April 14, 2011

Blu-ray Review: Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf [Blu-ray]Movies and music of the 1980's hold a special place in my heart. To be sure there were a lot of bad movies and bad music in the decade, but there is still a lot to like,even if only for nostalgic reasons. As it turns out Teen Wolf is one of those nostalgia inducing films. It has been a long time since I have seen the movie and I must admit that my memories proved to be a little bit better than the movie has proven itself to be some twenty six years after it was in theaters.

There really is only one easing why this movie is remembered at all, it also happens to be the same reason why it is still watchable today. I found the movie to be of questionable quality, definitely a b-movie, but I still has some charms. Much of the charm can be summed up in the star's name, Michael J. Fox. That, in a nutshell, is this movies reason for existence.

Teen Wolf was originally released in 1985 in the wake of Back to the Future mania. Well, perhaps not mania, but there was definitely a lot to like about that movie, which helped raise Fox's profile as a movie star having already proven himself on Family Ties.

The movie uses the werewolf as a metaphor for puberty, combining some lightweight horror elements with the teen comedy. It works, generally speaking, but everything a is treated in a rather sitcom-ish fashion. Don't expect any intelligent revelations. It is very formulaic and not just a little bit dated.

Fox stars as Scott Howard, a nobody who plays on the school's terrible basketball team, pines after the school's head cheerleader, is oblivious to the interest of a longtime female friend, nicknamed Boof, and has a quirky best friend called Stiles. All of this is pretty standard stuff.

Fortunately, the movie doesn't string us along for too long. It is almost right at the start where the transformation is teased. Scott recognizes things are changing, finding a long chest hair, growling, and in a great little scene finds he is affected by a do whistle. All of this leads up to his first full transformation and the revelation by his father that it runs in the family.

Initially this is seen as an embarrassment. As a teenager in high school he is already going through a lot, the last thing he needs is ext a physical changes. However, Stiles helps him realize the positives, like a newfound ability to play basketball, ability to get the ladies, and essentially turn into a big man on campus overnight.

Following the formula of the teen comedy, it is inevitable that a lesson needs to be learned. Scott has to learn humility and that it is sometimes better to just be yourself rather than try to be something your not. His wildness as the popular wolf drives his friends away as he loses sight of who he is. He has to tame the wolf.

The movie is fun, if firmly entrenched in '80's music and fashion. Teen Wolf exists on the surface and not in is explored all that deeply. My suggestion is to not read to much into the movie and just enjoy it. It is a slice of my childhood that will never be taken away. It may not be as good as my ten year old self remembers, but it still makes me smile. Plus Fox does a nice good job of making the character relatable.

Audio/Video. This Blu-ray is a good example of doing it just for the quick buck. There does not appear to have been much effort put into it. Yes, it is a step up from the DVD, but that isn't saying much. The 1.85:1 video has moments of decent detail, usually in the close ups, but other times the image is a little soft looking. There are some speckles throughout. The best thing I can say about the video is that it still has a nice level of film grain helping retain a film-like feel. As for the audio? It is worse off than the video. The mono DTS-HD track sounds thin, weak, and not terribly satisfying. Sure, the dialogue is always clear, but that is th best I can say about it. The basketball sound effects are not so hot nor is the party sequence. All things considered, this not necessarily a needed upgrade over the DVD.

Extras. The first thing to be noted is hat this disk has no title menu, that's right, no title menu. Pop the disk in and the movie starts right up, let it play through the closing credits and it starts over again. Press your pop up menu and you will get access the scenes, the original and not remastered trailer (complete with a different "Give me a keg of beer" voice), and a teaser for the forthcoming MTV Teen Wolf series, which looks terrible.

Bottomline. No, not over good, but still fun. I like Fox and the silly wolf makeup. I like how Chubby is always eating, the party scene is kind of fun, and I love scot's obliviousness to Boof's interest. Fun and inoffensive with plenty of nostalgia. However, this release is really only worthwhile to those who don't yet own it and enjoy the movie.


Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Teen Wolf on Blogcritics.

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