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: October 12, 2013, 08:12:40 PM



First of all, shout out to reviewreviewer1 for helping me with the script. You the man Double R! ;-)

Well, for my first review, I will be checking out Joe Johnston's cinematic masterpiece, The Wolfman. Not only do I consider this film underrated, but one of the best films of the decade, if not all time. I have seen probably 1000 movies, and when something is really "one of the best movies of all time", you know it, and The Wolfman certainly fits into that category. But, before I begin, let's go into the films production. In 2006, Universal Pictures announced they would be remaking The Wolf Man, with Benicio Del Toro in the starring role, and Mark Romanek to direct. Fortunately, Romanek (Who had very little film experience and mostly worked with music videos) left the project. The forerunners to replace him were all very solid directors. We had Frank Darabont, who directed The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, James Mangold, director of 3:10 to Yuma, and Joe Johnston. Out of all of these, Johnston seemed the biggest risk. Sure, he had directed films that were ranged from good to decent like The Rocketeer, Hidalgo and Jumanji. However, he was also a part of one of the worst sequels to ever face the silver screen...Jurassic Park III (And YES, I will eventually be reviewing that tripe as well.) As it turns out however, Universal decided to take the risk and select Joe Johnston (Two weeks before shooting, mind you!) So the film, originally scheduled for release in 2007, was actually delayed to 2010...Ouch. Things weren't looking good for our favorite tortured werewolf...But how did it turn out?...The best remake ever made and certainly a film worthy of at least one watch at a film school.

The film begins with a color drained opening of the Universal logo, or a 1941 style Universal opening, depending on whether you're watching the theatrical or unrated cut (I prefer the latter...Really classy, love the homage to the 1940's monsters) The film descends upon a grave stone, as we hear an old poem recited by Maleva, the old gypsy woman.

Maleva: Even a man who is pure of heart, and says his prayers by night, will become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms...And the autumn moon is bright...

That line, short while it is, is delivered perfectly. So much mystery, intrigue and darkness behind it...Perfect for The Wolfman. We cut to a forest where we see that the film takes place in 1891, in a village in England called "Blackmoor". This was a interesting choice by the director, setting a film about a monster from the darkest pits of mythology and imagination at a time when England was becoming civilized, and letting go of it's savage origins. More on that later, it is very important and fascinating...Anyways, we see Ben Talbot walking in the forest. Apparently, he has heard strange noises in the night. He is soon savagely attacked by some kind of monster, slashed across the face and charging out of the forest.

Ben Talbot: Help! Please, help!

He eventually stops at the mausoleum, as we see a close up of The Wolfman's claws, as it fades out to the title. What a great kill, it really provides a lot of creepiness and eeriness, as Ben was killed near a mausoleum. The symbolism is blunt, obvious and creepy. We then see the main character, Lawrence Talbot, performing Macbeth. Again, there is a lot of symbolism and intelligence in that Lawrence Talbot is a Shakesperian thespian, that will be explained later when we see his origins.

Lawrence Talbot: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips

We then see Gwen Conliffe, a refined, civilized, pretty young girl from London meet Lawrence back stage. To say that things are a different world back there is an understatement. On stage, Lawrence appears to be the epitome of the civilized man; reenacting the former deeds of great, famous men. As we see from backstage, there is much drinking, and fornication and ugliness. Lawrence himself seems disappointed and bored of this life, as if he must break through from this world. This is a great metaphor for what he is about to become, and his plight to break through of the curse of The Wolfman. In addition, we can also see that Gwen is very disgusted and out of place in this world, a civilized, refined woman in a place very uncivilized and unrefined.

Gwen Conliffe: My name is Gwen Conliffe and I am engaged to your brother Ben...

Lawrence Talbot: Is Ben here?

Gwen Conliffe: No...I'm afraid nobody knows where Ben is...Which is why I'm here.

Lawrence Talbot: Clive...

Clive: Well, boys and girls, let's repair to the tavern!

Lawrence Talbot: I seem to recall, Ms. Conliffe...I seem to recall, he mentioned you in one of his letters. And it's quite uncharacteristic of my brother to treat a lady in such a way. But...The character of man is such a...Shift-able thing.

Gwen Conliffe: You misapprehend me...Benjiman is missing, from Blackmoor...He's gone.

Lawrence Talbot: Did my father send you?

Gwen Conliffe: No, I''m here on my own...It's been nearly a month since anyone has seen Ben and we knew that you were in London. I'd hoped you had received some word.

Lawrence Talbot: Why do you think he's in trouble?

Gwen Conliffe: Because the night he went missing...Two villagers were killed. Would you help us?

Lawrence Talbot: Miss Conliffe, I am under contract for the next 30 performances...

Gwen Conliffe: If this is about your father, I know how you feel.

Lawrence Talbot:..Do you? My company leaves for America tomorrow. I simply can't help.

Gwen Conliffe: He is your brother.

Lawrence Talbot: Good night.

Gwen Conliffe: It must be a wonderful luxury, doing battle with imaginary demons, Mr. Talbot. Mine right now are very real.

The acting during this scene is fantastic. You can truly see the pain and the despair in Lawrence's voice...He fears going back to Blackmoor, the demons of his past and the cruelty of the village that he thought he left behind. There is nothing for him there but death and despair. Of course, Blunt does a great job as well, really portraying how disappointed she is in the courage that Lawrence lacks and his coldness, not realizing that it is merely a mask, a disguise for his despair and depression. Highly underrated internet reviewer and partner of mine reviewreviewer1 says that he really liked Lawrence because of how he really grew into a good person as it went on, and didn't just start off perfect, but becomes a good person through the course of the film. This scene really established that it is his past that would prevent him from doing so. Double R also thinks that the acting in this scene was really good, as it showed worry as well as care from Benicio and Emily. Of course, Lawrence, realizing his moral obligation, decides to go back to Blackmoor and find out what happened to his brother. As he enters his father's mansion, we see animal heads and rifles on the wall. Even the faint noise of bats is heard. This is the beginning of the audiences journey into the deepest natural world possible. And it is, indeed, a journey. The best films are the ones that can take you to another world. The Wolfman absolutely does this, with it's elaborate and **CENSORED**y sets and designs. As reviewreviewer1 points out, the film really does have a great sense of atmosphere while not overplaying it like other films (He wasn't specific, but examples I could think of include Avatar, The Hunger Games, e.t.c) It really is a work of art. When he arrives, Lawrence is **CENSORED**ed by his father's dog, Samson.

Sir John: Samson!

The way the dog heels in terror is a great reflection of how wild and mysterious Sir John is. As we see him peer out of the shadows, he is very animal like in appearance, with his wild facial hair and leopard skin draped across his shoulders. The lack of music is simply perfect.

Sir John: Lawrence?

Lawrence Talbot: Hello father...

Sir John: Lo and behold...The prodigal son returns...

Remember that line. Sir John has quite a few religious quotes that seem to be nothing more than an add-on to Sir John's kookiness, but are actually very symbolic as we see later, especially near the end. I won't say it yet, for the sake of spoilers, but it really is smart hoiw the film managed to use Sir John's religious quotes to explore deeper themes.

We see a detachment from Del Toro and Hopkins in this scene, obviously stemming from some kind of negative history. They obviously don't approve of each others lives, even if Sir John's voice does hold some guilt to it. And this makes sense, as it appears that Sir John seems to believe that Lawrence betrayed him by never returning to Blackmoor until tragedy struck. As for Lawrence's angle?...Well, we'll get to that later.

Sir John Talbot: We don't have many visitors

Lawrence Talbot: You seem well.

Sir John Talbot:...Often wondered what you looked like. You've come about your brother, have you?

Lawrence Talbot: Yes...Ms Conliffe learned that I was in London...And sent me a letter saying that Ben had disappeared. Thought I'd offer my help in any which way I can...

Sir John Talbot: Yes, that's a splendid idea...Lawrence, a splendid idea. Too late I'm afraid. Unfortunatley, you're brother's body was found in a ditch by the priory road yesterday morning. I assume, you have something to wear for the funeral?

The coldness in Sir John's voice is simply perfect, as is the subtle tragedy in Lawrence's face. These men, both of them, are among people who have faced an unimaginable amount of horrific tragedy. There is sadness in their voice, but the way they say it...It's almost like they knew that there was nothing but heartbreak like this in their lives. Needless to say, it's a far cry from the happy, cheerful characters of the 1941 Wolf Man, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, as this is less a detraction and more an improvement on that original piece. Lawrence goes to a butcher shop where the body is being kept, and even with hardly any dialogue, Del Toro really does well in this scene, using his facial movements and expressions to show the despair and sadness in Lawrence at having missed his whole adult life and not being there for his brother. As reviewreviewer1 says, we can really see how he cared for his brother without the need of an unnecessary flashback. When a film can pull that off, it's really a testament to the strong acting of it's cast. Lawrence retreats to a tavern to drink his sorrow away, as we get to hear more about the personality of the Talbot family.

Villager #1: Maybe it wasn't the beast at all? But a cunning murderer...Someone who bore a grudge against one of these men, to misdirect the authorities, he kills the men,...and then he tears up the bodies to make it look like the wild beast was responsible.

Villager #2: Ridiculous! Who will go to such lengths?

Waiter: What about that gypsie's dancing bear, he could have done it.

Villager #1: That mangy thing? Kill three men I doubt it!

Vicar: I saw the bodies with my own eyes. Unnatural wounds. Most unnatural. Made by a felon creature I'd say.

Waiter: Damn Gypsies, wandering the countryside, bringing their deviltry with them. They show up and upon two weeks later this happens! My guess is Ben Talbot went to their camp...to whack it off with a gypsy whore. The bear gets hold of him, and they dump what's left of him in the ditch.

Mysterious Villager: It's got nothing to do with the Gypsies. Twenty-five years ago now,...my Pa found him...Quinn Noddy and all his flock...Brains, and guts, and God knows what, lying all over the moor for a quarter mile. And Quinn, the look on his face...like he'd be eaten alive. Whatever did it...Was big... had claws, and didn't mind a load of buckshot. After that...my Pa went home and melted down my Ma's wedding spoons, and casts silver bullets of them. Wouldn't leave the house on the full moon, from that night.

Villager #1: Ha! He thought it was a "werewolf"!

Waiter: I still say that bear's to blame.

Villager #2: You'd think the Talbots would've learned their lesson, eh? Consorting with the Romas.

Villager #1: Right. Remember that black-eyed Salome the old man married? Went crazy up there in the ward, killed herself. She was a gypo whore queen or some such, wasn't she?

Lawrence Talbot: Yes. She was crazy...For coming to this **CENSORED**hole you call a town.

Vicar: What did he say?

Villager #1: You're in your drink boy!

(Lawrence throws wine at villager)

Reviewreviewer1 and I both agree that this scene is also done incredibly well, as it shows that even before he is bitten, Lawrence is the subject of the racism and cruelty of the town. The social prejudices of their relations with the gypsies very much make the Talbot's the "odd family" in Blackmoor, in the eyes of the people. The town is so corrupt even the Vicar does not take a stand against this cruelty. Thus we go back to the film's theme about contradictions, and the clash of worlds. On one hand, Lawrence is very civilized and well loved: A rich thespian from London. On the other hand, his racial status makes him an easy target of Blackmoor's ignorance. Even more interesting is how Lawrence's roles fit in with his relationship with Gwen, but we'll get to that later. (These were conclusions that we both came to, me and Double R)

We go back to Lawrence and his father at the dinner table, Gwen approaching to dine with them.

Sir John Talbot: Good evening. Please join us. It's good to see you up and about. Refreshed, recovered and as enchanting as ever. Please, join us.

Lawrence Talbot: Good evening, Miss Conliffe.

Gwen Conliffe: Good evening...

Sir John Talbot: What a pleasant surprise. May I recommend the baked eel? Singh has outdone himself this evening, haven't you, Singh?

Gwen Conliffe: Something plainer...Thank you.

Sir John Talbot: I was a moment ago telling my son that the telegraph system does reach us here in lonely old Blackmoor.

Lawrence Talbot: Blackmoor does seem rather the same as I left it.

Sir John Talbot: How so?

Lawrence Talbot: The villagers, they still have the same wild ideas.

Sir John Talbot: Yes, well, they're a provincial lot, I must say, ignorant and superstitious to a worldly man such as yourself. We're savages at the ends of the earth

Gwen Conliffe: I didn't intend to start a squabble.

Sir John Talbot: All I'm saying is that you dismiss the natural man at your peril. That's all.

Lawrence Talbot I find your insecurities quite strange, Father.

Sir John Talbot: No, you mistake that for my self-awareness. And how comfortable are you in your skin, may I ask?

Lawrence Talbot: One can get used to anything.

There is a deep sense of tragedy in this scene, as Lawrence and his father engage in a sort of gentleman's battle. It really is quite ugly when a father and a son are so divided, they're relationship so broken. Both of them have experienced nothing but tragedy from each other, and it is clear they also don't approve of each other's lives. Del Toro and Hopkins do a great job portraying guilt, anger and frustration about each other in this wonderful dinner scene. I also love how Gwen plays a role almost as the peace keeper between these two men, an outsider gazing in on the unspoken truths of the Talbot family.

TO BE CONTINUED IF I GET ENOUGH COMMENTS
: October 12, 2013, 08:17:05 PM MSU_Fan

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#1 : October 20, 2013, 06:16:58 PM

BUMP

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#2 : October 21, 2013, 02:06:33 AM

Is this some random copy and paste review found on the internet about the movie Wolfman?  I think I missed something. 

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#3 : October 21, 2013, 02:15:01 AM

BUMP

It was pretty clear you weren't getting the interest you wanted, so you bumped your own thread? 

MSU_Fan

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#4 : October 21, 2013, 09:18:26 AM

Is this some random copy and paste review found on the internet about the movie Wolfman?  I think I missed something.

It was posted on another site by ME, just by a different username. What did you think of the review?
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