The US movie industry has been hit hard by the recent cancellation of the second installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. The previous film, Cuarauno, which starred Vin Diesel as a Chinese gun-running villain became the first film in the series to be canned from Disney. The reason given was that Universal Pictures (the company that produces the installments of Finding Nemo and Man on the Sea) felt that it did not live up to expectations. They also indicated that they might want to shift focus towards other family movies such as the Spiderman franchise, instead of continuing with the Fast and Furious series. This news has been met with mixed reviews amongst die hard fans of the series.
The cancellation is perhaps the best example of how critical viewers of popular movies are these days. The Fast and Furious franchise has enjoyed immense popularity across the globe, and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Despite this, Universal Pictures and Disney have decided to drop the franchise from their lineup, which makes many diehard fans to rejoice. But how do they justify such a move? The answer lies in the last episode of Cuarauno, wherein Diesel’s character,ictus tugged at his leash just long enough to let his pursuers give him a shot, thus breaking the rules and triggering a car crash that killed one of the lead characters (although it should be mentioned that the two other protagonists survived the crash, albeit badly).
In a nutshell, Universal Pictures and Disney saw the story as too similar to another Universal Pictures original, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The studio also felt that the appeal of the original film (The Fantastic Mr. Fox) had grown past the reach of its current crop of movies. The new film would have to be something completely different. It is widely believed that Universal Pictures and Disney did consider casting Jack Nicholson as Cuarauno, simply because he is a known fan of the horror film genre, and has made numerous cameos in both Twilight and World War Z. Having said that, however, I would not count this as a major reason for his exit from the franchise; it was more of a convenience for a film that needed to be streamlined and reshaped for the 2021 release.
But even if The Wolf Of Weelzburg was released in 2021, it still managed to win many hearts because of its excellent cinematography and costume design. A slow and suspenseful start reveals the arrival of Dr. Van Helsing (voiced by Eric Bana), an ancient Nordic god who has been forced to transform into a wolf due to a fatal attack. Desperate to save his friends, Van Helsing takes a young woman (Haylie Duff) on as his mate. Although initially acting as a willing bride to accommodate Van Helsing’s taste for blood, Haylie proves more than willing to sacrifice her own life to protect Van Helsing. In the midst of all this tension, Van Helsing must reconcile himself to his destiny as the wolf.
One thing that is consistent throughout the trailers and commercials for The Wolf Of Weelzburg is the portrayal of Van Helsing as an individual whose selfishness can drive him into a violent rage. The wolf-like creatures that he has been sent to retrieve are almost completely machine-like and seem very detached from human emotions. The lead characters in the trailers and in the first few seconds of the movie itself also convey a similar detachment. As the movie progresses, we get further into the plot, where Van Helsing must struggle with the forces of good against the horde of antagonists. These forces come largely from three groups of people that make up the background of the story; evil doppelgangers, the secret society of Nyngs, and other races who want to rule the world.
Despite its premise, The Wolf Of Weelzburg does not try to reinvent the monster movie. Instead, it creates a unique package of characters and plots that are interesting and thought provoking. If you are tired of the same old monster movies and want something different, this one might be worth a look. Maybe you will be surprised at how enjoyable it is!