The Titular Devil, With Hand

The Titular Devil, With Hand

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Unedited" Wolfman and PG13

Just watched the director's cut of that Benecio Del Toro /Anthony Hopkins Wolfman remake. On the pay-per-view, they say it's "unedited," which is of course absurd (a movie would only be unedited if it were one long continuous take); what they really means is that a bunch of stuff got put back in that was taken out because it was too gory for a PG-13 rating, or because there were issues about length or pacing, etc. A lot of times, there are very good reasons for whittling flicks down, but sometimes it's a very bad idea, like when they cut the ending off The Abyss, or chopped most of the brains out of Terminator 2. The Wolfman wasn't so drastically mutilated, but the cuts they've restored never should've been taken out to begin with. The extra characterization is welcome, Anthony Hopkins has more bits of business (he's the best thing in the movie) and the violence is juicier---for God's sake, the thing's a horror movie, so why soft-pedal the gore? This goes for action flicks too. You just wind up with tepid stuff that older hardcore horror and action fans don't want to see, and younger folks don't want to see either, because the films are...well tepid, and they get bad word of mouth.I mean, there's no need for Lord of the Rings to be R-rated, but a Diehard movie should be; I mean the best moment in the first installment was that guy getting his kneecaps shot out in slow-mo in closeup. Number four sucked, at least partly because it was bloodless; contrast that thing with Rambo or Apocalypto or Kick-Ass...well, all of them kicked ass, and John McClane's last outing did not.
The Wolfman kicks more ass in its present version, and the extra gore helps to take one's mind off the absurdities in the plot. The thing went through a lot of drafts, and it shows---Larry Talbot arrives home after his brother's been murdered, folks see him being attacked by the werewolf, but still Inspector Abberline from Scotland Yard suspects him, etc. I also had a problem with the use of CG in the transformation sequences, and thought Rick Baker's werewolf design just wasn't that good (gold standard is still Rob Bottin's work in The Howling). However, the CG is used very nicely for purposes of atmosphere, and the flick looks great. I also really like Emily Blunt---a combination of Wolfman and her Victoria movie, say, one where Albert is a werewolf and infects her, would've been better either than Wolfman or Young Victoria. But the bottom line is this, the added stuff changes the movie from an annoying PG-13 misfire into an R-rated success.
By the way, I really hope they don't cut The Expendables down to PG-13. The end of that last Rambo movie was an absolute blood-soaked delight. Watch it in slow-motion...there's some amazing stuff. That Russian CG house that did the effects real tore up the screen.

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