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Movie Review: The Wolfman

Alternate Title: Bite Me

Story: Can a really awful movie also be entertaining? I will answer that question by saying - "Oh my, yes"! I admit that I am a big fan of the original Wolfman series with Lon Chaney, Jr. There was something heartbreaking and sad about Chaney's version of the full moon monster. However, this version of the Wolfman by director Joe Johnston had me giggling instead of feeling empathy for the character. The film was written (if you can call it that) by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self and based on the screenplay by Curt Siodmak.

The good news is that the film has a beautiful and haunting atmosphere. There is lots of fog, umpteen full moons, gypsy curses (I love that) and scary things that go bump in the night. The CGI morphing of man into werewolf is very cool. The bad news is - just about everything else.

There is a semblance of a plot that is much like the original. It is 1891, England and Lawrence Talbot returns to his childhood home after his brother goes missing. The brother's mutilated body is found and Talbot is determined to find out who or what did this the dastardly deed. There is a love interest that does some heavy lip biting and chest heaving. There is the Talbot father who gobbles up each scene like his old Hannibal Lector character. There are villagers with torches (I did like that part). The dialogue is preposterous. The music is over the top and the acting is cartoonish.

That said - it was worth a couple of laughs and a revisit to one of my favorite childhood monsters.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS02xaTIdRI

Here's the 1941 Wolfman trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTNQEd8D4pg

Acting: Benicio Del Toro as the Wolfman aka Lawrence Talbot was all wrong for the part. Most of the time he seemed drugged. Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot seemed to be having a good time. Emily Blunt as lip biting Gwen hopefully got a hefty paycheck for this role.

Trivia: Benicio Del Toro was offered the role of Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls that eventually went to Javier Bardem (and aren't we glad he turned it down). He is one of five Oscar winners - for Best Supporting Actor in Traffic - to play a character that spoke mostly in a foreign language. Most of his dialog was in Spanish. The other are Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni and Marion Cotillard. He is the third Puerto Rican Actor to win an Academy Award. The other two were: Rita Moreno (West Side Story (1961)) and José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)).

Predilection: I like the Wolfman - he howls in the night.

Critters: Horses, foxes, sheep and werewolves.

Food: No time to feast while looking for the beast.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Music by Danny Elfman was over the top as usual.

Opening Titles: A scary opening scene before the title of the film that involves the disappearance of brother Talbot.

Visual Art: Splendid production values.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for the first show of opening day. The majority of the audience were men. Possibly lycanthropics all.

Weather: Full moons abound and when it is not a full moon it is usually raining.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted a bit.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: 105 minutes