Teen Wolf (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 29, 2011 by Dennis Amith
For many people, “Teen Wolf” may be a fan favorite, while others may dismiss it as a terrible ’80s film. The Blu-ray is an upgrade to its previous video counterparts, while not a great transfer, fans of the film will definitely enjoy this release.
Images courtesy of © 1985 Wolfkill Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Teen Wolf
FILM RELEASE DATE: 1985
DURATION: 92 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Widescreen (1:85:1), English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French Mono, AVC@38MBPS, Subtitles: English SDH, French
COMPANY: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/20th Century Fox
RELEASE DATE: March 29, 2011
Directed by Rod Daniel
Written by Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman
Produced by Mark Levinson, Scott M. Rosenfelt
Executive Producer: Thomas Coleman, Michael Rosenblatt
Co-Producer: George W. Perkins
Music by Miles Goodman
Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Lois Freeman-Fox
Casting by Paul Ventura
Production Design by Chester Kaczenski
Costume Design by Nancy G. Fox
Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard
James Hampton as Harold Howard
Susan Ursitti as Lisa “Boff” Marconi
Jerry Levine as Rupert “Stiles” Stilinski
Matt Adler as Lewis
Lorie Griffin as Pamela Wells
Jim McKrell as Vice Principal Rusty Thorne
Mark Arnold as Mick McAllister
Jay Tarses as Coach Bobby Finstock
Mark Holton as Chubby
Scott Paulin as Kirk Lolley
Doug Savant as Brad
What’s a high school kid got to do to be popular? Just let down his hair and howl! Starring Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future), Teen Wolf is an outrageous comedy about a shy teenager with more than a changing voice to contend with…he’s a budding young werewolf! And when his newfound powers help him score at basketball – and with the popular girls – he has some pretty hairy decisions to make.
Right after the success of the film “Back to the Future” in 1985 starring Michael J. Fox, one wondered what film he would do next. The answer was “Teen Wolf” directed by Rod Daniel (“Beethoven’s 2nd”, “K-9”) and a screenplay by Joseph Loeb III (“Heroes”, “Smallville”, “Commando”) and Matthew Weisman (“Commando”, “Teen Wolf Too”). The film was actually shot before “Back to the Future” but was released right after.
The film would inspire a sequel, an animated TV series and now a new MTV live-action TV series.
“Teen Wolf” is about high school student Scott Howard (played by Michael J. Fox), he plays basketball for his terrible high school team and is sick and tired of being average and normal and not being cool and recognized by the popular girl on campus, Pamela Wells (played by Lorie Griffin) who is dating Mick McCallister (played by Mark Arnold), the star player of the rival basketball team. But while Scott has attention towards Pamela, he is not aware that Boof has loved him since they were kids.
The only people who are there for him is his best friends Lisa “Boof” Marconi (played by Susan Ursitti), Rupert “Styles” Stillinski (played by Jerry Levine) and Lewis (played by Matt Adler).
But one day, Scott starts to notice changes going on with his body. From growling, acute hearing, to developing long strands of hair, fingernails growing and hairy hands and next thing you know, he becomes a werewolf. Afraid of what he has become, he is not sure what to do. Until he tells his father Harold (played by James Hampton) the truth and then sees his father as a werewolf.
Harold never told his son about the family curse becomes it tends to skip a generation and was hoping that it wouldn’t have happened to Scott.
Scott is upset that his father never told him but his father reminds him that there are positives and of course negatives of becoming a werewolf but with great power, he needs to be responsible for it.
Stressed about the situation, he tries to hide it from his classmates and friends but when he goes to a party and is locked in a closet with his best friend boof, instead of making out, he accidentally scratches her and tears her clothes from her back. At school, the mention of the word “wolf” gets him stressed out and with stress, he slowly changes to a wolf.
During a basketball game, he is constantly bumped by the opposition and then he starts to become a werewolf. Despite shocking everyone around him, they continue to play basketball and he shows off his new basketball skills as a werewolf and also the team wins their first game and Scott becomes the new popular man on campus and everyone experiences “Wolf” mania courtesy of his friend Jerry Levine who is selling t-shirts and bumper stickers.
And as Scott is enjoying his new popularity, he starts to grow an enormous ego and may be annoying people who supported him.
“Teen Wolf” is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:85:1). While the film makes its HD debut on Blu-ray, like many films shot in the early-to-mid ’80s, most often, the picture quality is typically not the best or looks aged. In the case of “Teen Wolf”, while there are times or vibrancy and where the image definitely looks very good for its age, the picture quality showcases quite a bit of dust and speckles throughout the film. Although, these are only noticeable if you are looking for them. There are also times where the film looks a bit aged.
But for the most part, I’m confident to say that if you enjoyed this film and owned it on video prior to Blu-ray, it would be a worth upgrade on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Teen Wolf” is presented in English mono DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono and French Mono. Considering the age of the film, no special treatment in giving this film a 5.1 lossless soundtrack but you do get a monoraul soundtrack. While dialogue is clear through the central channel, unfortunately the music is not one of the best when it comes to ’80s films, probably one of the worst music for a film that I have heard and surprising because this is a Michael J. Fox film post-“Back to the Future” (a soundtrack that I did own back the in the ’80s) and was expecting to hear a few solid ’80s tracks.
Subtitles are in English SDH and French.
“Teen Wolf” comes with the following special features:
- Sneak Peak – Teen Wolf – (2:42) A trailer for MTV’s “Teen Wolf”.
- Trailer – (1:50) The original theatrical trailer for “Teen Wolf”.
Not long after “Back to the Future”, I can remember going to the theater and watching”Teen Wolf”, after all, Michael J. Fox was the coolest guy to watch on the movie screen and many people felt the guy was “Mr. Cool”. And pretty much, many of us at the time, grew up watching Michael J. Fox as Micheal Keaton on “Family Ties” and during that time, you just wanted to support the guy and his films.
I was starting my freshman year in high school and after the film, I can easily remember me and my friend talking about how we enjoyed it, how we thought one of the actresses of the film was “hot” and since 1985, I haven’t really sat down and watch the film throughout its full entirety until 2011, with the release of “Teen Wolf” on Blu-ray.
And the film is rather timely, especially with the cool “Twilight”-esque live-action TV series of “Teen Wolf” coming to MTV but when you think of “Twilight” or even this new series, “Teen Wolf” was nothing like those films.
If anything, “Teen Wolf” was the sign of the times. Watching this film again, many years later, I just can’t believe how bad it was. From various scenes (such as the van surfing), to the rough cuts of Scott playing basketball (various scenes of him about to do a layup and somehow we get a scene of him slam dunking) to the awful ’80s music in which not even one song from that time period do I even recognize.
I do feel that MGM really struck gold in releasing this film right after “Back to the Future” as the film would gain momentum from BTF’s success and the film would go on to earn $33 million in the domestic box office which at the time was great!
And while the film was quite contrived (the protagonist suffering from an inflated ego and everyone starts to get turned off by it), perhaps why I enjoyed it as a young teenager was because it had that ’80s style of partying. Teens drinking beer, jello shots, making out in the closet, teenage partying which I figured was happening in high school and for me and my friends, I suppose this was what we expected from high school and high school parties. So, in a way, the film was probably more meaning to me and possibly many others of the fun to experience in high school.
But for those of us watching it today, does it hold up well over 25-years-later? I guess it depends on the individual but for me, it was like a reality check and made me question why I enjoyed this movie. While each time I felt the film had opportunities to redeem itself, there were just way too many lame scenes combined with kitschy music that for me and my wife, and even my young son who were watching this film, were just surprised of how bad this movie was.
I will say that “Teen Wolf” was interesting to watch a few talent when they were younger and would go on to do bigger things. Doug Savant of “Melrose Place” and “Desperate Housewives” fame, plays one of the basketball players who is upset that Scott has become a ball hog and those who played Scott’s best friends, a younger Matt Adler known for his role on “North Shore” now does a lot of voice work for animated film and TV series (most recently as the voice of Lex Luthor on “Smallville”) and Jerry Levine who has went on to become a director of TV series such as “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Monk” and “Life Unexpected”.
As for the Blu-ray release, presentation was OK. It was not cleaned up as there are a bunch of dirt and specks that can be seen throughout the film and the fact that it wasn’t given a 5.1 soundtrack, I guess the point was to get this film out before the MTV air date of the new live action TV series (which looked very cool from the short teaser trailer included on this Blu-ray release). But this Blu-ray will certainly appease those who did enjoy the film and want to upgrade to Blu-ray.
Overall, I realized that the film I enjoyed as a teenager, was no longer for me. I no longer carry those same feelings that I once had… of a teenager about to enter high school for the first time and thinking that life would be like what I saw in the movies. Partying, being on a sports team and just having fun! So, I can see where my younger previous self, may have enjoyed this film. The partying and the girls… Yeah, I can see why I enjoyed it back then.
But as an adult, watching “Teen Wolf” was not exactly for me. But I’m sure there are many who still enjoy this film today, as they did back then and will definitely upgrade to Blu-ray. If you are one of those “Teen Wolf” fans, then the Blu-ray release is worth the upgrade.
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