No fun either. And no real scares, which is more unforgivable. All the attention to technical detail (Rick Baker’s makeup is aces) results in some graphic andgory transformation scenes as Benicio Del Toro gets bitten by a werewolf (no, not Taylor Lautner) while walking under a full moon and grows more hair than he did in Che. But the pacing is decidedly drag-ass. The 1941 film version with the great Lon Chaney, Jr. keeps things moving over a zippy 70 minutes. Rent it and see, you can thank me later. This remake drags its assover 105 minutes. And for what? Things take a turn for the pompous when we learn that Del Toro’s Lawrence Talbot has returned home to Victorian England to play Hamlet — of all things — on the stage. The Wolfman isn’t Shakespeare, and it damn well shouldn’t be.
There is a plot. You can hear it creaking in the script by Andrew Kevin Walker (Seven) and David Self (Road to Perdition). Lawrence suspects his father Sir John (Anthony Hopkins so hammy he lacks only the cloves and pineapple) may be involved in his predicament and the unnatural death of his brother. With the help of his brother’s plucky fianceé, Gwen (a wasted Emily Blunt), Lawrence finds the heart of his own darkness.
Why The Wolfman switched directors from Mark Romanek, the dark visionary behind One Hour Photo, to Joe Johnston, best known for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, remains a mystery deeper than any revealed in the film. But something, starting with a sense of purpose, got shrunk with this new version of a classic. The Wolfman bites, but not — I think — in the way the filmmakers intended.