Werewolf Boy, A (Neuk-dae-so-nyeon) (2012)

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Released 2-Oct-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 120:44 (Case: 122)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jo Sung-hee
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Park Bo-yeong
Song Joong-ki
Jang Young-nam
Kim Hyang-gi
Yoo Yeon-seok
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI ? Music Shim Hyun-jung


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† After living for 47 years in the United States, grandmother Su-ni receives a call from Korea to tell her that the family home is about to be sold. She returns to Korea and travels out to the house in a small village in the Korean countryside. When she arrives, her memories are awoken of when she was last in the house in her late teens, and of her relationship with the werewolf boy.

†††† In 1965 Su-ni (Park Bo-yeong) moved with her widowed mother (Jang Young-nam) and younger sister Sun-ja (Kim Hyang-gi) into a house in the country found for them by Ji-tae (Yoo Yeon-seok), the son of her late fatherís business partner. Ji-tae is an arrogant, lazy young dandy who has his mind set on marrying Su-ni, who dislikes him. The move to the country is because Su-ni has a problem with her lungs and her doctor has recommended that clear country air will help her.

†††† Su-ni is a melancholy, lonely late teen without friends her own age. One night she hears a noise, and on investigating finds a creature that goes around on all fours like an animal; this turns out to be a 17 or 18 year old boy who cannot speak and who seems to have been raised by animals. The police think he may have been orphaned by the war and ask Su-niís family to look after him until other arrangements can be made. Initially repelled, Su-ni becomes fascinated by the boy they call Chul-soo ( Song Joong-ki) and, using a dog training manual, she gradually starts to teach him how to live as a human and to learn to write. Their bond becomes deeper as time goes on, much to the disgust of Ji-tae who does all he can to cast suspicion onto Chul-soo. Then one night, drunk and with friends, frustrated at rejection Ji-tae attacks Su and Chul-soo in his anger transforms into a hairy creature of prodigious strength who easily defends Su-ni.

†††† The police and the military get involved. It seems that the previous owner of the house had been involved in genetic modification experiments with wolves to create super soldiers. Su-ni and her mother and sister, as well as the villagers, maintain that Chul-soo is a harmless war orphan and the military, keen to hush up the research, seem prepared to go along with their version of events. However, Ji-tae is not prepared to let Chul-soo off so easily and his intervention leads to violence and some deadly consequences.

†††† A Werewolf Boy (Korean title Neuk-dae-so-nyeon) was a massive box office success in Korea. Despite the title, A Werewolf Boy is not a supernatural or horror film and although there are fantasy elements, they are minimal. Instead A Werewolf Boy is a story of innocence; a chaste, teen romance fantasy of an impossible love with comedy elements as Su-ni teaches the wolf boy how to be human. It is certainly melodramatic and the ending is rather saccharine and one that may work better for Korean audiences. There is also little that is subtle in the film. Chul-soo is the monster, but he is also the innocent and his moods are not contrived; the real monster is the civilised Ji-tae, who is selfish, arrogant, brutal and vindictive, but he is so utterly unlikeable and is played without redeeming features of any sort by Yoo Yeon-seok.

†††† As the boy who does not speak, Song Joong-ki is excellent at portraying his confusion and emotions with his eyes and body language. However, the standout performance is that of Park Bo-yeong who as Su-ni is innocent, sweet and funny without ever becoming cloying, and her final scene with Chul-soo in the forest is sad and powerful.

†††† At just on two hours the film also feels long, and could benefit from some editing of some of the scenes of rosy sunsets. A Werewolf Boy is probably one for the audience who like fantasy romances of the Twilight variety, although the film is certainly made well enough to be appreciated by a wider audience.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† A Werewolf Boy is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original theatrical ratio being 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† I have some issues with the look of the print. The movie was filmed using the digital Red One camera and processed digitally but to me the brightness level on the DVD seems to have been set high, so that on occasion a white glow appears to come off faces (see 8:54 for an example), the print looks glary and any time the light source is behind the actors they become very indistinct (48:43 is only one example). Colours are thus on the light side, although some scenes have a deliberate rosy glow, such as at 43:31. I did find this glare distracting, although when it was not present, such as in the night and darker scenes, colours were deeper. Blacks were however OK, shadow detail fine. Skin tones also tended to be variable.

†††† The print did show some ghosting and noise reduction in the darker scenes. There was also shimmering in the closing titles.

†††† The layer change was not noticeable.

††††English subtitles are in an easy to read yellow font and seemed to be timely and error free.

†††† Some of the scenes looked fine, but I found the glare distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† Audio choice is either a Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I listened to the 5.1 audio track.

†††† Dialogue was clear and centred. The surrounds and rears did provide ambient effects, such as rain and music but this is not a track to tax your speakers although the film did not require anything more. The subwoofer added bass to the music and occasional effects.

††††Lip synchronisation seemed fine.

†††† The original score by Shim Hyun-jung was romantic, utilising predominantly piano and strings to good effect.

†††† The audio track was appropriate for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (0:59)

Eastern Eye Trailers

†††† Trailers for The Tower (1:37), Ace Attorney (1:36), The Silent War (2:09) and Quick (2:04).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† The Region 1 US release of A Werewolf Boy is listed as including a making of, deleted scenes, an alternative ending and three featurettes. The Region 3 Korean release includes both the theatrical and extended cut of the film, a commentary, making of, deleted scenes and a couple of different featurettes. The feature has English subtitles, but I am unable to confirm if there are subtitles for the extras. Region 4 looks to have been short-changed.

Summary

†††† A Werewolf Boy is a romantic fantasy of impossible love, although the film is certainly made well enough to be appreciated by a wider audience.

†††† The video has issues but the audio is fine; trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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