(R and unrated)
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Joe Johnston directs this remake of the classic 1941 Universal monster movie. This version takes place about a hundred years ago in England as Lawrence Talbot returns to his family estate to bury his brother, who was mysteriously and brutally murdered. During his investigation, Lawrence is bitten by a werewolf and becomes a murdering beast himself when the moon is full.
WHAT I LIKED
The “Wolfman” films were some of my favorite of the classic Universal monster movies of the 40s, and I always felt a level of empathy with Lawrence Talbot. Because of this, I was holding out hopes for the film. When I saw the movie in the theaters, I was disappointed with a lot of the story, but fortunately some of that is remedied by the longer introduction to the director’s cut.
We are given more backstory to Talbot and the motivations behind his actions. Sure, it doesn’t get to the violent moments as quickly, the but slower burn of the director’s cut is definitely worth watching.
The best part of the film, however, remains the werewolf scenes. Here’s where it shines. The movie keeps the traditional look of the Wolfman and uses a mixture of practical effects and digital wizardry. The bottom line with this movie is that I enjoyed it as a kick-ass and gory werewolf movie, and the wolf-on-wolf climax at the end is worth the wait.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
It’s odd to say this, but the biggest problems with “The Wolfman” come from the cast. Benicio Del Toro phones in his lines and stumbles through the movie, giving us as lackluster of a performance as he did in “The Usual Suspects.” Similarly, Emily Blunt is utterly wasted in the film. She could have been completely left on the cutting room floor, and we’d have the same film. Even Anthony Hopkins, who plays Talbot’s father, just goes through the motions. In fact, the only saving grace of the cast is Hugo Weaving as the inspector searching for the truth behind the murders.
The Blu-ray includes a nice allotment of features. There’s deleted and extended scenes, including two alternate endings. Additionally, we have some featurettes (“Return of The Wolfman” and “The Beast Maker”) that show how the special effects brought the creature to life.
Unique to the Blu-ray is the U-Control feature that include picture-in-picture behind the scenes about the special effects of Rick Baker and the “Legacy, Legend and Lore” of werewolves.
Probably one of the best features of this Blu-ray is access to BD-Live, which allows you to watch the original “The Wolf Man” on your player, your smart phone or your computer.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People like me who just want to watch some kick-ass werewolf action.