Yesterday, MTV announced that it was developing a “reinvention” of one of the most beloved franchises of the 1980s. No, not Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not Friday the 13th. Not even RoboCop. They’re reinventing Teen Wolf.
Look, I get that werewolves are hot right now thanks to Taylor Lautner and Twilight. And it only makes sense that with our current obsession with vampires (from Robert Pattinson’s soulful, sparkly, dreamy-eyed Edward Cullen stares to True Blood‘s neck-biting orgies), werewolves would logically become the next big marketing opportunity. But really? Teen Wolf?!
For those of you too young to remember, Michael J. Fox’s 1985 original was actually a really fun film. Cheesy and stupid, sure, but fun. And Fox, hot off of the double-whammy of Family Ties and Back to the Future, sold the whole awkward doofus-transforms-into-hairy-BMOC conceit like a pro. Actually, I’d even go so far as to say that Teen Wolf is the Citizen Kane of lycanthropic puberty flicks.
But by the time the 1987 sequel rolled around, Fox’s career had understandably gotten too big to revisit the role of Scott Howard and the studio moved on to Jason Bateman to play his college-bound cousin. Now, no offense to Jason Bateman — I love Jason Bateman — but back in 1987, Jason Bateman wasn’t Jason Bateman yet. And, not surprisingly, Teen Wolf Too blew. If the first film was a complex metaphor for the scariness of slipping from boyhood into manhood (what with the sprouting fur and confusing changes), Bateman’s turn at bat was a total whiff — too much of a mess to come with metaphorical meaning. It’s just a series of lame, reheated college gags.
And the less said about the animated Teen Wolf cartoon, the better.
All of which begs the question: Is there really any story left in the Teen Wolf saga to tell? Well, MTV says that it intends to focus their new show more on horror than comedy — more on the werewolf mythology — which makes sense, I guess. But if they eighty-six the giddy, stupid joy of a lupine Michael J. Fox going in for a dunk on the high school basketball court, or sinking his fangs into a beer can, or playing air guitar and doing handstands on top of a speeding van, then they can count this Teen Wolf fan out.
What do you think? Is resurrecting Teen Wolf a good idea?