Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Wolfman (2-Disc Unrated Director's Cut) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot
Emily Blunt as Gwen Conliffe
Anthony Hopkins as Sir John Talbot
Hugo Weaving as Aberline
Art Malik as Singh

Special Features:
Deleted and Extended scenes
2 Exclusive Alternate Endings
Return of The Wolfman
The Beast Maker
Transformation Secrets
The Wolfman Unleashed
Werewolf Legacy, Legend and Lore

Includes Digital Copy Of The Wolfman For Portable Media Players

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 119 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins ('The Silence of the Lambs') and Benicio Del Toro ('Traffic') tear up the screen in this action-packed thriller. Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) is lured back to his family estate to investigate the savage murder of his brother by a bloodthirsty beast. There, Talbot must confront his childhood demons, his estranged father (Hopkins), his brother's grieving fiancée (Emily Blunt, 'The Devil Wears Prada') and a suspicious Scotland Yard Inspector (Hugo Weaving, 'The Matrix' Trilogy). When Talbot is bitten by the creature, he becomes eternally cursed and soon discovers a fate far worse than death.

Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, 'The Wolfman' brings the myth of a cursed man back to its iconic origins."

"The Wolfman" is rated R for bloody horror, violence and gore.

Mini-Review:
I went into "The Wolfman" really wanting to like it. I'm a fan of director Joe Johnston from his days on "Star Wars," "The Rocketeer," "Jurassic Park III," and "October Sky," etc. I thought the casting of Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving was perfect. You also couldn't find a better composer than Danny Elfman for the movie. Throw Rick Baker in the mix on makeup and you have a fantastic team. I was even on board with the casting of Benicio Del Toro. It was a movie that I should have liked. But then came the delay on the release which is never a good sign. Then they released it in February which is widely known as a dumping ground for stinkers. While the final product wasn't quite as bad as it could have been, it did have a number of significant problems.

The first problem was the Wolfman makeup itself. It is very obvious that they were going for a traditional-looking Wolfman. The problem is it just didn't look good. It looked like a guy in makeup and it ripped you out of the movie. It didn't look menacing compared to other werewolves in other films. The only time it worked was when it was hidden in shadows or running on all fours. I feel like they should have done a modern interpretation of the creature. It should have been something that terrified modern audiences the way people were scared of the Lon Chaney Jr. version in 1941.

The second problem was Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot. He seemed to have little to no personality in his role. I would have liked to have seen some anger, fear, frustration, humor, or rage in his performance. None of that was there. He looked good on camera, but that was about the extent of it.

The third problem is the pacing. The only interesting parts of the film are the Wolfman attacks, and they only happen five times in the movie. That means everything in between is rather tedious to get through. With better characterization or better performances, those scenes could have been a lot more interesting and added weight to the attack scenes because you'd care more about the characters, but that didn't happen.

On the positive side, as previously mentioned, the action scenes are cool. Seeing the Wolfman rampaging through Victorian London, even looking like a guy in a costume, is impressive. You can't help but love seeing him howl over the cityscape while perched on a gargoyle. A scene where a gypsy camp is attacked is also quite impressive. I also have to compliment the production designers, costumers, and cinematographers. This is a great-looking film. It's a shame the rest of the movie didn't deliver as well. Anthony Hopkins is also fun to watch in even his worst movies.

This Blu-ray offers the "Unrated Director's Cut." It features 16 extra minutes of footage. There's a new scene in the opening showing Gwen Conliffe going to London and seeing Lawrence at the theater. She has to convince him to return home to look for his missing brother. In another scene, we see Lawrence on a train encountering an old man with a wolf cane. The old man offers it to him, but Lawrence refuses. He then wakes from what seems to be a dream to find the man gone and the cane in his place. (This cane is seen later in the presence of Aberline after he is bitten, thus hinting that whoever has it has taken on the werewolf curse.) The old man is played by Max Von Sydow. Another new scene shows Gwen at dinner with Lawrence and Sir John, then leaving after an uncomfortable confrontation between the two.

Is this Blu-ray worth checking out? Yes. While it's not a great film, it's not a bad one either. You'll enjoy this a lot more if you're a fan of classic monster movies.

Among the bonus features are two alternate endings. One shows the Wolfman biting Gwen, then her killing him at the last moment. The implication is that now that she has been bitten, she has the werewolf curse as it ends. The second deleted scene shows him actually killing Gwen, then glaring at the camera as it ends. While the theatrical version is the most by-the-book, it's ultimately the most satisfying for audiences. Also included are featurettes on the makeup, the stunts, the CGI transformations, and the general 'making of' information. Also included is a digital copy of the film.

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