The Wolfman is all bark and no bite

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A remake of a 1941 film, The Wolfman follows the broad outlines of the original. Lawrence Talbot (Benecio Del Toro) returns to his ancestral home upon learning that his brother has been killed. There, he reunites with his father (Anthony Hopkins) and promises his brother’s fiancée Gwen (Emily Blunt) that he will get to the bottom of this tragedy. The locals point the finger at a troupe of gypsies camped nearby, and Lawrence visits the camp looking for answers. He arrives just in time to witness a violent attack by a werewolf. During the attack, Lawrence is bitten but survives, which means he, too, is now doomed to transform into a monster when the moon is full. With such a good cast and a simple, classic story, what could go wrong? Plenty. This is a film that has no confidence in its ability to hold the attention of an audience. It’s constantly making noise and moving the camera about, inserting special effects in mundane scenes that don’t require them, and rushing through character development and story to get to another gory werewolf attack. But the biggest problem is that there’s no pathos in Del Toro’s portrayal of Talbot. At least Rick Baker’s update of the classic monster make-up is impressive. * 1/2

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