Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Wolf Man

The original wolfman is an underappreciated classic of the Universal horror cycle. It moved at a smart pace, had a great gothic visual sense, and let's not forget the make effects which still hold up to this day. It was also one of the few truly shining moments of Lon Cheney Jr.'s career.

The new version has better actors (Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving), and of course new fangled special effects, but is it better? It takes the gothic feel up a couple of notches in some places feeling very Tim Burtonish (specially in the dream sequences), but I think the main difference in the feel between these two versions is in the main actor.

Lon Cheney played Larry Talbot as a likeable, normal lug. You could imagine watching a football game with Larry and sharing a beer. Del Toro is more distant figure. He plays an actor and as his father Anthony Hopkins remarks he makes his living pretending to be other people. Becoming infected by werewolfism becomes a process of unmasking for Del Toro and while very sympathetic I just wasn't as engaged as I was with Cheney, though definitely Del Toro is a much better actor.

There is a great scene with the werewolf coming out in front of London's finest men of medicine, and I always enjoy Hugo Weavings eye brows. The Wolfman's design was very respectful to the original and the computer effects blended nicely. I saw that Rick baker had a cameo which is a nice little easter egg. Overall, I liked it but I liked the original better.


  1. I truly hated this movie. Del Toro was totally unsympathetic and Sir Anthony's talents were wasted on this self-important downer. Hugo Weaving's talent tried to show through but it was hard to see through all the excrement.

  2. I think we both agree a different lead actor might have led to a better movie.