Archive for Maleva

The Wolfman (2010)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

he film opens with the original rhyme as told by the gypsy Maleva:

Even a man who is pure of heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

In 1891 in the Blackmoor woods, Ben Talbot is confronted by a superhumanly wolf-like creature. He tries to escape, but is followed and subsequently mauled and killed by the creature.

Renowned Shakespearean actor Lawrence Talbot is touring London in a stage production of Hamlet when he receives word of his brother’s disappearance from Gwen Conliffe, Ben’s fiancé. Lawrence races to the family estate in Blackmoor and reunites with his estranged father, Sir John. It is revealed that when Lawrence was young, his mother Solana committed suicide. It was afterwards that Sir John sent Lawrence to an insane asylum in London. Lawrence then learns that Ben’s mauled body had been found the day before.

Lawrence goes into town to see the body, which is kept at the local slaughterhouse. He recoils from the sight of his brother; who has been viciously mauled to death by something that cannot be human. The butcher gives Ben’s personal effects to Lawrence. Later, in the local tavern, Lawrence overhears the locals debate about who was responsible. Many blame a band of gypsies who are camped outside of town. Another claims that several decades earlier a similar murder had happened and that his father suspected a werewolf. Among Ben’s belongings was a medallion that had been purchased from the gypsies. The medallion shows a monk in a position of prayer with two wolves, one on either side of the monk, apparently chasing him.

When Gwen leaves for London after the funeral, Lawrence goes to the gypsy camp on the night of a full moon. Maleva tells him that something evil had befallen his brother. The local townspeople descend on the camp to force them to turn over a bear that might have been the killer. But the wolf-like creature descends on the camp, slaughtering most people. Lawrence sees a young boy run into the woods. Intending to rescue him, Lawrence follows but is attacked by the wolf, who bites him on the shoulder before being chased off by the armed townspeople. Maleva sutures his large neck wounds. Her daughter says Lawrence should be killed, but Maleva refuses, saying he is still a man. Only a loved one can kill him.

Gwen returns to Talbot Hall to nurse Lawrence back to health. He has several fearful dreams but after a few weeks appears to have completely healed. Sir John’s faithful Sikh manservant, Singh, shows Lawrence the silver bullets he has and implies that something monstrous is on the loose in Blackmoor. Inspector Aberline arrives from London to investigate the recent murders. He suspects Lawrence because of his past mental issues and masterful portrayals of mentally ill protagonists like Hamlet and Macbeth. Worried about what might happen, Lawrence sends Gwen away. He then follows Sir John to Solana’s crypt. He finds his father in the catacombs beneath the crypt, in a shrine to his dead mother, a shrine that includes a chair specially fitted with restraints. Sir John tells Lawrence that he has been “dead” for years, and then locks himself in the room alone. As Lawrence tries to leave, he turns into the Wolfman. Rampaging through the woods, he kills several townspeople who had created a trap in hopes of catching the monster. The next day, Sir John leads Aberline and the local police to where a dazed, bloody human Lawrence is hiding.

Having been taken to the same asylum in London where he was incarcerated as a child, Lawrence is subjected to ice-water and electrotherapy treatments overseen by the sadistic Dr. Hoenneger. Sir John visits Lawrence to explain the curse hanging over the family. Many years before, Sir John had been hunting in India. Intrigued by reports of an unusual predator living in a remote cave, Sir John traveled to a remote area. In the cave, he was bitten by a feral boy and infected with lycanthropy. Lawrence realizes that he had seen his father as a werewolf kill their mother. Sir John had relied on Singh to imprison him during full moons. Yet one night, Sir John got drunk and into a heated argument with Ben. Having knocked Singh out and unable to lock himself in, Sir John killed Ben and attacked the gypsy camp. Now invigorated by the power of being a werewolf, Sir John has no intention of restraining his power anymore.

Dr. Hoenneger takes Lawrence to an observation room to present him to his colleagues as an interesting test case. Inspector Aberline is also in attendance. As the full moon streams through the window, Lawrence transforms into the Wolfman in front of the doctors. He kills Hoenneger and escapes into the night, pursued by Aberline. The Wolfman kills several people before disappearing into the night. The next day, a human Lawrence visits Gwen at her antiques shop. They realize they have fallen in love. Aberline arrives and searches the shop. But Lawrence has already escaped and begun the long walk back to Blackmoor.

Gwen studies lycanthropy and tracks down Maleva to ask her help. Maleva confirms that Lawrence cannot be cured and asks God to help Gwen to do what she must. Aberline tracks Lawrence to Blackmoor, this time armed with silver bullets. Gwen also makes her way to Blackmoor.

Lawrence arrives at Talbot Hall and finds Singh’s mauled body hanging in the foyer. He loads the gun with Singh’s silver bullets and tracks Sir John through the house. When he finds Sir John he is unable to shoot; Sir John revealing that he removed the powder shells from the silver bullets years ago, but Singh never knew, and Sir John beats Lawrence. When the full moon rises, they both transform into werewolves and fight, setting Talbot Hall on fire in the process. In their struggle, Sir John seems to have the upper hand until the Wolfman kicks Sir John into the fire, burning him alive, and then decapitates him. Gwen arrives hoping to save Lawrence. When the Wolfman attacks her, Aberline bursts in and shoots at him but Gwen interrupts. As Gwen flees with Aberline’s revolver, the Wolfman bites Aberline but chases Gwen rather than finish him off.

The Wolfman traps Gwen above a waterfall. She lays down the gun and pleads with Lawrence still inside the beast. Lawrence’s consciousness faintly returns where the Wolfman recognizes her and hesitates. When he is distracted by the sounds of a mob coming to kill him, Gwen retrieves the revolver and shoots him with a silver bullet just before he can bite her. As he lays dying, Lawrence reverts to human form and thanks Gwen for doing what needed to be done. The wounded Aberline with the silver wolf’s head cane and the mob arrive as Lawrence dies.

Gwen’s parting words are heard as the fires continue to burn Talbot Hall:

“It is said there is no sin in killing a beast
Only in killing a man
But where does one begin and the other end?”

Then, a howl is suddenly heard – possibly from Aberline who was bitten by the Wolfman.

REVIEW:

This remake of the immortal 1941 classic The Wolf Man does nothing but spit on the legacy. Before I go any further, I should state that it is no secret that I hate remakes, but I keep an open mind about new films. You never know what you can get.

The Wolfman suffers from the similar fate as the Psycho remake. In an effort to not insult the fan base of the original (as if the sheer thought of remaking this wasn’t enough to do that), they just “update” the story for modern audiences. In other words, they took the original, added some special effects, swearing, and gore and came up with this…this….THING!

Speaking of the effects, one of the most anticipated scenes in any werewolf film is the when the transformation takes place. I have to say that, to an extent, this is one of the best parts about this flick. Don’t go thinking I liked this film, though, or that I believed that was one of the best transformation scenes in cinema, because it wasn’t, but considering how bad the last werewolf transformation scene I saw was in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, anything would have looked better than it actually was.

The plot, as I said, is pretty much the same as in the REAL The Wolf Man, but they decided to add some unnecessary drama and twists to make it more “interesting”. What I mean by that is there is this whole thing where Larry falls in love with his now deceased brother’s fiancée. There is animosity between Larry and Sir Talbot, in contrast to the original where they loved each other immensely. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is the angle that Sir Talbot is a wolf himself, and responsible for the death of his wife and son. WTF?!? What crackhead thought up this crap?

As far as action and gore go, this is okay for what they were trying to do.

Benecio del Toro is actually inspired casting as a werewolf, in that he resembles one naturally. That’s really about all I have to say about his wooden performance.

Breathtakingly beautiful Emily Blunt left Iron Man 2 to make this. In hindsight, I have to wonder if she thinks that was a good decision. Blunt actually may be the one bright spot here. Speaking as a guy, though, I have to question why they didn’t have her in more cleavage bearing corsets from this era.

Anthony Hopkins does what you expect from him. No more…no less. Same goes for Hugo Weaving. My guess is that these extremely talented actors are fans of the original and thought they were getting into something more worthwhile, rather than this drivel.

Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin, plays the gypsy Maleva. In the original, Maleva is a major character, but here, she is reduced to a cameo. Ugh!

I really want something bad to happen to whoever thought this was going to be good. While there are a few redeeming qualities tht keep it this from being totally horrible, they are few and far between and not enough to say that this is worth seeing. My recommendation is to not waste your time with this, but rather check out the superior original, as opposed to this inferior remake. All this movie is is further proof that remakes do not work!!!! 

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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