Posts Tagged Remake

The Wolfman Remake…Just Why?

hr_the_wolfman_11Maybe the moon was full when some Hollywood lunatic decided to remake The Wolfman (1941), but not much thought was put into the project after that. How can anything with Anthony Hopkins and a budget to CGI enough blood splatter to fill a swimming pool go wrong? Well frankly, it goes like this.

The characters (with one exception) are boring and brutish, the trappings of their drab atmosphere just permeated too deeply, and we end up with flat performances. Oscar winning Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Sir John Talbot whose son Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns home after learning that his brother has been missing. Hopkins mostly mopes around like an aging bad ass while yawning out creepy one-liners and ends up looking like a mix of his characters from Legends of the Fall and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Del Toro suffers from a similar bland personality of an emo kid whose favorite goth band has just canceled their concert a night before the show. I can’t imagine director Joe Johnston could be to blame for this awkward tone with a resume featuring, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, The Pagemaster, Jumanji, and Jurassic Park III.  How could you go wrong?       

The plot tries to hinge itself on Lawrence’s troubled past where he witnessed his mother’s suicide and now must return to the site of his mother’s death to discover why his brother has also met a grizzly end. Long-story-short, Lawrence realizes his memories are false and his mother was also killed by an obvious plot twist that reveals the true identity of the beast, but not before Lawrence tangles with the werewolf and also contracts the curse.

Curses and uninspired writing aside, the movies is visually fun, and I think that is all the filmmaker set out to accomplish here since the movie makes no attempts to be original, to create compelling characters, a compelling atmosphere, or an interesting story line. Instead, the audience is given a laser light show of dismembered limbs, decapitations, disembowelments, and a climatic werewolf on werewolf battle ala Underworld. It’s fun to watch, but it sure as shit ain’t Shakespeare.

The saving grace is Hugo Weaving who portrays an aloof Scotland Yard inspector named Abberline whose presence on the screen is missed the second he leaves it. Weaving unleashes his usual smug delivery of mundane lines, just dragging out syllables, in ways only he can and brings the Abberline character to life in another wise lifeless cast of dull characters. If you need further proof then check out how epic he looks fighting the werewolf below…


Maybe not, but Weaving performance is still the only reason to see this film, unless you’re a die hard werewolf fan that wants to see a lot of cool CGI slayings. Don’t show up looking for substance, because it just isn’t here.

Somewhere in the distance I think I hear Lon Chaney Jr. howling at the moon…mournfully.wolfman2

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To “V” or not to “V”

abc-vLast night, ABC launched its reimaging of the 1983 Miniseries and 1984 TV series “V”. Maybe, post Halloween depression mixed with nostalgia took over, but, for whatever reason, I sat down and decided to give it a chance. Given, the horror elements of his show would have big holes to fill in my mind.  At five, whenever any of the “Visitors” were unmasked their yellowed-eyed lizard faces would look out from my closet for the rest of the night. Would V (2009) do justice to childhood horrors?

For those of you who missed V (1983), it was about a race of space lizards that try to take over earth by wearing human skin over their own. A resistance was formed and lead by one Mike Donavan  (Marc Singer), of Beast Master fame, whose band of rebels, which included a criminal named Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside) and a V-human sympathizer, Willie, (Robert Englund), would try to defeat the visitors and save humanity (maybe by picking off the Vs with nightmares; nope wrong Englund role).  Looking back, the show was hokey 80′s at its worst, but it had its charm and even pushed the envelope with a controversial birthing scene where a human woman delivers twin hybrids: the first one with just a forked tongue but the second was a bit scaly. Early eighties television watchers were talking about that slimy green reptilian baby crawling out from beneath the light blue blankets and in between that woman’s legs for weeks.

After watching 2009’s attempt at a remake, I left it scratching my head at what this remake could possibly add other than twenty five years of improved CGIs and modern issues, of which they spent the entire episode tossing in the audience’s face. Like much modern television, the attempts to establish a modern setting was done to the point of distractions. Kids were videoing themselves, “tagging” the visitors symbols on bricking walls and posting it to their websites. The revelations of the pilot blamed the visitors for being puppet masters of the first two gulf wars, the recession, and even having their own terrorist sleeper cell. We better raise the terror alert to Green!

The casting itself reeks of clever marketing as genre familiar faces pop up everywhere including two crew member of Firefly’s “Serenity:” Morena Baccarin and Alan Tudyk.  The lead is played by Lost’s Juliette Elizabeth Mitchell who portrays a single mother, FBI agent investigating terrorist activity with her partner, Dale, played by Tudyk.

Long story-short, The Vs cruise into town and Baccarin’s character, Ana-high commander of the Vs, relates to earth how great their new found relationship is going to be. The foreshadowing of Ana’s sinister nature as she folds her nine foot legs in six inch skirts and smiles with her angular face beneath her bob hairdo could only be more obvious if she walked around with a copy of “To Serve Man” under her arm.

Everything else that this series is planning on cooking up was not all that mysterious, either. The FBI chick’s son finds himself hot over a little blonde V that has convinced him to be ambassador in some not-at-all-shady youth recruitment program. While that’s going down, FBI mom, fresh from almost being killed by her partner and discovering the scales under the rip on his face, launches a lazy speech about forming… a resistance.  At least, V isn’t telegraphing its punches and falling into a typical genre writing arc.  Sigh.

While I hate to judge a show by its pilot, I think a “reimagining” needs to imagine something new. Why after twenty -some years should audiences care about this storyline?  A pilot should answer that question and I’m still asking it after sitting through the debut episode that left me feeling like this is just another nostalgia marketing scheme with little substance.

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