Review: The Wolfman Blu-ray

The Wolfman Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston | CAST: Benecio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt
RELEASE DATE: 6/1/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: featurettes, picture-in-picture tracks
SPECS: R | 103 min./119 min. unrated | horror | 1.85:1 | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Extras | Overall

The Wolfman movie scene with Benecio Del Toro and Emily BluntUniversal Studios returns to its roots  with The Wolfman, paying homage to the original The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the nobleman turned hairy beast, while also trying to give fans something new for the franchise. The studio succeeds on some levels, but fans looking for a straight remake will be disappointed.

In this new Wolfman, Benecio Del Toro replaces Chaney, and the action is pumped up with a second werewolf. (We’ll stop there to avoid spoilers.) Anthony Hopkins plays Del Toro’s father, and The Young Victoria‘s Emily Blunt is good as the straight damsel in distress and Del Toro’s love interest, Gwen. The Lord of the Rings‘ Hugo Weaving and Sex and the City 2‘s Art Malik round out the cast.

On Blu-ray, the dark, styled movie looks good, sharp and deep, as it should. But the most impressive part is the sound, which pumps up every creak and crack as bones are crunched through biting and changing.

Director Joe Johnston (Jimanji and the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger) and writers Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self took liberties with the  original story, which is discussed a lot in the featurette “Return of The Wolfman.” Other featurettes “The Beast Maker,” “Transformation Secrets” and “The Wolfman Unleashed” look at Rick Baker’s makeup effects, the stunt work and the visual effects. Baker is especially enthusiastic about his work in this movie, explaining that the original was the reason he wanted to become a makeup artist for movies. Instead of turning to the newer werewolf look that leans more toward wolf than man, Baker kept with the original style of wolf man and added his own touches.

The Blu-ray, which offers both the theatrical version of the movie and a longer unrated version, also has two alternate endings and a set of deleted/extended scenes, some of which are in the unrated movie. The main difference in the unrated version, however, is additional scenes at the beginning of the film, which gives a little more detail about Del Toro’s life before this tragedy begins.

But perhaps the best feature on the Blu-ray is the “Legacy, Legend and Lore” picture-in-picture track, which only plays with the theatrical version. With the track playing, viewers are treated to pop-up werewolf trivia — such as the belief that if you steal a werewolf’s clothes, he can’t turn back to a human — as well as videos that compare this new movie with others that have gone before, including the original 1941 The Wolf Man, 1935’s Werewolf of London, 1961’s The Curse of the Werewolf and 1991’s An American Werewolf in London.

A second picture-in-picture track called “Take Control” gives viewers the chance to see Baker and others stop the movie for a quick in-depth look behind the scenes. For some, it might be effects overload, but fans will enjoy it.

Fans of the original The Wolf Man can also check out the 1941 movie streamed through BD Live.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.