The Wolfman, Blu-ray (2010), 2-Disc Unrated Director’s Cut
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo
Director: Joe Johnston
Music: Danny Elfman
Studio: Universal 61106262 [6/1/10]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, DVS DD 2.0, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Deleted and extended scenes; 2 alternate endings; 2 versions: theatrical & unrated; Complete bonus movie of the 1941 Wolfman with Lon Cheney Jr. (via BD-Live or from Universal web site); Several bonus features on makeup (with Rick Baker and others), special effects, the original mythology, etc.; Digital copy to transfer to your iPod or computer, U-Control reveals behind-the-scenes details, and explores werewolf mythology.
Length: 1 hours 59 minutes
A roaring good updating of the classic B&W horror film that has sort of taken a back seat to Frankenstein and Dracula. Perhaps not five stars but having some very clever twists on the mythology and story line (which I can’t reveal or would be an awful spoiler). The settings are perfect and most impressive, as are the costumes. Del Toro really wrings a variety of emotions out of his role, and Hopkins is of course terrific as his father. Unlike some of the other monsters, one can really empathize with poor Talbot, because he didn’t arrange to get bitten by a werewolf and struggles to control himself, but to no avail. One slight drawback is that Del Toro doesn’t exactly look like a British nobleman, but with the assistance of creature maven Rick Baker, he sure looks like a werewolf! If Hugo Weaving, playing the Scotland Yard inspector, appears familiar it’s because he was the multiplied character in the Matrix Trilogy.
I must admit to being taken aback by the revelation in the extras that when the creature-feature experts were creating the various limbs and heads he was ripping off as the Wolfman, Del Toro asked them to make the materials edible so he could be filmed actually chewing on them. The whole mood of the original film has been beautifully updated. There is more emphasis on the actual condition of clinical lycanthropy (believing one is a werewolf) with scenes in a Victorian asylum. Hopkins originated the rather chilling bit of his playing a harmonica as he leaves his son in the asylum. I suppose the slightly longer Director’s Cut has a few more gory details than the theatrical version (which I didn’t watch). The transfer looks great, even in the many very dark scenes. The fog and moonlight shots are excellent. Elfman’s score fits the film like a glove. The extras are mostly worth viewing, though I was expecting the original 1941 film to be on the physical discs; it’s not.
— John Sunier