Click here to read my initial reaction to this film.
I don’t want to waste a ton of time writing yet another verbose blog entry on the matter. Let me just say that the deleted and extended scenes in Joe Johnston’s Unrated Director’s Cut DO round out the characters, and give the entire film a bit more breathing room. Maybe I didn’t notice before, but it seems the most noticeable improvement is the Gwen Connliffe character, played by the smashing Emily Blunt. Her new scenes make her much more real and sympathetic and they also justify her involvement in the plot. Honestly, that is about as much as I can say for the improvement in this cut.
A new opening has Del Toro’s Lawrence Talbot acting on stage in London, and Gwen comes to convince him to come home. This is a monumentally better opening than the letter Gwen sent in the theatrical cut. There is, however, one snafu. Twice in the film this nonexistent letter is referenced! What letter? There is no letter in Joe Johnston’s director’s cut. Shame on you, Joey!
During my theater experience and again at home there was another aspect of the film’s presentation that constantly took me out. The goddamn dialogue is mixed so softly, forcing you to jack the volume, so when the scares happens, it blows your speakers into oblivion. This is a fair tactic if the scares worked, but since they don’t, it forces the audience to stop and pass judgement on the moment. It would be physically impossible to watch those scenes without stopping to say, “Jees. Bit loud for my taste.” You will use those exact words too! All kidding aside, the scares make up for their lack of impact by giving you a punch right in the goddamned ear!
I was hoping I’d be able to let some of my criticisms slide the after the second viewing, but I can’t get past the lack of emotion in Del Toro’s performance. There is no sympathy for his character, because frankly he doesn’t seem too upset about what’s happening to him. As I’ve said before, the 1941 Wolf Man works because you dread seeing this curse take hold of such a seemingly innocent man. Del Toro’s performance is completely devoid of that innocence. In fact, Hopkins is guilty too. Both men are clearly acting in this film. Both men give hollow performances – with nothing behind the dialogue. In fact the only person who gives a loaded performance is Blunt, who takes her performance out of Joe Johnston’s hands and delivers something that deserves to be in a better film.
In summation, my opinion of this film in its director’s cut form is exactly the same as the theatrical, except now I have more respect and admiration for the acting prowess of Emily Blunt, since she managed to rise about the lackluster direction of Joe Johnston. Here’s to hoping she isn’t subjected to “The Wolfman Returns” (or if Hollywood has anything to say about it “The Wolfman 2 3D”).