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Wolfman, The (Unrated Director's Cut) (2010) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 June 2010
Image"The Wolfman" flew through theaters like a hurricane.  Perform a half of one blink of an eye and you would have missed it.  I'm not quite sure why.  While this is not a masterpiece by any means, it is better than most junk getting released these days.  But alas, the film seems to have suffered from a lack of marketing as well as thematic elements.

"The Wolfman" is a remake of the original film of the same title in 1941.  The original film is as corny as ever.  I confess that I never saw the original, until now that is.  The original film can be accessed and streamed through this Blu-ray.  I took a quick gander but couldn't handle very much.

This 2010 remake is not what I would consider horror per say.  There are a lot of grisly elements, but it lacks the fear element to make it a true horror.  The film is predictable.  You know exactly how it is going to turn out, what secret each character is hiding, etc.  It seems as though the filmmakers tried to hide this fact but incorporating more elements, which sadly only serve to muddy up the simple plot.

The film comes across as not knowing whether it should be simplistic or enigmatic.  It falls somewhere in between, which is almost a recipe for disaster.  What saves this film is the photography.  The mood is properly set to put the audience in the mindset of the century.  It is not the best I have seen but it is falls somewhere between better than "Van Helsing" and not quite as good as "Sleepy Hollow."

In "The Wolfman," a stage actor, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is summoned home in the wake of his brother's disappearance.  Shortly after arriving he learns of his brother's death.  Quickly he sets out for revenge, following clues in a less-than-Sherlock Holmes kind of way.  Meanwhile his relationship with his father grows tenser.  From the start we can see that his father is hiding something.
Stupidly, Talbot follows a lead that takes him into the middle of a dark forest while there is a fierce creature on the loose that attacks and obliterates everyone in its path.  Talbot is no exception.  He is bitten by what some have already guessed is a werewolf.  The transformation is quick and soon Talbot is sought for the murder of villagers and destruction.

Emily Blunt plays the bereaved widow of Talbot's brother.  Without any real reason she begins to fall for Talbot.  Sadly, he is a werewolf so the two can never be together right?  Find out for yourself if you haven't already guessed.  Also, Talbot's father comes back into play with a not so surprising revelation.

Now, for the video presentation.  I am at a loss for why such an average film can get such a delicious film transfer, while more impressive titles are completely lackluster.  I digress.  "The Wolfman" has a near perfect transfer.  The film is heavy in shadows but the black levels never waver.  The details that are swallowed in the shadows are intentional.  But the same holds true for the opposite.  Shadows can reveal tremendous detail when called upon.  There are no vibrant colors in this film.  The image is washed with a blue tint that nicely conveys a sense of drab and dreariness.  Despite color tinting, fleshtones remain accurate.  Details and textures are perfect.  The werewolf sequences contain fine hair details and costume textures.  Noise is not an issue, and artifacting from edge enhancement is negligible.  This is quite the video transfer.  Too bad the movie is only so-so.

The most brilliant aspect of this Blu-ray is the audio track.  The audio excites more fear than the film itself.  Stuns and stings abound in this soundtrack will leave you jumping on more than few occasions.  Dialogue remains clean and intelligible throughout.  Sound effects are enveloping with panning and directionality spot on.  The ambience in the rear channels is completely immersive.  The LFE channel is put to good use in this film, providing that swallowing feel.  Surround channels deliver excellent ambience and discreet effects.  Movement in the surrounds is flawless.  This is without a doubt a reference audio track.  It even has a few tricks that will leave you wondering, "How on earth did they do that?"  Pay attention to the motion and panning.

So, not only does "The Wolfman" comes to Blu-ray with stellar audio and video transfers, but it also has better special features than better movies.  First, the disc contains both the theatrical and director cuts of the film.  The director's cut has about 15 minutes of additional footage.

The primary feature is the U-Control section, which unfortunately is only available on the theatrical cut.  The U-Control section has two features.  "Take Control" contains crew members discussing concepts in the film.  The other mode is "Legacy, Legend and Lore," which examines the history of wolfman in film.  There are two alternate endings there are complete nonsense.  Even with the director's cut there are still a few deleted scenes, which also don't amount to much.  "Return of the Wolfman" is a recap of the franchise.  "The Beast Maker" is a terrific makeup featurette.  "Transformation Secrets" is comparison of the effects of the original film and this remake.  "The Wolfman Unleashed" is set/location piece.  The package also contains a second disc that functions as a Digital Copy.  The Blu-ray also functions as a pocketBLU disc.  Through BD Live the original "Wolf Man" film is available for viewing, though I doubt this feature will last long.

"The Wolfman" is not an exciting thriller or suspenseful horror.  It does have some interesting moments, but in the end there is little to take away from watching this film.  The only parts of this release that are worth it are the audio and video transfers.  I could watch the film again just for those two elements.  Someday perhaps we will get a release that has perfect audio/video tracks as well as a perfect movie.  But that continues to be my wish.

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