Teen Wolf on Blu-ray
by Jef Burnham
Now available from MGM Home Entertainment.
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Released less than two months after Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, which also starred Michael J. Fox, never quite captured the fan base of its immediate predecessor. Perhaps the premise was too absurd, or Fox looked too silly in his werewolf make-up for audiences to take the whole thing seriously. On others, such as myself, the film made an indelible impression. And there are indeed those of us out there who, for all its faults, would take Teen Wolf over Back to the Future any day.
Co-written by Jeph Loeb of Batman: The Long Haloween fame, Teen Wolf follows Scott Howard, a virtual high school nobody for whom things couldn’t possibly get worse— that is, until his raging hormones trigger his transformation into a teen wolf. Although determined at first to conceal his lycanthropic identity, Scott soon becomes a local superstar when he turns into a werewolf on the high school basketball court and turns his team’s losing streak around. Whereas this may be an incredibly silly premise for a film, the resultant piece is a fun and fruitful examination of the problems of adolescence with werewolves and a sports movie thrown in for good measure.
Turning to the quality of the HD transfer presented in this Blu-ray, it is certainly more beautiful than Teen Wolf really has any right to be. The debris on the image is so minimal it is, in fact, hardly worth noting, the contrast is sharp, and the colors really pop. In addition, the DTS-HD Mono Master Audio, while obviously limited, serves the film and its soundtrack incredibly well. It provides a dynamic audio experience that really serves to highlight the film’s awesomely cheesy 80’s music and the surprisingly effective sound effects related to the wolf transformations and Scott’s enhanced wolf hearing.
The primary drawback of this release is the almost total lack of special features. To this end, MGM has included the film’s theatrical trailer, and a sneak peek of the upcoming MTV series that borrows its name from this film. With regard to the sneak peek of the MTV series, all I can say is, “Yikes!” Playing into the popularity of the Twilight series, MTV has decided to strip the story of Teen Wolf down to its bare essentials (i.e. a kid named Scott becomes a werewolf), and infuse it with heavy doses of Stephenie Meyer. Nothing will spoil your Teen Wolf viewing experience quite like going immediately from the film into this sneak peek. My advice: avoid it and the series it promotes at all costs.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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