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Teen Wolf (1985) Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Image“Teen Wolf” was expected to be a big hit, given that it starred “back To The Future’s” Michael J. Fox.  Unfortunately, the film failed to spark any imagination or provide audiences with a real thrill ride.  Teen Wolf is a basically a comedy spoof on the horror werewolf genre.  However, it fails to really provide us with more than a paint by numbers story.

The film is a bit of a mystery though.  To garner it more attention it was released after “Back To The Future,” though having been completed before the latter.  This worked extremely well for the film.  The film is still known as a success, yet no one seems to actually remember much of the film, let alone seen it at all.

“Teen Wolf” has a cult following for those stuck in that 80s genre.  Take the film for what it is and you may actually enjoy it.  But the moment you start to critique or analyze any single part of it, the film is doomed.

Let’s see, Fox plays Scott, a scrawny high-school student that somehow is on the basketball team, which may as well not exist since they are so horrible.  Scott quickly starts to develop irritations and pow! - he transforms into a werewolf only to discover that his father is a wolf too.  Instead of listening to his father, Scott foolishly rushes out into the world.  Immediately, Scott tells his best friend, with the biggest mouth, that he is a werewolf.  From there Scott transforms into a werewolf in the middle of a basketball game.  But wait just a minute, do the spectators care?  No.  Sure they are shocked for a few seconds but then they just love the wolf since he can now play basketball.  This is my biggest issue with the film.  Why is it so commonplace all of a sudden for there to be a werewolf in the midst of the high school?  Does anyone from the government find out?  Are there more werewolves?  The list of questions could go on, but instead the film ignores all that hoping that the comedy will distract from lingering questions.

To make matters even more trite, Scott is infatuated with the popular, blonde, ditzy girl, who surprise has no interest in Scott and happens to already be dating the captain of the rival basketball team.  Of course, there has to be a love triangle so to speak.  Scott ignores his best friend, Boof (ummm, what kind of name is that?) who is head over heels in love with him.  Do I even have to tell you who he ends up with in the end?
So, basically the entirety of the film is contrived, even for an 80s film.  The film just moves from one segment to another with no real motivation.  The film lacks substance, period.

As part of the MGM catalog Blu-ray wave, you shouldn’t go into this film expecting much in the way of video quality.  For the majority of the film, the image appears as expected.  The colors are nice and vibrant, but the overall image clarity is typical of a multi-generational master copy converted to Blu-ray and slapped on a disc.  The image has gone through some pretty heavy digital noise reduction, wiping much of the clarity.  This leaves the image a bit murky.  The black levels are muddy.  Still, details can be impressive here and there.  However, textures are virtually non-existent.  The film wasn’t really restored, so there are plenty of scratches and speckles that flicker.  It is almost like watching an old 35mm scratch print here and there.  However, there are a few sequences in the film that look incredible, almost like they were taken for another source.  Ultimately, though, if you are a fan of the film then this Blu-ray is a definite upgrade over the standard DVD.

The audio quality is quite poor.  However, I must admit, there isn’t much to work with here.  We are provided with the original mono audio track.  This is presented to us in a DTS-HD MA Mono (2-channel) audio track.  Decoding receivers will play this back in just the left and right channels of your system.  It is surprising for a film of the mid 80s to be in mono.  There are several issues here.  First, the pop music used in the film was originally in stereo and despite some mono compatibility, the pop music generally sounds phased and bass heavy due to summing.  The dialogue, music and effects are horribly balanced.  Dialogue consistently falls beneath a sound effect.  The gymnasium reverb generation is well over-exaggerated.  This makes all the sounds in the gym difficult to listen to.  The ringing and comb filtering used in processing those sounds is just not attractive for a film.  I am quite disappointed that the film wasn’t at least remixed into stereo.  It shouldn’t have been that tough to do.  But perhaps no one thought it worthwhile all these years to keep the stems around.

There are but two special features here.  There is a theatrical trailer and a sneak peek at the upcoming Teen Wolf sitcom.

“Teen Wolf” is problematic to say the least.  However, there are no doubt some fans out there.  This is stock catalog video and audio transfer, so while it is semi hi-def looking, it is far from great.  Likely, skip this one.

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