The Wolfman (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 54 Old 05-24-2010, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=176377&d=1274637275
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

88






Studio and Year: Universal - 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated/R
Feature running time: 119/112 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker & David Self
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 1, 2010







"When the moon is full the legend comes to life"



Film Synopsis:

The werewolf legend returns in a blood curdling, high-energy thriller inspired by the Universal classic that launched a legacy of horror. Oscar® winner Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, an aristocratic Englishman who returns to his family estate after the mysterious death of his brother. Under the light of the full moon, Talbot is attacked by a terrifying beast and discovers his horrifying destiny. Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins plays Talbot's estranged father and Golden Globe® winner Emily Blunt is his late brother's distraught fiancée in a lush nightmare that will terrify a new generation.




My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=176374&d=1274637214

My early childhood nightmares revolved around the oft reran horror classics from Universal Pictures. Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman were principal among them and were the figures that I most associated with horror. I saw the Wolfman as more of a sympathetic character as his uncontrollable transformation was more an affliction. When he wasn't the monster he was a decent guy struggling to find a way out. Today's films that deal with lycanthropy are much different both thematically and visually. That isn't a bad thing as the essence of the legend on film has evolved. I have always had a place in my heart for the original and I appreciate the homage paid to it in this retelling.

The storyline and effects have been tweaked and updated and the result blends action and horror as it attempts to expand the mythos of the originals legacy. The script devotes lots of time to Lawrence (Del Toro) in the now but unsuccessfully connects the audience with his past which includes the estranged relationship with his father Sir John (Hopkins). At its heart the dramatic elements in the story hinge upon Lawrence's reasons for being away since childhood. He returns after being contacted by his brother's finance Gwen when his brother Ben goes missing. There are only glimpses of flashbacks and innuendo regarding Lawrence and Ben's childhood which includes the untimely death of their mother. Obviously based upon the story's outcome some of this is intentional however I would have preferred a deeper understanding of the familial dynamic which would probably have made the outcome a bit more rewarding. Sir John is an ambiguously drawn character played to dark perfection by Anthony Hopkins. The estrangement between Sir John and Lawrence is presented in fragments that come together later (sort of) but can be frustrating over the course of the film.

Jump scares are few however this plays more in line with the story's B movie level of suspense. The action based sequences are in line with today's films and feature good special effects (ala Rick Baker) and reasonable levels of gore. I had a hard time accepting Benicio Del Toro in the role of Lawrence. His uncharismatic personality and brooding demeanor didn't seem like a good fit. I appreciated Emily Blunt's portrayal of Gwen and Hugo Weaving had no trouble handling Scotland Yard's Detective Abberline. I watched the unrated director's cut which adds 7 minutes to the theatrical version's runtime. As mentioned earlier I would have preferred a better developed story and smoother pacing but otherwise I think that The Wolfman achieves a fair level of success in its attempt to remake the 1941 classic.



Parental Guide:

This films contains graphic horror violence, disturbing images and thematic material that is unsuitable for young viewers.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699



Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=176375&d=1274637214

The Wolfman comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This high definition video presentation offers quality that is consistent with other newer release films that have been released on Blu-ray Disc. Blacks are strong, with deep gradations and dynamic highlights that look great when onscreen with mixed content. This is a dark film both thematically and aesthetically that contains a variety of sequences shot in low lit environs and uneven light. Shadow detail is excellent. Contrast and brightness aren't overdriven which provides punch while preserving detail in dark and light elements onscreen. The color palette is limited and primarily makes use of reserved earth tones and varying shades of gray and blue that is rarely eye catching. When applied, primary colors such as the ice blue of Emily Blunt's eyes are noticeably enticing and stand out nicely. Flesh tones have appreciable complexional variety and appear lifelike. Images are delineated and revealing of good textural nuance that enhances close ups. Long range shots aren't resolved quite as well but appear dimensional. Resolution is excellent however the video isn't always definitively resolved. Softer definition that appears innate to the photography is obvious but I wouldn't define it as deleterious. A light veil of grain imparts a film like texture that is never intrusive. This is a solid high definition offering that mates well with the source material.

The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio delivered an enriching surround sound experience. This is a dynamically charged mix that features clear dialogue and lucid high level detail that elevate the perception of lower level sounds within the recording. The exemplary sound design carefully blends subtle ambience, discrete near field pans, and off camera spatial cues to create a stable, immersive and articulated listening environment within my room. This results in superb imaging and seamless soundstage integration that make the experience quite involving. Bass response is excellent. The action based sequences have hard hitting authority with palpable extension, and room filling dynamics that help heighten suspense. This is a well rounded and invigorating surround mix that enhance the film's thematic elements and makes for an engaging home theater exhibition.



Bonus Features:


  • Unrated and Theatrical versions of The Wolfman

  • U-Control:

    1. Legacy, legend and lore - PiP Bonus view feature - comparisons, trivia, mythology and more!
    2. Take control - Featuring make-up guru Rick Baker, Visual FX producer Karen Muprhy-Mundell and director of photography Shelly Johnson as they dissect/discuss select scenes from the film

  • (HD) 2 Alternate endings

  • (HD) 5 deleted/alternate scenes

  • (HD) Return of The Wolfman - 12 minute featurette

  • (HD) The Beast Maker - 12 minute feature on make-up master Rick Baker

  • (HD) Transformation secrets - 15 minute special effects featuette

  • (HD) The Wolfman unleashed - 8 minute stunt featurette

  • Social BLU - Connect with friends on your favorite social networks to share information about your favorite movies, enjoy Blu-ray community features and more

  • Pocket BLU - app uses iPhone, iPod® touch, Blackberry®, Android, PC and Macintosh to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray player

  • BD-Live - Whats New: (HD) Includes streaming of the entire 1941 classic film The Wolfman.

  • D-Box motion code enabled

  • Digital Copy of The Wolfman
attachment.php?attachmentid=176376&d=1274637214


Final Thoughts:

The Wolfman is a remake of the classic 1941 horror film which starred the great Lon Chaney in the title role. This retelling pays homage to the original and had good potential but ultimately falls short with a muddled script and uneven pacing. That isn't to suggest that it is without merit. Fans of the original will probably appreciate its ode to bygone era horror classics and there is enough action and special effects to appeal to today's genre lovers. Universal sweetens the deal with a strong audio/video presentation and a Blu-ray friendly bonus feature package that covers the production and pays worthy tribute to lycanthropy in general. Give it a rent of fright night.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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post #2 of 54 Old 05-24-2010, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph. Sounds like a Netflix must, but not essential for the collection. I didn't get a chance to see it in the theater (I wait for movies to come on blu ray) so I look forward to watching it.. Thanks again

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post #3 of 54 Old 05-24-2010, 11:53 AM
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I have never seen the original but I thought this remake was great. Rick Baker never fails to make the best looking werewolves. The gore is good in this one and there's a few moments that'll make you jump. It's true that the relationship between the father and son is a bit fragmented and not delved into enough. The only thing I really didn't like in the film though is some shoddy CGI moments ala a deer and bear scene and a battle at the end. The director has said that they didn't want to put a deer through so much trauma and they didn't have time to get a hold of a real bear. Both poor excuses imo.

I really liked this film though and will definitely be buying it on Blu-ray. Does anyone know what entails the 7 minutes of additional footage?
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post #4 of 54 Old 05-24-2010, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogie7910 View Post

I really liked this film though and will definitely be buying it on Blu-ray. Does anyone know what entails the 7 minutes of additional footage?

Greetings,

I couldn't for certain but since you're definitely getting it and it includes both the theatrical and director's cut you can check for yourself.


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post #5 of 54 Old 05-24-2010, 02:55 PM
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Good review, this film has an incredible sound mix and I expect it to be a reference quality track on the BD.
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post #6 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 07:17 AM
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I saw it in the theater and I enjoyed it.

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post #7 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 07:58 AM
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Surprised the video only scored 88. Even though it's not a bad score i thought it would've passed at least 90 considering majority of the movie was shot in the dark. Nonetheless i thought this was a great film and Emily did a pretty good job at playing her character.

Collect.

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post #8 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 08:16 AM
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And here I was hoping they'd finally done for the werewolf genre what Coppola did for Dracula. I know that the cynics weren't completely enthused, but I was hoping that more real-world film enthusiast reviews would find it more enchanting. Oh well, the trailer looks so awesome, it's still a blind-buy for me. Thanks for the review!

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post #9 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

I couldn't for certain but since you're definitely getting it and it includes both the theatrical and director's cut you can check for yourself.

There seems to be a running time discrepancy. I remember the film to be shorter than 112 mins...seemed more like 90 mins at the time (not including credits).

So I checked IMDB and it indicates the time of the theatrical version was 103 mins. That's more in line with what I remember. Which means that the Director's Cut has about 16 - 17 mins of added footage. (Again, pretty much equalling what Joe Johnston said the studio chopped out...with what seemed like a hack saw!) The time given on the BD box for the theatrical cut is probably a misprint.
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post #10 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by film113 View Post

There seems to be a running time discrepancy. I remember the film to be shorter than 112 mins...seemed more like 90 mins at the time (not including credits).

So I checked IMDB and it indicates the time of the theatrical version was 103 mins. That's more in line with what I remember. Which means that the Director's Cut has about 16 - 17 mins of added footage. (Again, pretty much equalling what Joe Johnston said the studio chopped out...with what seemed like a hack saw!) The time given on the BD box for the theatrical cut is probably a misprint.

Greetings,

I took the times directly from the time stamps on the disc.

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post #11 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

I took the times directly from the time stamps on the disc.

Regards,

Makes one wonder if there are two director's cuts! I know that
it was around 90 minutes (give or take) in the theater. Add another 10-12 minutes of credits and...well now I'm REALLY curious to see this disc! (Almost was gonna purchase, but I don't need to pay for a DVD, Digital Copy, and no HD version of the original film.)
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post #12 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 10:37 AM
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Ralph, thanks for not giving away an important plot point that other reviewers did before I saw it theatrically. It brought back memories of the old monster movies from my youth...except for the gore. It wasn't completely satisfying, but I found a lot to enjoy about it.

I look forward to revisiting this on BD, as the theatrical showing was blurry (as usual) and washed out. One of the downsides of having dedicated batcave 1080p front projection theatre room is that going to a real theatre is mostly disappointing now.
Other people don't understand, until they see what mine looks like. I'm sure the same thing happens to you.

Art
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post #13 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adpayne View Post

I look forward to revisiting this on BD, as the theatrical showing was blurry (as usual) and washed out. Art

Thought it was just me! I saw the trailers in HD and the image quality of the production so impressed me that it was one of the reasons I went out to see it. But the theatrical image that I saw was, like yours, washed out and gray-ish. Between the restored footage and a more accurate visual presentation, I think people will be seeing the intended film for the very first time on disc.
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post #14 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 11:05 AM
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Well I was 5 years old when the original was released and wasn't allowed to see it until I was 10 or 12. I do recall that it scared the hell outta me and none of the werewolf films in later years could hold a candle to it, so I am looking forward to this one, just out of curiosity if nothing else. Those old Universal horror films are hard to beat, and sometimes what you didn't see was more scarier than what they show in so-called horror films today. Many of those oldies are in my dvd collection.
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post #15 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 11:32 AM
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Hey Ralph. Nice review once again.
I like to see reviews like this, where the reviewer is very familiar with the genre, and the fact that you have not not seen the original monster hooror movies, it seems you know then fairly well.
It seems that once again, the REMAKE of a movie falls a bit short of ultimate success... at least that's how I interpret your words.
Just as well, you have rated the movie 2.5 stars, which is in the 50th percentile range on the scale of 0->5.
This is not a very good rating in my eyes.
However you describe the movie as achieving a "fair level of success".
Did you mean at the Box Office, or referring to the movie itself.
It just seems that the rating give doesn't quite match your written sentiments.
What say ye?
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post #16 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

Hey Ralph. Nice review once again.
I like to see reviews like this, where the reviewer is very familiar with the genre, and the fact that you have not not seen the original monster hooror movies, it seems you know then fairly well.
It seems that once again, the REMAKE of a movie falls a bit short of ultimate success... at least that's how I interpret your words.
Just as well, you have rated the movie 2.5 stars, which is in the 50th percentile range on the scale of 0->5.
This is not a very good rating in my eyes.
However you describe the movie as achieving a "fair level of success".
Did you mean at the Box Office, or referring to the movie itself.
It just seems that the rating give doesn't quite match your written sentiments.
What say ye?

Greetings,

Dave, I struggled with rating this. I think that it succeeds in capturing the essence of the original which is something I found appealing (hence my comments regarding a fair level of success in that regard). On the other hand I wasn't satified with aspects of the story and pacing. I could have gone with either a rating of 2.5 or 3 but settled on 2.5.

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post #17 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Dave, I struggled with rating this. I think that it succeeds in capturing the essence of the original which is something I found appealing (hence my comments regarding a fair level of success in that regard). On the other hand I wasn't satified with aspects of the story and pacing. I could have gone with either a rating of 2.5 or 3 but settled on 2.5.

Regards,

Thanks for that Ralph. Perfectly understandable.
Maybe you should revamp the rating system to include quarter points (IE: 2.75).

I try to rate stuff on Netflix all the time and find myself struggling in the same way. They don't even have half stars, let alone quarter stars.
So like many others, most stuff gets 3 stars, even though I may have given it 3.5. Kinda negates the purpose of using the ratings to recommend movies for any given user. I digress... .

It does sound like you consider Wolfman to be a competent monster_horror movie for at least a rental recommendation?

TIA
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post #18 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

Thanks for that Ralph. Perfectly understandable.
Maybe you should revamp the rating system to include quarter points (IE: 2.75).

I try to rate stuff on Netflix all the time and find myself struggling in the same way. They don't even have half stars, let alone quarter stars.
So like many others, most stuff gets 3 stars, even though I may have given it 3.5. Kinda negates the purpose of using the ratings to recommend movies for any given user. I digress... .

It does sound like you consider Wolfman to be a competent monster_horror movie for at least a rental recommendation?

TIA

Greetings,

Absolutely worth a rental Dave.

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post #19 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 01:58 PM
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The cinematography in this movie was absolutely fantastic, even though the movie itself was a bit mediocre for me.
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post #20 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 02:18 PM
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Thank you Ralph! I've really come to appreciate the effort you put into your reviews. I look forward to experiencing this once netflix delivers.
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post #21 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Ralph! I've really come to appreciate the effort you put into your reviews. I look forward to experiencing this once netflix delivers.

Greetings,

You're more than welcome apexdown.


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post #22 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 04:52 PM
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For some reason this was completely off my radar. Nice review I will give it a rent!

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post #23 of 54 Old 05-25-2010, 09:50 PM
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Ralph is right about Benicio Del Toro being somewhat miscast in the film. Strange, because he was also one of the producers as well as being very good in other film roles that were less of a streach from his personal qualities. My question is, does the extra footage make it a better film? Does it add to the impact? It was just passable in the movie release version. I'd be interested in buying it if it is a real improvement from the release version.
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post #24 of 54 Old 05-26-2010, 12:37 PM
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I watched the Blu-ray of this movie last night. I had seen it during it's theatrical run months ago and had very mixed feelings about the film which I'll get to further down in my post.

Regarding the a/v quality, I think on both aspects the BR more than delivers an excellent presentation for this film. Detail is sharp, colors (when not purposely muted) look rich with deep blacks and the sound mix makes good use of rear channels when necessary. Strictly judging the movie on the Blu-ray quality, it's a winner.

The extras which would probably interest most people looking to check this movie out are the alternate "unrated" cut, the 2 alternate endings and the unused scenes. taken together, they illustrate what a jumbled mess this movie was at one point before extensive re-editing and apparent re-shooting was done to bring this flick together, at least in it's theatrical released form. IMO, the unrated version is a marginally better film than the original cut, notably the first 10 minutes which greatly expand Talbot's character and in a brief scene with a sadly underused Max Von Sydow, we learn how Talbot got the silver wolf's head cane.

On the other hand, the two alternate endings show just how much worse this film *could* have been. Both are nearly laughably terrible ideas poorly executed. Of the unused scenes, the extended rampage in London is the most interesting although it also illustrates the uncertainty the film makers originally had in approaching the tone of the film as there's a number of rather awkward, jokey moments that easily outdo a "Van Helsing" style camp horror flick and are wildly out of place with the rest of the movie's tone.

Regarding Del Toro as the lead, I didn't have as much a problem with him as many others do. My personal favorite "werewolf" movie is Hammer Film's "Curse Of The Werewolf" that was equally brooding (and often hammy) actor Oliver Reed's breakout role whom I think Del Toro comes closer to matching vs Lon Chaney Jr's take. If there's a problem with any one actor, it's Anthony Hopkin's (supposedly on purpose) flat and seemingly lazy portrayal of the elder Talbot.

One other interesting thing - in the documentary there's some clips of Univeral's apparantly newly restored version of the classic "Wolf Man" from 1941. On one hand, the footage looks incredibly clean, but it also looks fairly waxy and overly scrubbed to the point of artificiality. I did not attempt to check out the download of the original Wolf Man via BD Live but I'm guessing it too sports this newly... scrubbed transfer.

T.B.
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post #25 of 54 Old 05-29-2010, 08:56 AM
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NF is a no go for release date of June 1st for this one as many probably know. I'll have to go with a rental from a local BV store as I don't want to wait and I'm anxious to view this one but not until after WOTW!

It was completely off my radar as well which is strange as I pretty much keep up with releases.
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post #26 of 54 Old 05-30-2010, 03:00 AM
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This film was decent, but it could have been better. I didn't like the ending, but I'm not sure whether or not to take it as a cliffhanger or not. Maybe I am looking into it too much. The only real complaint I have about Wolfman is that dialogue was sometimes very hard to hear and I had to turn up the volume a little. The next second it got extremely loud (happened on a few instances) and scared the crap out of me. Granted, I don't have the greatest speakers on the market (mid grade speaker system), I did find this to be slightly annoying. The action scenes were very pleasant however.

The video presentation I thought was on point for the most part. Ralph, do you think that a few parts of this film had some crush to it? I thought there was some minor crush in some scenes, but it wasn't a huge issue nor was it something that occurred often.
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post #27 of 54 Old 05-30-2010, 09:26 AM
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We saw this movie in theaters. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I would. Somewhat disappointed. I love werewolves. They have so many vampire movies and they're pretty cool. I wish they'd make a badass werewolf movie. Though, this paid homage to the classic werewolf movies, it seemed very choppy to me. Benicio did really well in his part.
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post #28 of 54 Old 05-31-2010, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supertrapped View Post

We saw this movie in theaters. it seemed very choppy to me.

With 17 minutes cut out, no wonder!
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post #29 of 54 Old 06-01-2010, 08:14 AM
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Very thorough review, Ralph!

I saw this in theatres and loved it. I've been counting down to the Blu-Ray release - will be picking this up IMMEDIATELY after work today. Time is moving too slowly right now, haha - can't wait to watch the extendo version and the extras with Rick Baker.
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post #30 of 54 Old 06-03-2010, 08:54 AM
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I watched this last night and during the first half I was thinking to myself "this was over criticized, seems pretty decent so far". As the movie went on my opinion changed a bit and I found myself agreeing with those who shought Delo Torro was miscast. He just did not convey the conflict within and emotion the character should have IMO.

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I was also disappointed in the wolf fight.... cheeeesy! The relationship between Lawrence and Gwen was very rushed and unconvincing.


I'm a big fan of werewolf movies and since An American Werewolf in London is my favorite and a Rick Backer masterpiece I did see similarities and I did enjoy the movie but it fell very short of what it could have been. Rick Baker was the saving grace here IMO... fantastic work on his part and a good amount of gore.

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