Teen Wolf Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Rod Daniel
Written by Joseph Loeb and Matthew Weisman
1985, 91 minutes, Rated PG
Blu-ray released on August 8th, 2017
Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard
James Hampton as Harold Howard
Susan Ursiti as Boof
Jerry Levine as Stiles
Matt Adler as Lewis
Lorie Griffin as Pamela
Mark Arnold as Mick
Jim MacKrell as Mr. Thorne
Jay Tarses as Coach Finstock
Scott Howard has a lot of problems: he stinks at basketball, cannot get a girlfriend, has a six-dollar haircut and oh yeah – he’s a werewolf. Puberty strikes in an especially awkward fashion for poor Scott and he has no clue what to do about it. When he doesn’t receive satisfying answers from his father or coach, he confides in his opportunistic friend Stiles, who encourages him to embrace this as a blessing rather than a curse. During a basketball game, Scott loses control of his emotions and transforms on the court. As stunned as his teammates are, Scott is even more so by the immediate acceptance he finds from the community. Everyone wants to be friends with the werewolf, the girls want to get closer to him and if the guys needed any convincing, he is a stellar basketball player. Unimpressed by his newfound popularity is longtime gal-pal Boof, who secretly has feelings for Scott. At some point he will have to decide which is more important, being true to himself or giving the fans what they want.
Following in the footsteps of such titles as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and Full Moon High (1981), Teen Wolf is an absurdist comedy that spins the werewolf legend on its head. Unlike its predecessors, it knows exactly what it is and focuses all of its energy on delivering laughs over social commentary. Director Rod Daniel (Like Father, Like Son) keeps things moving at a decent pace, but fails to fully explore the dynamics of being a monster in contemporary society. Screenwriters Joseph Loeb and Matthew Weisman take their high-concept idea and deliver plenty of high-school shenanigans, showing no interest in forcing unnecessary drama into the mix. Michael J. Fox (Class of 1984) is the obvious reason to see this film, as he dazzles audiences with his boyish charm. His skills are on display in almost every scene as he is either reacting to wild scenarios or delivering physical comedy with ease. The only real problem for Fox fans here is that half the time he is under werewolf makeup that leaves him unrecognizable, and much of that time the athletic role is played by a double.
Teen Wolf is an easy way to kill ninety minutes without feeling guilty for harboring a secret crush on the piece. As thin as the premise may be, everyone involved manages to pull it off and create an entertaining story that wins despite the abundance of clichés. The idea that a teenaged werewolf would be welcomed as the most popular party animal is a fantastic one that keeps things going no matter how silly. Not everything works in the film and there are plenty of subplots and character dynamics that could have been further explored. What we get instead is a goofy comedy that ultimately succeeds on the strength of the performances, especially Fox in the lead role. The script is filled with quotable dialogue and there are some hilarious sight gags (starting with 5’4” Fox on a basketball team). The movie went on to inspire a sequel and two television series, but the original is by far the best, so check it out and thank me later.
Video and Audio:
Scream Factory commissioned an all new 2K remaster from the original film elements and the results are gorgeous. Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, colors pop, black levels are inky and flesh tones remain natural throughout. This is the best the movie has looked since 1985!
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio sufficiently gets the job done by balancing music and effects tracks so they do not overpower the dialogue. There’s not much growl in this track, but what you get sounds fine.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
On the surface it would appear that extras are a bit light: a featurette, a trailer and a stills gallery. The surprise here is that Never. Say. Die. – The Legend of Teen Wolf is an exhaustive 143-minute documentary that covers virtually every aspect of the film’s production. Almost every living cast or crew member is included here, with the exception of Fox, who long ago disowned the picture. Some of the participants we do hear from include writers Joseph (Jeph) Loeb and Matthew Weisman, co-stars Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, Matt Adler and James MacKrell, producers Mark Levinson and Scott Rosenfelt, production designer Chester Kaczenski, casting director Paul Ventura, editor Lois Freeman-Fox, make-up artist Jeff Dawn and basketball double Jeff Glosser. The piece is a bit overstuffed and could easily be trimmed by half an hour, but fans will have no trouble sitting through the piece.
The original trailer is included and boy does it spoil a lot of surprises and punchlines. Watch it only after you see the movie.
A stills gallery plays as a sideshow filled with international poster images, domestic marketing materials including lobby cards and promotional stills as well as some behind-the-scenes pictures.
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