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Rarely do you get a movie sequel that was a patch on the first movie, of course there are exceptions such as The Star Wars trilogy, Back to the Future, Indian Jones (my personal favourites) but more often that not it was not really worth making the second movie. This could not be more summed up than when you talk about Teen Wolf Too!
Teen Wolf One as you will see from my previous review is one of my favourite movies. It features a high school student who finds out he is a werewolf and then life pretty much changes from there. He becomes good with the ladies and good at basketball but at the expense of his personal relationships with his friends and family. It stars Michael J Fox as The Wolf who is just brilliant with that mix of boyish good looks and charm and can pull off the role of being a wolf very well. In my opinion the film is an 80's classic with some great lines but I think the story only really works as a one off. What more can you say and do with a boy who is a wolf and make it still funny and original.
Teen Wolf Too for me just doesn't work on so many levels. Firstly, I firmly believe if you are going to make a sequel you should probably stick with the original characters. Unfortunately Michael J Fox did not sign up for movie number two, which was probably a good career move on his part though. Jason Bateman instead took the role of the wolf in this movie. He plays Todd Howard, a cousin of Scott Howard (Michael J Fox in the original movie) and we find him at Hamilton University. He has never really been good at sports until The Wolf emerges during a boxing match. To quote the DVD, "With his new found fame comes girls, top grades and even the dean's car but as the year goes on, Todd realizes that his is losing his friends and self respect. Can he be a winner without The Wolf?"
Sound familiar? Well, it should because the story is just the same as the first except basketball is replaced with boxing. Who wants to watch basically a remake that is no where as good as the first one?
The film came out in November 1987 and was pretty much universally panned. Although Jason Bateman has gone on to be successful nowadays I don't think that back in the day this film did him too many favours.
So, would I recommend this DVD. Well if you are someone who likes to watch sequels to compare and contrast then I would say go ahead but in my humble opinion I would stick to just buying the first DVD and be done with it.
[Film only review]
Teen Wolf (1985)****
Straight after Michael J Fox shot to fame in Back to the Future this quirky teen comedy came out the same year. I recall it being received well, at least I know I rented it. It's a lot harder to explain why though, because Teen Wolf is one of, if not the, most ridiculous movies ever. And I don't say that lightly having watched Santa travel to Mars and cavemen fly hang-gliders.
The basic premise revolves around Scott Howard (Fox). He plays with the high school basketball team, who get routinely humiliated by every other team in the tournament. He's infatuated with the school beauty Pamela Wells (Lori Griffin), who won't even give him the time of day. He has a childhood friend, Susan, who he treats like a lad. He works at his Dad's hardware store and generally feels as if he doesn't make a significant difference with his life. Then suddenly he notices changes in his body, until one day a full on transformation into a werewolf takes place.
It's at this point the film trips out into total la la land. The school goes wolf crazy, the wolf goes basketball crazy proving to be a master on the court. Pamela wants the wolf in the most animal of ways! We even get wolf dance moves at the school disco. However, this new fame and glory isn't everything he imagined it would be. Is the wolf taking over? Despite having told relatively little of the plot, as all this appears in the trailer or the back of the box blurbs, to say much more would give everything away. Although there can't be many people that wouldn't predict the ending of this movie within the first 10 minutes. If simplicity is a virtue then Teen Wolf is positively angelic.
In terms of production it's actually quite shabby. Rod Daniel is a decent director (he later made K-9), and does well with the basketball scenes, okay with the rest. Either the script or the editing is a little clunky, as it jumps from scene to scene without much sense of pace. There's a desire to keep getting to the juicy bits, and throw in a gag when nothing else is happening. There are even unresolved sub-plots that fade into the background. This was the first big screen script to come from Jeph Loab and Matthew Weisman. Their next writer's credit would amusingly be for writing the 'story' of Commando. Simplicity strikes again. Loeb has since gone on to write and produce for TV series Heroes. Surprisingly, there is some mysterious magical quality in this recycled formula that overrides all this, and makes it extremely watchable.
Aside from Fox, there are no big names in the film, but a couple of great performances. Firstly, Jay Tarses steals the show as basketball Coach Finstock. With only a few scenes he becomes one of the most memorable and likeable things due to a lovely character portrayal, and some of the most naturally funny moments. The second is Jerry Levine as Stiles; Scott's back-chatting best friend, and The Wolf's agent. It's a stereotypical role, played with conviction and in a multitude of brightly coloured skin tight pants, and T-shirts with the most bizarre slogans. What are you looking at Dicknose? readily springs to mind. He's so 80s it's painful and beautifully kitsch all at once. There aren't any particularly bad performances here, but Fox certainly breezes by the rest of the cast without any threat to his rapidly growing status.
On the whole there's an indefinable charm throughout. Maybe it's Fox, maybe it's the wolf, Stiles, Coach, or the crotchety liquor store guy. Perhaps it's just that the wolf make-up is so cuddly looking, and turns Fox into every fawning teens ideal teddy bear. Teen Wolf is played straight enough to become a cheese classic. Throw in a very of-the-time soundtrack, and it's fun enough to forgive it's inadequacies. Sometimes hilarious.
Running Time: 91 minutes
90. Teen Wolf Too (1987)*
Jumping right in we meet Todd Howard, Scott's cousin. He has been dubiously offered a sports scholarship by a prestigious university's Dean, who in turn hopes he will turn Wolf and win... college boxing matches. All Todd wants to do is study to become a vet, but is under pressure to perform in the ring or loose his university place. The first thing I noticed when watching was that the plot is blatantly going to be exactly the same as the original. The second, from seeing John Astin (the original Gomez Addams and a veteran of the Killer Tomato movies) playing the Dean, it was clear this would be a much hammier and in your face movie.
There are a lot of returning characters from the first film, but not all played by the same people. Harold Howard (Scott's father and Todd's uncle), makes a couple of appearances. Oddly still played by the same actor, but the character feels totally different. Instead of being the previously wise and responsible father figure, he spends most of his time goading Todd to become a wolf and singing it's praises. Coach Finstock has for some reason stopped being a lethargic high school basketball coach, and gone into university boxing; even orchestrating the scholarship. He's also now played by Paul Sand (?) and is largely forgettable. Another favourite character of mine, Stiles, has also become a student here and had a face lift. Now played by Stuart Fratkin, he has little of the charm of his former, and a script which does him no favours; wheeling out the fart gags early on. One of the original basketball team, Chubbs, does return, with face intact. Although he too has made the contrived move to this university and switched his preferred sport to boxing. Perhaps he and Finstock made the decision together.
Jason Bateman heads up the cast as Todd Howard. Now best known for his role in Arrested Development, I'm afraid to say he shows little promise here. Admittedly there's not much to work with, but he only makes an impression thanks to turning into a wolf. The wolf this time round feels even more like a Jekyll character than before. Whilst Scott Howard had a desire to be the centre of attention and misguidedly uses the wolf to do so, here the transformation seduces Todd to act like an egotistical jerk against his will. It's reminiscent of Spiderman's recent transformation whilst wearing the Venom suit in Spiderman 3. The personality change goes to great extremes, as he degradingly catches frisbees with his teeth in the park, laughs at people being knocked off their bikes by his corvette, and then the crowning glory of the film. He sings Do You Love Me? on a balcony of a house party, with a full formation dance routine from the party guests. It's a jaw dropping moment of unintentional hilarity.
Staying with the wolf for a moment, the choice of boxing felt a tad misjudged. It was humourous watching a wolf slam dunking a basketball, and running the court. Whereas there's something uncomfortable about sticking a 6ft wolf into the ring to knock ten shades of crap out of a college kid. Maybe the university's next sporting initiative will be to put their youngsters into a caged arena with a rabid bobcat and a starved panther. Nevertheless we get a rocky style montage of the 'wolf too' beating and prancing his way through the matches. Even though most of the boxing material feels poorly tacked onto the plot.
As I've mentioned the script is essentially a remake, which is probably why Loeb and Weisman get 'story by' credits. It's the same story with a few changes of detail. The screenplay comes from Tim Kring, who went on to create and write TV series Heroes. Once again, he shows little promise at this stage of his career. The most inventive thing about Teen Wolf Too is probably it's title. The production values are low all round, as even the wolf mask is noticeably loose and rubbery. Stuart Fratkin has said that it was One of the most tense sets I've ever worked on. Nobody seemed happy and the Studio (Atlantic Entertainment) put a lot of pressure on everybody to surpass the first one. You can safely assume that they failed.
Running Time: 95 minutes
Watching the two films back to back sharply threw into focus the difference between something charmingly silly and something stupidly silly. As this double-bill can be picked up quite cheaply, I'd advise anyone thinking of getting it to treat Teen Wolf Too as a very long extra. The original is worth a watch, whereas the sequel may give you a laugh, but can be both cringe worthy and disappointing in a similar way to poor American remakes of British sitcoms.
Trivia: On 8th May 2007, Teen Wolf Too had an average score of 2.5 out of 10 from 3,550 votes. It placed at number 90 on the IMDB bottom 100.
Also, Teen Wolf is on the cards for a forthcoming remake rumoured to have a female in the titular role.
In 'Teen Wolf' teenager Scott Howard is sick of being so average. He plays for the basketball team and never wins anything, he can't get served beer and the best looking girls seem to stare right through him. Then, one full-mooned night, he goes through a number of physical changes above and beyond the call of regular puberty. He's suddenly a hit at school - but his new found popularity with the 'cool' kids in class begins to effect his relationship with his old friends. In 'Teen Wolf Too' Scott's college-bound cousin Todd, a bookish freshman, carries on the family tradition. His full-moon transformation brings him girls and glory but, once again, a conflict of values.