The Wolfman

ds with ease, as if their bodies were made of butter. Grabbing a gun, he chases the monster into the woods of fog and shadows, only to become a victim himself, taking a savage bite on his throat.

You can guess what happens next. Heck, you can guess all of it before the first scene finishes. Therein lies the biggest drawback to “The Wolfman”: Its mysteries are devoid of mystery. The supposed twist is telegraphed so far in advance, the audience is practically handed a Western Union envelope.

But just as director Joe Johnston turned “Jurassic Park III” into a carnival ride, so he does here, making the most out of it. This means violence, and plenty of it, with makeup-effects man Rick Baker sparing no spurt of red for the many evisceration set pieces. In an age where studios want to dumb everything down to a PG-13, deliberating aiming for an R rating is akin to a gutsy move. Turning the story a 19th-century period piece also proves a wise choice; with all the old costumes and sets this involves, it lends the production credibility and class, best carried out through Blunt, who submits the best performance as the grieving woman nonetheless attracted to her beloved’s brother.

Ironically, Del Toro doesn’t fare as well. When his casting was announced in 2006, movie fans reacted with a “duh,” as people long had joked about the actor’s hirsute resemblance to the lycanthrope. But really, he’s so bland here, Del Toro is largely Del Snore-o. Most any thespian could’ve played his part.

As for the monster, he’s fast, ferocious and fond of tearing villagers into pulled pork. That should be enough to send viewers over the moon. “”Rod Lott


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