Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | 1985 | 92 mins. | PG

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 came out 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 hard to know whether Teen Wolf would have ever been released theatrically in favor of a cable run.

Teen WolfBe that as it may, 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 only” 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 really 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 or will Scott and his newfound fame come crashing down and teach him important lessons on self-worth and teamwork?

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 a 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.

The film has been framed at its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Color saturation levels are fine, and flesh tones are realistic, but black levels are mediocre. Things are never particularly sharp. Some shots exhibit definite softness. There are dust specks to be seen throughout, but they aren’t a major concern. While not a terrible transfer, one would think it could have been done a bit better.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track is full and contains no aural artifacts. There’s very good fidelity, with the healthy dose of pop music that dots the soundtrack and some impressive bass in the sound mix. Dialogue is cleanly recorded though the use of ADR is frequent and quite noticeable due to its uneasy fit with direct recordings.

We don’t get much in the way of special features. Only the Teen Wolf theatrical trailer (1080p, 1:50) and a sneak peak of “Teen Wolf — The TV Series” (1080p, 2:42) are included.