The Reel Review
Prolific music composer Michael Giacchino (Jojo Rabbit, Inside Out, Star Trek) makes his directorial debut in this first-ever Marvel Studios Halloween TV special on Disney+, about a cabal of monster hunters vying for a powerful relic following the death of their leader, Ulysses Bloodstone. The program is based on the lesser-known Marvel comic book character.
Filmed almost entirely in black and white, Giacchino gives the hour-long show a fun, vintage film noir vibe with some nicely done practical effects. The cast is led by Gael Garcia Bernal (Old, Coco) as our main character, Laura Donnelly (Tolkien) as Elsa the estranged daughter of the dead monster hunter, and Harriet Sansome Harris (Desperate Housewives, Hollywood) as her stepmother leading the deadly competition.
The two strongest elements of Werewolf by Night are its vintage visual esthetic and a knockout score from Giacchino. While well acted, the story itself is comparatively weak, hampered by its brief runtime and thinly drawn characters. Still, Werewolf by Night is a fun way to spend a quick hour and hopefully a sign of more to come from both the MCU and Giacchino.
• Music composter Michael Giacchino is only a Tony win away from being an EGOT, having won an Oscar for 2009’s Up, an Emmy for the TV series Lost, and three Grammys for Ratatouille and Up. Among his many notable film scores are Mission: Impossible, Jurassic World, 2019’s Jojo Rabbit, 2006’s The Incredibles, Coco, Star Trek films and many more Disney and Marvel Studios films.
• Marvel introduced the comic character Ulysses Bloodstone in 1975. Per the comics, he was a 10,000-year-old caveman who gained immortal powers by an alien meteorite who in turn had to battle monsters created by the alien over thousands of years.
• Although probably best known for her portrait of Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives, Harriet Sansome Harris won a 2002 Best Actress Tony for Thoroughly Modern Millie, and recently appeared in a Season Two episode of HBO’s Hacks with Jean Smart, portraying a retired standup comedian.
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