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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Wolf [Blu-ray]

 

(Mike Nichols, 1994)

 

 

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 2009.

Indicator (Powerhouse) initial slate of Blu-rays
Spine #001 Spine #002 Spine #003 Spine #004

Spine #005

Spine #006

Spine #008 Spine #009 Spine #010 Spine #011 Spine #012 Spine #013

Spine #014 Spine #015 Spine #016 Spine #017 Spine #019 Spine #020

Spine #021 Spine #022 Spine #023 Spine #029 Spine #030 Spine #031

Spine #032 Spine #039 Spine #034 Spine #038 Spine #040 Spine #044

Spine #045 Spine #024 Spine #024 Spine #024 Spine #024

Spine #041 Spine #041 Spine #041 Spine #041

Spine #054 Spine #054 Spine #054 Spine #054 Spine #054

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Tri-Star

Video: Sony Pictures / Indicator (Powerhouse)

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (both) (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:05:20.513 / 2:05:18.511

Disc Size: 38,880,217,082 bytes / 48,554,005,596 bytes

Feature Size: 36,812,040,192 bytes / 40,137,238,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.74 Mbps / 34.46 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray Case

Release date: October 6th, 2009 / November 20th, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2939 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2939 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 3227 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3227 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2740 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2740 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3866 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3866 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Trailers

 

• The Beast Inside: Creating Wolf (2017, 55:14): a new documentary on the making of the film with new interviews from SFX legend Rick Baker, screenwriter Wesley Strick and producer Douglas Wick
• Never-before-seen archival interviews with director Mike Nichols (8:39), actors Michelle Pfeiffer (0:51), James Spader (2:03) and Kate Nelligan (1:43), producer Douglas Wick (3:03) and writer Jim Harrison (2:53)
• Never-before-seen archival interviews with SFX maestro Rick Baker
(1:34) and production designer Bo Welch  (2:04)
• B-roll footage (4:08)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:08)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Brad Stevens, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the filmm
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Director Mike Nichols thrilling modern-day werewolf movie boasts a stellar cast, including Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, and presents itself as a witty and inventive hybrid of horror film, romantic thriller and biting satire about male anxiety and office politics, where the real monster is corporate greed.

***

When a mild-mannered, middle-aged book editor (Jack Nicholson) gets bitten by a wolf, it gives him a shot of confidence over younger colleagues, highly tuned senses and a few new lycanthropic appetites. Like a clever New Yorker cartoon, this urbane horror film satirizes middle age in New York's cutthroat social and business worlds.

 

 

The Film:

"Wolf" stars Jack Nicholson as a top editor for a New York publishing house, who is bitten by a wolf and begins to turn into a werewolf, just as a billionaire tycoon buys the company and replaces Nicholson with a back-stabbing yuppie. Nicholson, snarling with rage, bites the yuppie, who also begins to grow hair and fangs. The result is a canny portrait of the emotional climate in the New York publishing industry.

The movie contains most of the materials of traditional werewolf movies. Much significance is attached to the full moon, and horses shy away when Nicholson comes near, and his sense of smell develops to the point where he can tell that a man had tequila for his breakfast. There is of course the obligatory eccentric old scientist with the foreign accent, who explains werewolves to Nicholson. And beautiful women to be his lovers and/or victims.

But "Wolf" is both more and less than a traditional werewolf movie. Less, because it doesn't provide the frankly vulgar thrills and excesses some audience members are going to be hoping for. And more, because Nicholson and his director, Mike Nichols, are halfway serious about exploring what might happen if a New York book editor did become a werewolf.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

The image is thick and has a natural softness. I have no doubt that the Blu-ray surpasses the last DVD edition is visual quality but fans expecting a pristine and glossy sharpness will be left wanting. It doesn't appear as though any excessive digital tinkering has taken place. Wolf probably looks this way - grainy, heavy - in hopes of homage to the older werewolf flicks it harkens to. From that standpoint the 1080P Blu-ray transfer from Sony is probably quite authentic.

 

Not much difference at all, but I will give a slight edge to the Indicator which looks marginally crisper and better layered contrast via the max'ed out bitrate. Colors, framing are the same as the Sony.

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Sony - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

It's a reasonably competent DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2939 kbps although the film doesn't rely on the effects to an excessive degree. There isn't memorable depth or range but there are some deep bass'ed earthy growls that can transport a shiver or two. There are some optional foreign language DUBs and subtitle options in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Indicator offer both a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo track at 2304 kbps (24-bit) along with a more robust DTS-HD Master surround track at a healthy 3866 kbps (also 24-bit). The surround technically advances on the Sony and the score by the iconic Ennio Morricone (The Mercenary, La Luna, A Bullet for the General, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, U Turn, Stay As You Are etc. etc.) adds some creature-feature-esque intensity suitable to the genre. Indicator offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.                      

 

 

 

Extras :

No supplements save some trailer Blu-ray adverts.

 

No commentary but The Beast Inside: Creating Wolf is a new Fiction Factory documentary by Robert Fischer on the making of the film with new interviews from SFX legend Rick Baker, screenwriter Wesley Strick and producer Douglas Wick. It sheds a lot of light on the production evolution and runs shy of an hour. There are also some 'never-before-seen' archival interviews with director Mike Nichols (8:39), actors Michelle Pfeiffer (0:51), James Spader (2:03) and Kate Nelligan (1:43), producer Douglas Wick (3:03), writer Jim Harrison (2:53), SFX maestro Rick Baker (1:34) and production designer Bo Welch (2:04). Included is non-consequential B-roll footage, an original theatrical trailer and an image gallery: on-set and promotional photography. The Indicator package has a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Brad Stevens, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film. It is a limited edition of 3,000 copies.

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm not a big fan of this film despite the appeal of Nicholson, Pfeiffer and the modernizing concept of a cool Horror. The Blu-ray isn't dynamic in appearance but seems faithful.

 

Indicator advance upon the Sony with the superior a/v and extensive extras. I wasn't crazy about Wolf the first time I saw it but it has grown very favourably on me over the years. I appreciate the modern homage of Jacques Tourneur and Universal horrors of the 30's and 40's. Another complete and thorough Blu-ray package from Indicator - the best the film will likely ever get.      

Gary Tooze

September 29th, 2009

November 18th, 2017

 

Wolf / Dracula / Frankenstein are available together at a significant savings in the Horror Classics Collection out on Blu-ray October 6th, 2009.

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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