Lawrence Talbot's (Benicio Del Toro's) childhood ended the night his mother died. His father sent him from the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor to an insane asylum, then he goes to America. When his brother Ben's (Simon Merrells') fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns to his father's estate to learn that his brother's mauled body has been found. Reunited with his estranged father Sir John Talbot (Sir Anthony Hopkins), Lawrence sets out to find his brother's killer, and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself. Someone or something with brute strength and insatiable blood lust has been killing the villagers, and a suspicious Scotland Yard Inspector named Aberline (Hugo Weaving) comes to investigate.
The fact that Sir John received the curse from the bite of a feral child is a subtle shout-out, in the earliest treatment of the original 1941 version, the titular Wolf Man would have been an orphan raised by wolves. This upbringing would have been the source of his lycanthropy. He received the bite in Tibet, just like Dr. Glendon. See more »
When Talbot is first in Gwen Conliffe's shop in London. There is a vase of flowers containing Stargazer lilies. The Stargazer lily was created in 1978 by Leslie Woodriff. See more »
Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.
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The planet in the Universal logo glows white. See more »
The Unrated Director's Cut includes additional scenes not seen in the theatrical release:
The Universal logo at the beginning of the film is the 1940's logo used in the original "The Wolfman"
Ben Talbot's death is slightly longer.
An entirely new sequence showing Lawrence Talbot performing in a London play. Gwen Conliffe visits him in his dressing room post-show and interrupts a party to inform him that his brother Ben has gone missing. Lawrence dismisses her by saying that he cannot help as he is contracted to do 30 performances and is leaving for the States in the morning. This sequence creates an anachronism/goof later in the film as instead of mentioning her visiting him in London, Lawrence continuously references a letter that Gwen sent him which brings him to Blackmoor (as seen in the theatrical version).
As Lawrence travels by train to Blackmoor, there is a scene with an uncredited Max Von Sydow as an old man who gives Lawrence his silver wolf-head cane as protection (the cane that Sir John Talbot wields at the end of the film).
The tavern scene is slightly longer. After MacQueen's "melted down me mum's silverware" story, the villagers scoff at the notion of the killer being a werewolf, and blame the Talbots' misfortune on their dealings with the gypsies. One of the villagers calls Lawrence's late mother a "crazy gypsy whore", and Lawrence angrily confronts him and throws a drink in his face. After Lawrence is kicked out of the tavern, the villagers realize his identity.
When the posse fires into the hole after MacQueen's arm is ripped off, a rifle slug nails MacQueen in the chest, killing him. Additionally, there are a number of deleted and extended scenes:
After his attack, Lawrence has a short conversation with Gwen where she blames herself for the tragedy that has befallen the Talbots. Lawrence looks out the window and sees the posse that has come to round him up and tells Gwen to get his father while he goes outside to talk to them (the "you bear the mark of the beast" scene)
Lawrence's conversation with Singh is slightly longer. After Lawrence asks him why he never left Blackmoor, Singh explains that Sir John saved his life many years ago and that as a result he vowed to stay by his side.
The mausoleum transformation scene is slightly longer.
The London chase scene is longer. The Wolfman walks into a costume party / opera performance and is mistaken for a costumed patron. He attacks one of the patrons but is chased off by Aberline and his men.
Additionally, the Wolfman crashes a puppet theater performance in a park and kills the puppeteer. Aberline chases him out of the park and into the path of a steam engine (as seen in the theatrical version).
The final fight is slightly longer and sequenced differently than the theatrical version.
Here we have a modern remake of the original Wolfman movie with Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Anthony Hopkins in the leading roles. My opinion on it is not extreme either way. It's not terrible and it's not great. It has a certain retro vibe to it and I cannot tell you how faithful or not it is to the original which I've never seen. I was mostly entertained although I checked the time a few times indicating that either the movie was a bit long or that the pace wasn't quite right. Benicio Del Toro in the leading role certainly looked the part with his unconventional features but he didn't blow me away with his interpretation that seemed too restrained and cold. On the other hand, Emily Blunt was just wonderful showing lots of emotions with just her eyes. Hopkins as the father of the future wolfman was slightly over the top and campy but nothing major.
The story was interesting although predictable (I guessed who the original wolfman was from the start). Special mention should go to the asylum sequence that was not only intense but also creatively shot. I didn't find the movie particularly scary although there are a few surprise attacks from the wolfman that make you jump and very quick gory scenes that make you cringe. The set design and cinematography was very good and atmospheric recreating the foggy landscapes and towns of Victorian England. The wolfman sequences were appropriately quick, feral and savage and it did help that it was the real actors under the costumes instead of CGI although I'm sure some viewers will think it looks fake. I enjoyed seeing the first complete on-camera transformation, a long time coming, and thought it was effective. I think a lot more could have been done with the internal conflict raging inside Del Toro's character and especially how it affects his relationships. He looked more resigned and passive than tormented. I also wish I could have been more emotionally involved with the tragedies going on but I wasn't. So all in all, a decent remake, certainly watchable but that could have benefited from a stronger leading actor and a more inspired storyline.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (good)
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