The Wolfman

Photo #44

Film (with rating): The Wolfman (R)

Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Summary: A haunted nobleman (Benicio Del Toro) returns home
to Victorian England and his father (Anthony Hopkins) when his brother goes
missing. But he finds more than he bargained for when he learns that a
bloodlusting beast is ravaging the countryside.

Review: I can remember begging my mother to let me watch
“monster movies” on television as a child. Instead of dolls and pink
fluffy things, Mom rewarded my good behavior with classic monster action
figures from the toy store. So it was with great excitement I waited to see
“The Wolfman.” The trailers painted it to be a dark, haunting remake
of those classic monster flicks I loved so much.

Director Joe Johnston did a
great job with the gray, dismal scenery and setting; the Victorian family
mansion is nothing short of deliciously spooky. Unfortunately, he spent too
much time going for the “boo!” scares and not enough time really
working on the suspense that made those classic monster movies so great.

Del Toro seemed miscast in this film, much as I hate to say
it. His dark, brooding persona falls flat, and his lack of a British accent is
also painfully noticeable. Hopkins, on the other hand, does add some spice into
this oft-sleepy film.

One thing that hurt “Wolfman” is the special
effects. Seeing men turn into werewolves in the way that Johnston crafted it is
actually comical. Sure, it was creepy and gory in “An American Werewolf in
London,” but nearly 30 years later in the 21st century, it
reeks of absurdity.

Overall, the movie, in itself, isn’t as bad as some critics
stated. Yes, there are some laughable parts where there should have not been
even a giggle, but overall, it is an enjoyable flick with shades of the true
monster-movie feel.

Extra highlight: deleted scenes

What to serve for dinner: You have your choice. Pick an
English favorite–fish and chips–or something a little more akin to the
wolf–Steak Tartare.

Fish and Chips (

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into strips

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 quart vegetable oil for frying

1 1/2 pounds cod fillets

Place potatoes in a medium-size bowl of cold water. In a
separate medium-size mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and
pepper. Stir in the milk and egg; stir until the mixture is smooth. Let mixture
stand for 20 minutes. Preheat the oil in a large pot or electric skillet to 350
degrees F.  Fry the potatoes in the
hot oil until they are tender. Drain them on paper towels. Dredge the fish in
the batter, one piece at a time, and place them in the hot oil. Fry until the
fish is golden brown. If necessary, increase the heat to maintain the 350
degrees. Drain well on paper towels. Fry the potatoes again for 1 to 2 minutes
for added crispness.


Steak Tartare (

1 lb. filet mignon or top sirloin, freshly ground (do not
use any other grade of beef)

2 tbsp. yellow mustard

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 c. finely chopped onion

3 tbsp. capers, drained

4-5 dashes hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Seasoned salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp. cognac (optional)

Mix together all ingredients lightly to avoid packing the
meat too much. Mound steak tartar on chilled plates and serve immediately with
thinly sliced pumpernickel or toasted French bread.

What to talk about over dinner: What was the one monster as
a kid you were afraid of? Which one did you like the most? What’s been the best
monster-movie remake you’ve seen? Why? Where did this one succeed, or fail? Who
would have been better cast in the lead other than Benicio? What did you think
about the transformation scenes? If you could live in any other time in
history, what would it be and why? What’s your favorite Anthony Hopkins film?
If you had to be a monster, who would you be? Compare these werewolves to those
in the “Twilight” books. Which ones do you like more?