"The Wolfman": Movie Trailer Review

11/18/2009 Posted by Admin

From our guest blogger, Sam Roos

The first trailer for "The Wolfman" (the upcoming Benicio Del Toro remake of Lon Cheney's 1941 classic), focused on the tension, mood and plot of the film. That trailer presented a half period-piece drama and half old-school, “it’s-all-about-what-you-don’t-see” monster-horror movie. It wasn't clear if this was going to be an action epic, or more of a horror-drama. This second trailer makes no bones about it--"The Wolfman" is going to hit us. Hard.

Though the trailer starts by building tension and showing off some of the special effects, it builds to a point of intense action, where it essentially becomes a montage of violence and implied violence (sprinkled with a few particularly hardcore quotes from a steely-eyed Anthony Hopkins). The trailer is scored to modern rock, and as the montage becomes bloodier and bloodier, the music builds in a very specifically aggressive style. One of these last montage images is of The Wolfman, blood dripping from his jaws, surrounded by fire as he growls in anger. For a trailer, this is about as graphic as it can get.

As we watch Del Toro undergoing grotesque physical changes in extreme close up, then suddenly lunging across the frame with, literally, a monstrous strength, the genre of the movie becomes all too clear. "The Wolfman" is going to be a violent, effects-heavy, action/horror film. The fact that the film stars two Oscar winners goes totally unmentioned, because this is not the type of movie that will be, or is trying to, be sold to the critics (the film’s February release doesn’t exactly scream “Oscar contender” either). Ultimately, the trailer promises a blow-‘em-up (or, in this case, eat-‘em-up) thriller that also promises at least a little bit of period acting from two of the better living actors in Hollywood.

The music in this trailer, which is very much in keeping with the fast-paced violence of the trailer, marks the introduction of Paul Haslinger ("Turistas," "Death Race," "Underworld 2: Rise of the Lycans") as a replacement for the original composer, the legendary Danny Elfman ("Men In Black," "Batman," "Beetle Juice," "Good Will Hunting," etc.). Though the studio blamed it on scheduling, it seems odd to change composers, as most of the music must have been composed by this late stage. The departure was clearly unexpected, as the trailer still lists Elfman as the composer, though the sound is distinctly Haslinger.

The Elfman thing simply underscores how long and difficult this production has been. Director Joe Johnston ("Jumanji," "Jurassic Park III," "Hidalgo") was a last minute replacement for Mark Romanek ("One Hour Photo"). The film was delayed over a year while Benicio worked on the epic “Che.” Ultimately, I think this trailer has to temper our expectations for the film, which, given the cast, should have been pretty high.

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