Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Universal Studios Home Video presents
Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des loups) (2002)

"It was in the year 1764 that the beast first appeared on our land and made it its own. One year later, its infamy had spread beyond the borders of our province and we came to believe that no mortal would be able to eliminate the terror."
- narrator

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 29, 2002

Stars: Samuel Le Bihan, Emilie Dequenne, Mark Decascos
Other Stars: Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Jerome Renier, Mark Renier,
Director: Christophe Gans

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: R for nudity, sexuality, strong violence and gore
Run Time: 02h:23m:01s
Release Date: October 01, 2002
UPC: 025192211522
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A+ B+A-A- B+

DVD Review

In the realm of truly ambitious films that struggle to blend a variety of disparate genres together, Christophe Gans' near epic Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des loups) is no doubt one of the more successful, at least when it comes to simply making it all look good. Gans smoothly mixes elements of costume drama, martial arts, horror, romance, historical saga and conspiracy thriller into a strangely cohesive package that somehow manages to connect everything together believably, and more importantly, without appearing to have worked hard to be different. Much of the action that happens in Gans' film, as outlandish as it is at times, occurs within the framework of a remarkably powerful visual style.

Gans' film is loosely based on the real-life events in the Gévaudan region of south-central France in 1764. An unnaturally large wolf was believed responsible for nearly 100 savage, fatal attacks on local villagers, and after a number of unsuccessful hunting excursions by King Louis XV's best men over a three year period, the so-called Beast of Gévaudan became the stuff of myth and legend. Was it a wolf? Was it a monster? A werewolf or something else? The screenplay for Brotherhood of the Wolf, by Stéphane Cabel and Gans, borrows liberally from historical fact, mixing actual and fictional characters into a reworking of the events, and the result is a speculative premise, based in part on fact, that is revealed ever so slowly during the film's nearly 2-1/2 hour length.

The king of France has sent naturalist/philosopher Grégoire de Fronsac (Samuel Le Bihan, here looking a blond cross between Christopher Lambert and Brendan Fraser), a member of the Royal Garden, to investigate the attacks in Gévaudan, and he is accompanied on his journey by his stoic, martial arts savvy Mohican sidekick Mani (Mark Dacascos). Fronsac and Mani are kind of an early Mulder and Scully, and their mission is to unearth the truth (whatever that may turn out to be) about the mysterious beast. Local lore describes a massive, spiky-haired creature, but Fronsac is convinced that it may have a more down-to-earth, and less supernatural, explanation.

The search for the Beast of Gévaudan almost becomes a secondary matter at one point in the film, as Fronsac is caught between the alluring noblewoman Marianne de Morangias (the absolutely angelic Emelie Dequenne) and the mysterious, all-knowing prostitute Sylvia (Monica Bellucci); I could only wish to have his problems. Mani, meanwhile, finds himself entrenched in a handful of well choreographed fight sequences that are given added grace via Gans' tight direction and Dan Laustsen's stylish cinematography. Laustsen is the cinematographer on the upcoming adaptation of Alan Moore's Victorian sci-fi fantasy graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and if his outstanding work here is any indication, that film should be a visual treat, as well.

At 2.5 hours in length, this is not a film that can be accused of moving along too quickly; we don't even get our first glimpse of the beast until over 64 minutes into the story, though there is a Jaws-style attack during the opening sequence. By the time Gans makes his grand reveal, I was so wrapped up in the story that I had almost forgotten about having not actually seen the creature, and its appearance more than makes up for its lack of prior screentime. The CG work, from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, is very well done, and it really excels when the director stages an elaborately fun fight sequence between Mani and the creature in a labyrinth of traps.

The blending of film genres works for Gans here, and the result is a beautiful-looking film with a storyline that is seemingly familiar as much as it is original. It's tough to categorize it, but if nothing else it is wildly entertaining.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Universal gets high marks for this gorgeous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, one that really shows off the Dan Laustsen cinematography that gives Brotherhood of the Wolf a grandiose, cinematic feel. The dominant dark colors used here are deep and clean, with well-rendered and natural fleshtones throughout. Black levels are dead on, with strong shadow delineation. Edge enhancement is evident in a few scenes, but in general it's not a major imperfection.


Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchno

Audio Transfer Review: Purists will be glad that the film's original French language track, as well as a better-than-average English dub, are provided here in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Both tracks are mixed very aggressively, with heavy usage of all channels, especially during scenes with the creature, as shown during the film's opening attack when deep, guttural growls swirl around the rear speakers. Most of the primary dialogue is cleanly locked into the center channel, with noticeable imaging creating a decent sense of depth across the fronts.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Deleted Scenes
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: It's tough to blindly accept the limited extras that Universal has included on this release, knowing full well that the Canadian version is a 3-disc special edition, and includes a director commentary as well as a number of meaty additional featurettes. The fact that just about all of the Canadian extras are in French (including the commentary with available English subs), probably had something to do with Universal's reluctance to include them here on this U.S. release.

The only noteworthy extra here is an excellent Deleted Scenes section (40m:03s) that features comments from director Christophe Gans (in French with English subtitles). Gans discusses five cut scenes at length, both before and after the footage is shown (not during, however). The five scenes are presented in rough cut format, have not gone through any color-correcting, and include quite a bit of behind-the-scenes shots. The director's comments cover not just the deleted scenes themselves, but how they fit with the overall thematic intent of the film, too. The segment is only 40 minutes long, but it is by far the most substantive and well-explained set of deleted scenes that I have seen lately. I guarantee this will leave you wanting more, and it made me think I just may have to get that Canadian set after all.

The English version theatrical trailer is also included, as are a few screens of meager production notes and cast bios. The disc is cut into 20 chapters, with available subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

This is a visually impressive film, with a very dark, unique and ultimately sad story at its center. It's extremely hard to pigeonhole Brotherhood of the Wolf into a certain category, other than to state when all is said and done it is probably unlike anything you have seen in quite some time. Christophe Gans merges a number of film genres to create an exciting, wannabe epic that is absolutely gorgeous to look at, even when the story meanders a bit here and there over nearly 2.5 hours.

This single-disc release pales next to the fully-loaded, three-disc Canadian version and its wealth of French language extras, but the film itself (and Universal's stellar transfer) is what makes this release a well-deserved addition to your library.

Highly Recommended.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store