So the Honey Badger came over last night to watch a movie. I had a copy of Joe Johnston’s 2010 remake of The Wolfman, which I’d picked up in the discount bin at Wal-Mart some time ago. I’ve been meaning to give the film a look since I bought it, but it wasn’t until a passing comment online by the talented David Nickle the other week that I thought it might be time for settle down and watch it. We popped it into the Blu Ray player, selected the unrated version, and off we went.
What we were treated to was a highly entertaining, fairly-traditional re-vision of the Wolfman narrative first shown in the 1941 film with Lon Chaney (although there are nods to more recent werewolf narratives, too, such as An American Werewolf In London). All of the leads–Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Hopkins–took a little while to win me over, but by the end of the film, they had. The movie does an especially good job at bringing to the fore and running with the Oedipal issues that swirl about the earlier film. There are a number of wonderful set pieces, including a transformation from man to monster within a late nineteenth century medical amphitheater, and the werewolf running amok in a gypsy camp and in central London. Most interestingly to me, the movie never forgets that the werewolf is a monster. It’s not the emblem for Team Jacob; it’s an avatar of our worst, most violent tendencies. It’s a real shame this movie didn’t do better at the box office: it’s what an old-fashioned monster movie is supposed to be, I think. If you’re willing to show a little patience, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.