The Brotherhood of the Wolf
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A terrible four-legged creature is stalking the French countryside. Sent out to dispatch the seemingly immortal beast are the King’s Royal Naturalist and a mysterious, ass-kicking Indian guy.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Wild, beautiful to look at, and unabashedly wacky, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF is proof positive that Hollywood doesn't own exclusive rights to the "Enjoyable B-Movie". French director Christophe Gans (CRYING FREEMAN) has patched together one of the most strangely beautiful movies ever to reach American shores. Equal parts JAWS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and the classical tale of “Beowulf”, this movie is a slick, entertaining and visually stunning surprise. And yes, it's in French. Those averse to subtitles need not apply. While it's loosely based on the reportedly true tale of "The Beast of Gevaudan", BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF is most assuredly a "fiction" piece.
Although there were a rash of unexplained deaths around that French town in the late 18th century, the movie branches away from the legend and leaps gleefully into a ‘gothic action-flick/horror movie/mystery/political drama’…with a little romance to boot. Visually, this one is a real feast. The breathtaking landscapes of 18th century France are depicted quite wonderfully, Gans' operatic flair with his camera is evident throughout, and the numerous battle sequences are a joy to behold. Imagine if Michael Bay and Tim Burton co-directed an old-fashioned werewolf flick, and then John Woo dropped in to helm some incongruous (yet quite rousing) fight scenes. If you think all foreign films are stuffy and inaccessible, here's a solid comic book of a movie that will make you feel a little more cultured.
I’ve read a few reports about some non-Region 1 editions that offer a whole slew of extras, but the U.S. version is a bit skimpy. One very cool addition is the deleted scenes featurette, which are presented by director Christophe Gans. The filmmaker explains the scenes you’re about to see and briefly explains why they were cut (The first cut scene is a truly kick-ass action scene; too bad it was snipped, but hooray that we can still see it!) The rest of the goodies are your basic trailers, cast/crew bios, and production notes. The deleted scenes featurette is good enough to forgive the meager returns otherwise, but if you’re looking for a full-blown Special Edition, look outside the U.S. (My first guess would be to try France!)
A big showy mess of a fun movie that’s delivered in a gorgeous transfer. The somewhat disappointing extras are salvaged by some cut scenes. I’d say it’s a rental first to see how much you dig it. Me? I’m keeping my copy.