The Wolfman could have been entertaining, but a dull story and lethargic acting overshadowed some decent special effects.
Something is killing people in the Victorian town of Blackmoor. Lawrence, who left decades earlier to escape his family history, returns when his brother is found dead. He is determined to find the killer, but one night as he closes in on the creature, he is attacked. Soon the townspeople believe now Lawrence has turned into the same kind of creature. But although he knows he's a danger to those around him, he still desires to find out who or what it was that killed his brother. But when he realizes the truth, it may be too late to save himself, and he may have doomed the town to complete destruction.
I had a lot of problems with The Wolfman, but there were a few things I did like. I thought the special effects were well done. Special effects guru Rick Baker was involved in the film which immediately elevated it beyond any similar film. The transition from human to werewolf was done very well and it was hard to tell if any CGI was actually used. I also like the gothic feel of the film, with everything hidden in fog and shadows which mimicked the fear the entire town had. Everything from the estate Lawrence and his family lived in, to the town to the gypsy camp, was all visually a treat. I even liked the costumes - it truly felt like I was in Victorian England. There was also a lot of blood effects, with heads getting knocked off, and guts being spilled. It seemed a bit much, but it looked good. So all in all, the presentation of the film was well done, it was just everything else surrounding it was rather lame.
First there was the story. There was no real hook to the plot. Everything was extremely predictable and at times, completely nonsensical. I didn't care for any of the characters so I didn't care if Lawrence solved the mystery or not. In fact, once he became a werewolf, and knew he couldn't be controlled, the fact that he stuck around was ridiculous. So in order to find out who killed his brother, he was willing to possibly kill everyone else around him? I guess that's the kind of plot point dozens of movies use, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. And he falls in love with his dead brother's wife? A woman he's NEVER met before, but sees for the first time in the days following the death. And of course with her dead husband lying in a butcher's freezer, she falls in love with the strange man who has spent time in an asylum and then left his home, hoping to never return. Yet somehow I'm supposed to care about these two, I'm supposed to feel something for them. I did not.
My biggest problem with the film was the acting. I don't recall the last time I saw a movie where such a talented group of actors phoned in their roles. The worst offender for me was Anthony Hopkins. Every line sounded like he was rushing to get it out so he could get back to his trailer and count the cash he was making. He felt completely disinterested in anything going on around him. As his history was revealed, at least his character's story got more interesting, but the actor never did. Hopkins is one of those people who can pull out an award-worthy performance when he really wants to, but often seems to pick roles designed to make him money. Benicio Del Toro wasn't much better. His Lawrence/werewolf had seemingly only one emotion - nothingness. I didn't get the feeling that he cared about anything. Not his brother, not his brother's wife, not finding the killer. He was just very blah throughout the film. Here's another actor who can get extremely intense and into his role and yet he couldn't muster up anything for this one. Emily Blunt was just the 'girl' in the movie - a role in this case that could have been played by anyone. The only major actor in the group who showed the least bit of talent was Hugo Weaving who stole every scene he was in. Thank God for him because otherwise this movie would have been a complete waste, even with the exciting visuals. And the movie was pretty much centered around those four. There were other secondary characters that floated in and around, but none of them had a whole lot to do other than yell once in a while. I got the feeling the movie couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a real serious old-school horror film, or a campy take on old-school horror. It tried to tow the line between the two but never really decided which way to fall and ended up feeling very flat.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was disappointed with The Wolfman. It had potential but the story and the acting held it back. There is room for a sequel amazingly enough, so I hope if they do decide to bring it back they come up with a more interesting story and some actors who really want to be there.