Friday, May 28, 2010

That is not The Wolfman (2010)

Much to my surprise, a copy The Wolfman (2010) was circulating around the lunch tables of Calabasas Commons today. A certain vendor we have relations with was passing the movie around on a USB 2.0 memory stick.

I was stunned, not that somebody had a movie on a stick, but rather that a file was floating around so soon. The Blu-Ray is not scheduled for release until Tuesday.

"This must be one of those filmed films, right?"

"Nope it is a Blu-Ray rip!"

"But the Blu-Ray is not out yet."

"Somebody nailed it early."


I grabbed a copy from another associate who had his laptop with him. An hour or two ago, I plugged my USB 2 stick into the PS3 and began to watch. It didn't take too long for the howls to ensue... from me.


No, this is the unrated director's cut. Gone is the lean, mean, fast-paced, sparce, simple tale I enjoyed very much. Welcome to a long, bloated, slow-moving, cut with contradictions and lots of bad creative ideas.

This cut is basically 2 hours. The theatrical is about 98 minutes on my clock. It looks to me like they cut the right 21 minutes. 7 of the first 9 got cut. It was a very wise decision to leave that rubbish on the cutting room floor. There is nothing to see there folks. Just move along. Not since Star Trek Voyager has cuting 7 from 9 looked soooo good to me.

What do you miss? Well... lets just say it this way... Benicio was the weak link in this movie. Even in the theatrical cut, his weak and somewhat off key performance comes through. The first 7 of 9 aggravate the situation to an ungodly level.

We actually hear Benicio recite the "Alas poor Yorick... I knew him, Horatio" speech from Hamlet. Believe me, I have seen 12th graders at Bullard High School in Fresno California do it better than that. This was downright obnoxious. It was a very good thing for Del Toro's career that the editor left that footage on the cutting room floor. You can't let that kind of crap get into the final cut. I think it is a very bad thing for his career that they put this footage back in for the Blu-Ray release. Most actors walk through life terrified that the world will unmask them as the frauds that they are. I am warning you, this Hamlet bit is going to unmask you...

And it's a terrible thing for the movie too.

Apparently, after performing Hamlet, some of the actresses are feeling a bit Randy backstage, and it looks like they would like to start up an orgy with their leading man. Just as everybody begins to start up a groove, Lawrence's would-be sister-in-law kills the buzz by knocking on the door and announcing she needs Lawrence's help in tracking down his missing brother, Ben.

This is a wretched stock scene, where the soon-to-be-hero is caught with his pants down, turns down his heroic calling rudely, and his soon-to-be-love finds him disgusting. Of course, all great love & hero stories start this way, right? Nope. All the bad ones do.

Until you see it, I cannot explain the level of damage these 7 minutes do to the whole movie. It derails the whole thing. The editor was a good surgeon. He surgically removed the tumor, and patched the (w)hole extremely well. If you leave this cancerous 7 minutes in body, the following hell ensues:
  • Lawrence is no longer a sympathetic character. He's now just another debauched asshole actor with serious childhood issues. There's nothing for me to cheer for there folks. How about you?
  • The fact that Emily seeks his aid makes no sense. What help will a debauched alcoholic bohemian with serious psychological issues be in tracking down her missing fiancĂ©e? Nope, he's no help at all.
  • The fact that Lawrence immediately turns around and breaks his contract to look for his brother really makes no sense.
In the theatrical, we see Benico performing Hamlet, we do not hear him. Over the top of his performance, we hear Gwen narrating her letter to Lawrence. It's a simple letter to a man she does not know at all; a guy who should have been her brother-in-law, and a guy who... maybe... can help. Chicks think like this in desperate moments. Lawrence doesn't do anything overt to disgrace himself, or come off as a bastard, ergo a romance now seems plausible.

With the 7 minutes of cancer cells extracted, we get off to a nice & clean fast start. With the cancerous 7 minutes in, we are already in a train-wreck condition.

Those who read this blog know I was a big advocate of the theatrical release. I bitch-slapped the critics online, at work, in front of family, and friends. I spread good word of mouth for the theatrical release. I dragged brothers, coworkers, friends and former room-mates out to see the movie.

I'm going to tell you straight-up: I hate the director's cut. If this Blu-Ray is like the wretched Daredevil Blu-Ray, and does not contain the theatrical cut, I won't buy it. If you won't release the theatrical cut, I will never buy it. The directors cut is already a fuck-up.

Big question for Universal Studios: why did you release this shit? This never should have seen the light of day. You did a great job in burning the dead bodies and burying the ashes. Why issue this full-confession now? The Top-Kill succeed until you blew the concrete cap off the well. What the hell's the matter with you? What were you thinking?

In any case I now understand several things:
  • I understand why Universal went into panic when they saw the first (Director's) cut of the movie. I would have also. In fact, I did.
  • I can understand why the project got pushed 16 months while rescue-editors worked to save the patient's life on the table. I would have made the same command decision had I been in charge.
  • I can understand why there was conflict. Apparently, the director fought Universal. He didn't want to give up on his little darling scenes. He somehow... The stupid bastard managed to get these turds back into the Blu-Ray.
  • Joe Johnston is apparently a very, very stupid bastard. I can't believe he actually directed Hidalgo and the Rocketeer. Those were actually good movies. Hidalgo was very good; one of my favorites. Just call him Sloppy Joe the Hoe.
  • I can see why Joe Johnston has not directed many movies in his long career. He looks like a stubborn fool, unwilling to receive good, constructive criticism when it is offered.
Anyway, steer clear of the download copy. Wait for the real thing. The Director's cut is a raw-red bloody abortion. You don't want to see this. It's downright ugly. See the theatrical cut. Universal got it right. Joe Johnston got it wrong.