Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Teen Wolf

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Teen Wolf (Blu-ray)
    Directed by  Rod Daniel

    Studio: MGM
    Year: 1985
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1   1080p   AVC codec  
    Running Time: 92 minutes
    Rating: PG
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono English; Dolby Digital 2.0 mono Spanish, French
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French

    Region:  A
    MSRP:  $ 19.99


    Release Date: March 29, 2011

    Review Date:  March 30, 2011

     

     

    The Film

    2.5/5

     

    Abbott and Costello had lots of fun coming into contact with various Universal monsters in a series of horror farces beginning with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Too bad some of that considerable humor and charm couldn’t have been siphoned off for Rod Daniel’s Teen Wolf, a rather tedious werewolf teen comedy whose sole virtue is its star, the young and very talented Michael J. Fox. Everyone and everything else about this feeble comedy is lackluster from the teen pals and the girls he’s friends with to the unimaginative comic set-ups that lead to one of the most predictable and unsatisfying championship basketball games in recent memory.

     

    Teen athlete Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) begins having strange sensations both on and off the basketball court, from a rushing in his ears to heart palpitations, long stray hairs sprouting and disappearing at random, and ears, teeth, and fingernails extending at odd moments. When he finally gets home and looks in his bathroom mirror, he sees himself as a full-fledged werewolf, a little genetic family fact his father (James Hampton), also a werewolf, had neglected to warn him of its possibility. During a basketball game, Scott’s passion about winning prompts his transformation into a full-fledged werewolf, one who miraculously can play basketball like a pro. Instead of being horrified, the fans are overjoyed that they now have a star player who can actually win games for the school, and very quickly Scott becomes the most popular boy on campus. His new popularity, however, doesn’t get him very far with the girl of his dreams Pamela Welles (Lorie Griffin), but gal pal ‘Boof’ (Susan Ursitti) and buddy Stiles (Jerry Levine) remain friends no matter which incarnation Scott chooses to use at school though they, like the rest of the student body, find the wolf persona infinitely cooler than the human one.

     

    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. Their romances for Scott are uninvolving as well, not helped by the two mediocre actresses who play the girls (there’s a studly rival at school for the girl Scott’s really interested in, and yet he ends up nonsensically playing on the opposite team for the climactic game). The lengthy set pieces like a beer party or the endless basketball game finale (done in montage) are ploddingly staged by director Rod Daniel who doesn’t seem to have much of a flair for comedy. And the film is sloppily assembled, too. There are continuity gaffes (Fox closes his school locker in one shot and when we go out to a wider angle, the locker is open), and looping of dialogue often doesn’t match at all what the actors’ lips are saying. And the cast is in many ways one of the film’s great liabilities. In fact, the younger cast members (apart from the star) who have to provide a lion’s share of the comedy are rather inept at the physical stuff and don’t have a way with dialogue either. Of course, what they’re given to say is pretty witless, so it’s a lose-lose situation all around for them.

     

    But Michael J. Fox, hot off of his big success in Back to the Future, proves that his ease with lines and physical business was no fluke turning in the only truly interesting performance in the movie among the younger actors. His most outstanding moment in the film, however, doesn’t involve the rather dreadful werewolf make-up they’ve caked on him but a much earlier scene when he bolts from his 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 the high spot of the movie. Other scenes with him in werewolf regalia ruling the basketball court despite his tiny stature are likewise endearing. Of the adults in the cast, Jay Tarses as the world’s most uninvolved coach is a treat as he dispenses bad advice or worse yet no advice contrary to almost every movie trainer in the history of cinema, a nicely ironic touch in a screenplay that could have used a few more fresh ideas.

     

     

    Video Quality

    3.5/5

     

    The film has been framed at its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Everything about this transfer is fairly good but none of it is outstanding. Color saturation levels are fine, and flesh tones are realistic, but black levels are mediocre. Worse, sharpness is never what it could be, and some shots are very soft as if the focus puller was asleep at the switch. There are dust specks to be seen throughout, but they aren’t a major concern. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.

     

     

    Audio Quality

    4/5

     

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track is surprisingly full and contains no aural artifacts such as hiss or crackle. There’s very good fidelity, too, with the healthy dose of pop music that dots the soundtrack and some impressive bass in the sound mix. Miles Goodman wrote a score for the film that is less interesting, however. Dialogue is cleanly recorded though the use of ADR is very frequent and quite noticeable and sometimes jarring in its uneasy fit with the direct recordings.

     

     

    Special Features

    1/5

     

    A sneak preview of the new Teen Wolf television series on MTV, coming in 2011, seems to suggest a suspense show rather than a comedy. It runs 2 ¾ minutes in 1080p.

     

    The film’s theatrical trailer is in very poor shape, but it is presented in 1080p and runs for 1 ¾ minutes.

     

     

    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)

     

    Teen Wolf must have been sold on its title and its star alone because the script is woefully lacking in charm and inventiveness. The Blu-ray release is slightly above average in look and sound with very little in the way of bonus features to recommend the set.

     

     

     

    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Thanks for the review Matt.



    Yes it was. I remember liking this as a teen. I'm afraid based on your review that this is going to be one of those movies that I look forward to watching again and afterwards wonder what I saw in it when I was a kid.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    You might want to skip rewatching it and just keep your good memories. When I was a little kid and Teen Wolf was on cable in the 1980's, I must have seen it twenty times. Then I saw it again about a year or two ago and saying that it's a terrible movie is being kind.
     
  4. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    I'm in the same camp as you in that I used to watch it countless times in the 80s. I still get a kick out of it though, despite its obvious flaws.


    The same CANNOT be said about Teen Wolf Too. :)
     
  5. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Saw that one on cable recently. So bad that I was amused by it.


    You would think they could have just thrown Too on this BD though.
     
  6. orlandomovieguy

    orlandomovieguy Auditioning

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    You guys are way too critical on this film. Most people I know consider Teen Wolf to be a classic 80's comedy and I totally agree with them. This isn't supposed to be Shakespeare people. This is a coming of age teen comedy which shows the awkwardness of that time and trying to fit into high school, not unlike a number of John Hughes movies and Can't Buy Me Love. I am definitely looking forward to Teen Wolf on Blu-ray.
     
  7. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    orlandomovieguy...you're the one who's giving way too much credit to "Teen Wolf"...to even compare this with legitimate '80s classics like John Hughes' "The Breakfast Club" or "Pretty In Pink" doesn't work in this case. It's b-movie story and production values are a huge comedown from the heights of Fox's "Back To The Future", which this movie was designed to capitalize on.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Actually, "Teen Wolf" was in the can before "BTTF", so it wasn't some quickie shot to get more Fox product out there. It was RELEASED at when it was released to capitalize on Fox's popularity, but it wasn't shot with that in mind.


    And it indeed is pretty awful 80s teen filmmaking. I think it'd be totally forgotten without its star's fame...
     
  9. orlandomovieguy

    orlandomovieguy Auditioning

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    That is the great thing about movies, everyone has their own opinions. I think we will agree to disagree on Teen Wolf. Like I said, aside of a few posts on this site, the overall opinion of this movie I have found over the years has been very positive. I am sure there are a number of movies we would disagree on. As far as production values, the movie did not have an A-type of budget and to be honest, it didn't really need to have one. There are plenty of A-budget movies that are bad movies. Big budgets do not necessarily equate to a good movie. And as was pointed out, the movie was in the can prior to Back to the Future and was released after BTTF was released. BTTF itself was a sleeper hit as Universal did not place alot of faith in that movie.
     
  10. orlandomovieguy

    orlandomovieguy Auditioning

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    Once again, depends on who you talk to. I know more people that love this film than dislike it. So if you dislike it, more power to you. We can agree to disagree on its merits. It is certainly not a forgotten movie, quite to the contrary.
     
  11. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I know it's not forgotten - I said I think it WOULD be forgotten if MJF didn't star in it. Then again, it never would've been a hit in the first place without him...
     
  12. orlandomovieguy

    orlandomovieguy Auditioning

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    Actually you could say the same thing about Back to the Future if MJF was not in that movie and they had kept Eric Stoltz in the role. You can say that about pretty much any actor with a successful movie. Would Raiders of the Lost Ark been the same with Tom Selleck rather than Harrison Ford?
     
  13. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Both Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark had great, charismatic actors in the lead roles, but they also had a lot of other things going for them. They might not have been as good, but I'm sure they's still have been remembered and well-regarded with different leading actors. I'm not sure the same is true for Teen Wolf.
     
  14. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I still have my sweet Teen Wolf logo T-shirt from when it came out on video! It's a medium, and I'm now XL, but I'm going to wear it and watch this puppy on a movie night with friends I don't like!
     
  15. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    No, but I don't think they'd be FORGOTTEN, and I suspect they still would've been hits. Would they have done as well? Dunno, but it's clear that "Teen Wolf" got an audience largely because of MJF Mania. "Raiders" and "BTTF" both had great directors and interesting stories. "Teen Wolf"? Not so much...
     
  16. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Looks fantastic! Glad I upgraded.

    For those that hate the film....why?

    It's an 80's cheeseball. Never meant for anything more than a few laughs, and a message of being true to yourself.

    Where's the harm in that?


    And it also has Lorie Griffin:

     
  17. jra166

    jra166 Extra

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    Commentary track available! For those of you who love this movie, and wish it had a commentary track...your wish has come true. Just discovered that Rod Daniel recorded his own track for this and released it online. Brilliant! Hopefully more filmmakers do this, even if the studios won't pay them to. http://www.roddaniel.com/about.html Mp3 can be downloaded at the link above, and it is FREE. Love this blu-ray, flaws and all! Looks exactly like it did when I saw it on the big screen, 3 years ago on Halloween. I think there were 8 people in the audience :D Now with this commentary, I am a very happy camper! Now if we can just get those deleted scenes...
     
  18. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Brilliant, thanks!! Will download later today.
     
  19. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

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    Like this movie its a decent enough teen horror considering the ultra low budget. MJF gives a solid early performance. UK does not get until Feb 2012 as this is locked to Region A I will wait until then rather than import. Fox are releasing this for a low budget price of £7.99 which is good value & only $13 on current exchange rates. Shame Sony do not do the same on Fright Night as that's a similar cult movie which has its followers yet Fox of all studios are happy to press this on BD & market for retail in EU & arguably this is a slightly weaker movie than Fright Night!!!
     
  20. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I actually think it's a MUCH weaker movie than Fright Night. It may, however, have a greater following due to its star.
     

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