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The Wolfman
BLU-RAY disk
06.01.2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Wolfman order download
Joe Johnston

Benicio Del Toro
Anthony Hopkins
Emily Blunt


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Stage actor Lawrence Talbot is visited in London by the fiancťe of his late brother whose grisly murder has raised many questions. He reluctantly returns to his familyís estate and all the awful memories from his childhood. These memories pale in comparison to the cursed monster that will lay claim to his soul.
For the most part, Iíve always found werewolves rather bland and predictable in the fight to become the masters of horror. I donít really know which came first, the vampire or the werewolf but I feel the werewolf got the short end of the stick. The main reason being that werewolves are just another Jekyll and Hyde story with their wolf form making them monsters that canít be reasoned with or controlled instead of the suave vampire whoís still a master of intrigue. This isnít THE HOWLING, but it isnít UNDERWORLD either and as far as the monster goes, I loved the old school feel of THE WOLFMAN and couldnít have asked for a better representation.

The story works because it focuses upon the lore of lycanthropy, curses, mystics and the overall recklessness of small minded religion and politics found in the old world. The gypsies were a nice touch and rightfully so as magic goes hand in hand with werewolves just as nicely as it does with vampires. Thereís all kinds of silver floating around; from pure silver bullets, silver tipped shotgun shells and of course, the silver wolfís head cane/sword that some random old dude gives our main character at the beginning of the film for no particular reason whatsoever. It was an odd scene, and yes, I understand you wanting to get a weapon like that in the film but Iíd have personally gone about it differently. I also enjoyed the addition of Scotland Yard and loved the subtle Jack the Ripper nod.

I wasnít sure about Benicio Del Toro in the lead at first (though Iíll admit he looked the part in the early pictures) but he played his role with an elegance I didnít know the man had and I was particularly impressed by his lack of accent. As a matter a fact, the wardrobe and sets are magnificent and add just the right tone, look and feel to this film. The score is similarly well handled and easily makes the hair on your arms squirm. Anthony Hopkins is one of those actors that rocks the shit out whatever film heís in, even more so when he plays a sinister type of character (he was made for those roles). Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving didnít get nearly as much screen time as Iíd have liked but both added their own appeal and did the best with what they had to work with (check out Blunt in THE YOUNG VICTORIA for a true measure of her acting skills).

THE WOLFMAN is exactly what I wanted it to be, a slick, atmospheric monster movie that delivers Horror the way it should be delivered, with an R rating (there was talk of making it PG-13 for awhile). There is also an unrated directorís cut giving us an added fifteen minutes of the good stuff and I definitely approve. The only downside I found here was the obvious predictability of it all, as sadly there are no surprises when it comes to how things are and will eventually play out. Is that a bad thing? Sometimes it can be but rest assured this film works as a monster movie and true Horror experience and thatís what counts most at the end of the day. There are so few actual ďHorrorĒ films being made lately so relish these babies like gold cause who knows how rare they might soon become.
Alternate Endings: There are two more endings here, both are decent ways of going about it and though they probably arenít what people want to see I think either one would have helped with the predictability factor.

Deleted and Extended Scenes: All five scenes were extended scenes and I feel they worked rather nicely and should have stayed in as they only really added about five minutes of footage.

Return of the Wolfman: This feature is about how this film was a return to the classic wolfman and how they wanted to capture and honour the original feel of lycanthropy and the beast within. I think they did exactly that.

The Beast Maker: Creature effects supervisor Dave Elsey and his wife, fabrication and hair supervisor Lou Elsey along with the rest of the production team share a vicious love of the source material and vowed to make this look as real as possible. This is how they did it.

Transformation Secrets: The production team talk special effects and how easy it is with todayís technology to go so far over the top that you lose all sense of realism. They kept things simple (in a good way) and it showed.

The Wolfman Unleashed: Stunt coordinator Steve Dent explains how intense these stunts are and how they needed the gore and supernatural essence to properly depict the werewolves. I couldnít agree more, watering this down to PG-13 or making it a CG-fest would have really sucked.

I suppose itís worth mentioning that there are two versions of the film, theatrical and unrated (not that anyone will watch the theatrical one) and there is also a Digital Copy.
I never liked werewolves until I read the RAVENLOFT novel HEART OF MIDNIGHT, a supremely rich tale of upper class werewolves. This is not that story, but its close enough to make for good time as most werewolf tales come at the expense of vampires these days. It was definitely time for these creatures to reclaim their own individual spotlight and hopefully this wonít be the last time.
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