Movie Review: The late James Horner does all the heavy lifting in Wolf Totem

China, in the early years of the Cultural Revolution. College student Chen Zhen (Feng Shaofeng, a good decade too old for the role) is sent from Beijing to the wilds of Inner Mongolia, where he becomes obsessed with the local wolves, going so far as to adopt a pup to raise as his own. It would take a director on the order of Nicholas Ray to make sense of this grab bag of landscapes and wannabe-mythopoeic themes, but the most Jean-Jacques Annaud can seem to do with the material—drawn from a popular autobiographical novel by academic Lü Jiamin—is to compose sun-dappled telephoto close-ups through swaying steppe grass, while late composer James Horner does the heavy lifting. The choice of 3-D as a shooting format may seem conceptually spot-on for a movie about the appeal of vast stretches of open land, but here it rarely does more than add …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *