Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review - The Wolfman

Caught up with this on DVD. 'Tis the season.
With the right frame of mind and a taste for some horror movie camp, The Wolfman can be quite enjoyable, but shouldn't be mistaken for a good film. The narrative is clunky and bluntly told, often relying on expository backstory in an attempt to give dimension to characters that were never meant to be deeper than a puddle. Benicio Del Toro is rather wooden when his face isn't buried in prosthetics, and struggles with an awkward accent.

But let's be honest, did we really expect that much from a mid-February release? We might have expected a few quality scares, but even those weren't delivered with 100% conviction. One expectation that was fulfilled, however, was the film's beautiful design. From the Gothic sets to the distinctive costumes to the foggy silhouette-laden photography, it hearkens back to old-school excessive Hollywood film-making, and serves as a respectable homage to the original Wolf Man from 1941. And of course, not enough can be said of makeup effects legend Rick Baker, whose ground-breaking work on An American Werewolf in London in 1981 was what first prompted the Academy to instate a Best Makeup category. It's great to see him return to his lycanthropic roots!

I'd be surprised if he doesn't earn yet another nomination, no matter how poorly the film was received. It's an exceptional accomplishment that would easily top any of 2009's.

** out of ****

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