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Wolfman, The (Blu-ray Review)

28 May, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 6/1/10
Box Office $62 million, $29.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for bloody horror violence and gore.
Stars Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving.

One of the primary frustrations about Blu-ray involves how long it sometimes takes for some discs to load, but more often than not it’s worth the wait. Universal decided to give those who buy The Wolfman an extra treat through BD Live: a chance to watch the original 1941 The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, the movie most responsible for modern werewolf lore. It takes a while to load, so be patient, and the stream is prone to stalling depending on how fast your Internet connection is.

This Wolfman is pretty much a straight remake of that one, with a few extra character dynamics thrown in with the requisite CGI. The end result is a hyperkinetic homage to classic 1940s horror films, and your only chance to see a shirtless Anthony Hopkins in full werewolf make-up.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD editions contain the theatrical version and an unrated extended cut that includes an additional 16 minutes of footage, most notably a longer opening sequence in which Gwen (Emily Blunt) visits Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) at a performance of Hamlet to ask for his help in finding his brother, her fiancé. The theatrical cut speeds up the plot by having her narrate writing him a letter.

The Hamlet scenes help reinforce the father-son rivalry that plays such a huge role in the plot, but the editor forgot to swap out the subsequent references to the letter that are still in both versions, and thus make no sense in the extended cut.

There are deleted scenes that refer to the original visit, but they aren’t as good as what made the final cut.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray are two alternate endings that would have been fine in the finished film if the filmmakers wanted to go even darker. The Blu-ray is also the only way to see several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a discussion with Academy Award-winning make-up effects artist Rick Baker, as well as a comparison of the remake with the 1941 version.

Extras on the DVD edition are limited to just the deleted scenes.

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