A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wolfman (starring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins) is an extra-gory remake of the same-named 1941 classic (starring Lon Chaney Jr.). The new film is filled with slashings, slicings, and dicings, with lots of blood, gore, and body parts, as well as guns and shooting, scary nightmare sequences, and loud noises. The main female character (Emily Blunt) never develops much of a personality and seems too passive (a wasted opportunity to improve upon the original film). In other words, this movie is only for your oldest teens even if it looks like it could go with other sort of "super hero" genre movies.
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What's the story?
In 1891, actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns from America to his home in England, reunites with his father (Anthony Hopkins), and learns that his brother has just died after being brutally mauled by some horrible creature. He promises his brother's fiancée, Gwen (Emily Blunt), that he'll do what he can to find out what happened, but while on the hunt, he ends up being bitten. He survives the bite, but on the next full moon transforms into a rampaging wolf man. An agent from Scotland Yard (Hugo Weaving) captures him and throws him into an asylum ... but by the next full moon, Talbot realizes what he must do to stop the killing.
Is it any good?
The new WOLFMAN makes an earnest attempt to keep some of the spooky atmosphere and tragic character depth of its predecessor, along with the expected new, high levels of gore. But somehow the characters never spark to life, the atmosphere seems uncertain, and the bloody scenes wind up becoming the film's highlight.
It's as if, in their obsession with both updating and staying true to the source material, the filmmakers forgot the central theme: the battle between man's intellectual and primal sides. The movie never warms up enough to elicit any human emotions, nor does it ever cut loose enough to feel completely crazy. Del Toro, with his sad, soulful eyes, seems perfect to step into Lon Chaney Jr.'s shoes, but he doesn't show enough vulnerability; the character is too determined. Likewise, Blunt's character is underwritten and seems a waste of her talents. The original is still better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Talk about a person's "animal side" and "intellectual side." When do these sides come out in real life? When we're angry? When we're happy? How easy or difficult is it to control these sides?
The movie's second werewolf spent years locking himself up during full moons but eventually discovered that he enjoyed running free. Is it better to lock up your animal self or let it run free?