Blu-ray Review: Teen Wolf (Collector’s Edition)

In Blu-Ray’s by Rebecca WrightLeave a Comment

Hot on the heels of the success of Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox was one of the biggest box office stars in the world. As a result, everyone was waiting to see what his next film would be. Despite his new super-stardom, Fox continued his role as Alex P. Keaton on TV’s Family Ties and wouldn’t act in a post-Future movie until 1987. Anyone around in 1985 remembers Fox’s career differently. Teen Wolf was released theatrically in August of 1985; just two months after Back to the Future hit screens. In reality, Fox had shot Teen Wolf first. Had Future not been such a big hit, it’s debatable whether Teen Wolf would have ever been released theatrically in favor of a cable run.

While Teen Wolf is no Back to the Future, it’s a lot of fun. Scott Howard (Fox), is just another dweeb on the Beavers basketball team. Though he plays hard, Scott isn’t any more talented than the rest of his teammates. In the film’s opening game, the Beavers are defeated 71-12. Largely an outcast at school, Scott is friends with the outgoing Stiles (Jerry Levine) and his gal pal Boof (Susan Ursitti) who wants more than just a “friends” relationship with Scott.

One day, Scott notices some strange changes to his body. A long growth of hair and improved hearing are surprising, but don’t cause Scott to lose much sleep. It’s when he finally undergoes a more thorough transformation—growing long nails, pointed ears, and a thick coating of fur, just like a werewolf—that Scott realizes something is wrong. At the same time, his luck begins to change on the basketball court. Suddenly, the Beavers have become unstoppable; led by Scott’s newfound athletic skills. Scott’s new “Teen Wolf” look has instantly transformed him into the coolest guy at school. Can the Beavers ride their momentum all the way to the championship game? Will Scott and his newfound fame come crashing down?

Joseph Loeb III and Matthew Weisman’s screenplay doesn’t offer any explanation about the origins of the Howard family curse nor do they bother to explain how Scott can turn on and off his werewolf persona either during the day or night. It is also odd, that Scott’s pals welcome his new werewolf persona with little more than a few double takes. From a script standpoint, Teen Wolf is rather weak.

Luckily for director Rod Daniel, star Michael J. Fox makes the story work. As he proved on Family Ties and Back to the Future, Fox has a flair for comedy. He delivers an interesting performance; mixing the angst of being a teenager with a healthy dose of comedic situations. Fox’s best scene comes when he bolts from a classroom feeling a spell coming over him and skitters down a slippery school hallway on the way to the bathroom. His frantic slipping and sliding body language down endless corridors attempting to find a boys’ restroom is comic gold and a highpoint of the movie. Other scenes where he is on the basketball court in full werewolf regalia are endearing. While the other younger cast members are lacking, Fox carries the film admirably. For any fan of Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf is well worth a look!

This Collector’s Edition of Teen Wolf has been given a new 2K scan and encoded in 1080p with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. In all honesty, the film has never looked better. Detail is sharp throughout. You can even see some rather primitive makeup effects–caked on latex, and individual hairs on the werewolf’s face are distinguishable.  Wider shots of the high school are always clear. Colors are well balanced, and blacks are inky. Skin tones always appear natural, and the print is clean, with no flaws of concern to report. Fans of Teen Wolf should be quite pleased.

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix that sounds rather good. There’s a nice sense of directionality throughout, and the music is full. The sound effects are strong, but never overpowering, and dialogue is clean, and clear. The music and score are appropriately entertaining in an completely 1980’s manner, making the film even better. There are no hisses, pops, cracks, etc., to report.

English SDH subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Still Gallery (HD, 6:14) Photos from the making of the film, and additional artwork for the poster
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:52) It’s no surprise that the trailer makes it clear Michael J. Fox is the film’s star
  • Say. Die. The Story of Teen Wolf (HD, 143:00) Yes, it’s longer than the movie! Broken into ten parts–It’s About a Werewolf That Plays Basketball: The Writing, No Wolf, No Part: The Team, A Can of Cocoa, A Can of Mauve: The Production Design, King of the Urban Surfing, It Landed on My Face!: The Make-Up, You Are an Animal: The Double, Everything Else is Cream Cheese: What Could Have Been, Going Through Changes: The Editing, Still Want to Dance with the Wolf?: The Music, and A Lifetime of Fearing Full Moons and Dodging Silver Bullets: The Legacy–it includes the participation of nearly everyone associated with the film. The notable exception is Michael J. Fox himself, who doesn’t appear. However, there’s some interesting stuff here, including vintage Q&A footage of director Rod Daniel, who died last year.

Movie title: Teen Wolf (1985)

Director(s): Rod Daniel

Actor(s): Michael J. Fox , James Hampton , Susan Ursitti , Jerry Levine , Matt Adler , Lorie Griffin

Genre: Comedy, Teen, Supernatural, Sport, Coming of Age

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