The Wolfman (2010)

The Wolfman

(Crown)

 

If I were to be totally honest, and I don’t see why I should be, but if I were to be, I would have to admit that the old Lon Chaney Jr. classic, a favorite of mine, might not fare that well if it were made today. That is to say, it is a bit cheese ball, a bit shoddy, and  I forgive it for a lot that I wouldn’t forgive today.

Maybe.

But let’s take a look at the new R-rated 2009 version, all beefed up with talent, such as Anthony Hopkins (returning to the old Universal homestead after working with Francis Coppola to reinvent “Dracula”), Benicio Del Toro, and the lovely Emily Blunt (whom I didn’t dig in “Sunshine Cleaning,” but must admit is growing on me rapidly).

The first thing you’ll notice is that Sir Anthony Hopkins often plays Mexicans. I remember he was in the Zorro flick.

That is probably the most important thing to notice.

Beyond that, one might get excited by the fact that there appears to be a lot of traditional monster make up in this flick, and when it is implemented the scenes tend to be better than when CGI werewolf muck about, and I yawn.  So applaud it for that. Real FX men making real monsters. There should be more of that.

Furthermore, I grew up with the original “The Wolf Man.” It was a favorite of mine since I was a kid. This one is Rated R. I don’t blame the filmmakers though. To the best of my knowledge it is mostly due to some intense violence. I’m sure “The Wolf Man” was intense in the 30’s. This should be rated PG-13. But hey , if Liam Neeson is killing everybody in sight as a warning to kids who might betray their parents’ orders-—that’s PG-13 material. If two supernatural and obviously unreal creatures battle it out and some blood spurts—I think we can all agree that this is R-type stuff (R-type is a game I loved for Turbo Grafix 16, but I meant it in the MPAA sense of the letter).

Finally, I dig most of what Benicio does, but he is a bit offputting here. Give me Lon Chaney Jr. any day. And that’s finally what I find so odd about remakes being so prevalent today. In an age where nearly any film can be ordered or downloaded—where the history of cinema is at your fingertips, now we are remaking these flicks at a rampant rate. And this ain’t a bad one, I’ll admit. But, I can just spin my “The Wolf Man” disc. And I’ll be happy. And it will take less time.

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