fate worse than death, because only his annihilation will put all the humans in the vicinity out of harm's way. At the same time, Lawrence is stunned by his sudden physical prowess without benefit of steroids, and a potentially uncontrollable basic instinct to involuntarily mate with the beyond clueless Victorian male magnet Gwen.

Soon a sly snoop from Scotland Yard is on the case, while the hamlet's minister deduces the havoc as God's vengeance for man's bad behavior in general, and the inhabitants accuse the gypsies of perpetrating a curse. And when Lawrence is finally cornered as the homicidal hybrid culprit, he's sent back to the insane asylum, where he soon takes it over, after objecting to what seems like an application of primitive waterboarding as a cure for what the pompous practitioners there misdiagnose as mental illness. Meanwhile, possible allusions to current fears of foreign orchestrated terrorism, as well as the appearance of Darwin's Origin Of Species shocker linking man to beast several decades prior to the timeline of this yarn, loom a bit in the background.

And without giving too much away, all does not particularly end well for the bite much worse than his bark creature. And the same can unfortunately be said for this movie, which features a like father like son climactic showdown staged more as a World Wrestling Federation bout with fur.

The Wolf Man: The Manimal Who Came To Dinner.

Universal Pictures
Rated R
2 stars

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller has a conversation with the star of a new Off-Broadway play, Sandra Lee, herself a victim of rape in the military as a soldier in Iraq.
Three Chinese boys undergo 90 days of rehab to cure their addiction for computer games and the Internet rather that prevents them connecting with others.
Ryan Reynolds sees futuristic identity theft in sci-fi thriller Self/Less. He freaks out when involuntarily biologically engineered to share the same body with Ben Kingsley
Channing Tatum returns in the title role, but legendary director, Steven Soderbergh and several actors critical to the success of the original are missing.
Stephen Boss parlayed television success into a film career, appearing in Hairspray, Blades of Glory, Stomp the Yard 2 and, most notably, several installments of the Step Up franchise.
Top Ten DVD List for June 30, 2015, including Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, While We're Young, and The Decline of Western Civilization.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site