Samuel le Bihan
Not to say that LE PACTE DES LOUPS (if you parlez francais), was the first good French movie I ever watched, but dammit if it didn’t give me a newfound respect for the escargot-eating crowd were capable of. Only a mad Frenchman like Christopher Gans could make a movie this enjoyably bizarre, and I mean that as more “fascinating” than “weird.” It’s a surprisingly natural mix of a number of genres, from a horror-thriller to a period historical drama to a supernatural monster movie, and of course the always awesome Mark Dacascos kicking some serious kung fu ass.
I’ve heard complaints that BROTHERHOOD is boring apart from its more action oriented scenes, a claim that I disagree with. Sure it takes it’s time setting up the characters and stories, and though the first half has more drama than action, it seriously makes up for it in the second half. And by that time you’re more involved with the players, so when Fronsac takes twin daggers to a group of French socialites, it means a bit more. (Bear in mind that this Director’s Cut adds another 10-15 minutes of “talking,” so if you think it’s already too long I’d skip this version.)
The CGI used for the creature is a bit dated, but I’m sure when the film came out in 2001 it was more than decent. At least Gans is smart enough to opt for digital and practical, with a fantastic animatronic monster to add some tangible mayhem to scenes (and made by the Jim Henson Company no less.) The action here is exciting and visceral, which combined with everything else makes BROTHERHOOD truly one of the more unique films to come along this decade.
Deleted Scenes (40:21): More talking, less action. The film was long enough already, especially this version, so it’s a good thing these were excised.
Guts of the Beast (1:18:27): A fascinating documentary that gives a history of the project, the concept behind the action, stunts and effects. It’s also an honest portrayal of its subject, looking at Gans as a technical director vs performance driven one, as opposed to the usual puff piece with actors blindly praising everything
Documentary (1:17:52): While the above feature was comprised of interviews and people looking back at the film, this one follows the filmmakers through actual filming day by day. You get a look at some of the more grueling shooting days, featuring both stunts and actors egos. It’s great seeing hoe much work goes in to a single shot of Mani dodging a falling log.
Legend (17:33): The film was based on a real French historical legend called the Beast of Gevaudan, who terrorized the French countryside. Here you have an interview with a naturalist expert on the subject.
Storyboards (25:32): Rough sketches from several important scenes.
Extra Tidbit: The fact that Mark Dacascos is the Chairman on Iron Chef American completely legitimizes my love of the Food Network.