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Unrated Director's Cut
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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 mist rising over the moors feels right, and so does the slant of moonlight coming over a Victorian village-scape. And if the moon is full, this must be The Wolfman, Universal's 2010 attempt to revive one of the crown jewels in its deservedly legendary horror stable. Benicio Del Toro takes on the old Lon Chaney Jr. role of Lawrence Talbot, an American visitor to his ancestral home in England. Talbot's brother has recently been torn to bits by a beast in the forest, leaving behind a grieving fiancée (Emily Blunt) and a not-visibly-grieving father (Anthony Hopkins). This central situation seems drained of blood even before the full-moon transfigurations begin to bloom, and Del Toro's Talbot--an actor by trade, which raises interesting possibilities for a story of a man divided by different personalities--is mystifyingly blank. The intriguing casting of Del Toro (what an opportunity for a cool werewolf!) comes to naught as Talbot seems to languish on the periphery of his own story. Hugo Weaving tries to generate some interest as the police inspector on the case, but he too is defeated by the combination of mechanical storytelling and bland computer-generated werewolves. The script skips from one exposition scene to the next, but nothing registers long enough to create character, tension, or the slimmest desire to see what happens in the next scene. Every once in a while director Joe Johnston (Jumanji) finds a grand staircase or CGI fog that conjures up the atmosphere of the old Universal horror classics, but otherwise this is a clueless affair--not as bad as Van Helsing, but flat-out dull. The movie can't even find a way to get the old Gypsy lady (Geraldine Chaplin stepping into Maria Ouspenskaya's tiny shoes) to deliver a proper recitation of screenwriter Curt Siodmak's great "Even a man who is pure in heart" doggerel from the 1941 film. Instead, it's thrown away in a voice-over at the beginning--one hairy way to start the movie. --Robert Horton
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The unrated version is better than the theatrical version. This movie pays homage to the original with Lon Chaney in several ways, including a spinning globe at the start just like the old Universal movies. (Only in the unrated version, cut from the theatrical release.)
I would like to see a sequel.
Be aware however that I noticed a drop out in the sound at around the 1:30 mark it could be an isolated glitch but you may want to check your copy (and no it wasn't related to the player nor any dirt or debris on the disc as it happened at exactly the same spot. Could be something in the dual layer of the BD disc though). I didn't notice any other glitches and/or problems.
Director Joe Johnston creates an atmospheric film with terrific production values. While there are elements that don't work in the film (Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt have zero chemistry both do give good performances although Del Toro at times seems a bit miscast to me). The action sequences particularly the sequence set at an asylum in London are terrifically staged and directed. Is the film flawed? Most certainly although the "Director's Cut" eliminates many of these flaws and "The Wolf Man" remains a gory entertaining movie.
Actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro)returns home at the request of his brother's fiance to discover who or what mutilated and killed his brother. Long estranged from his father (Anthony Hopkins who chews the scenery quite ably), Talbot returns home reluctantly at first but becomes determined to find the creature stalking the locals. When Lawrence is attacked by the creature he becomes cursed becoming a monster when the full moon hangs high in the sky.
The Blu-ray has quite a bit in the way of special features focusing on the visual effects, make up and thoughts behind remaking the 1940 film. Included as part of the package here is the ability to stream the original film via BD Live (it would have been nice if they had included it on Blu-ray as an extra here)and it looks quite good (here's hoping a BD version will arrive soon).
"The Wolf Man" is QUITE gory and as well as being an atmospheric film. While I'm not sure if it is a "classic" it is an entertaining if flawed film and the "Unrated Director's Cut" is far superior to the theatrical version even if it is only 16 minutes longer.
If in doubt, I'd suggest renting before buying.
Fast-forward to 2010's "The Wolf Man." Laurence Talbot is summoned back to his ancestral home of Talbot Hall on the disappearance of his brother. He arrives to find his brother murdered and multilated, and rashly promises his brother's grieving fiancee Gwen that he will uncover the truth. He visits the local gypsies for answers, only to be bitten by a mysterious beast.
Nursed back to health by Gwen, Laurence is under suspicion by the local villagers, who fear a monster, and by Scotland Yard Inspecter Aberline, who seeks a murdering lunatic. When the killings resume at the next full moon, Laurence discovers the nature of his curse. He is confined at a facility for the criminally insane. There, a visit from his father Sir John reveals the full horror of his situation. Laurence will escape the mental institution to seek his fate at Talbot Hall.
The movie generally follows the 1941 original, with some plot twists involving the (very) troubled Talbot family history. Bernicio del Toro is a sympathetic Laurence. Emily Blunt is stoic and effective as Gwen. Hugo Weaving almost steals the movie as Inspector Aberline. Anthony Hopkins is in full scenery-chewing mode as Sir John. The famous Chatsworth Hall is morphed into a dark, brooding and decrepit Talbot Hall. The movie is full of things that go bump in the night, both real and imagined. The CGI effects are frightening, if surreal and a bit overdone.
"The Wolf Man" is highly recommended as an entertaining horror flick and a decently-done successor to the original.