Sunday 23 November 2014

Review: Teen Wolf Too (#CrapSequels)

World of Blackout: CRAP SEQUEL SEASON!

flms. srs bsns. We've all been there; Browsing in Blockbuster, the HMV sale or the bargain-DVD section in Sainsbury's, and we come across a plastic case which gives us an involuntary tingle of excitement. Someone's made a sequel to that movie we like! How did this slip under our radar? Why wasn't this on at our local cinema? Why are we only hearing about this now? Well, there's only one way to answer that question; it involves spending the requisite £3 and usually ends with the question 'Why did this get made, never mind how?'.

The rules for selection are as follows: 1) The film needs to be a poorly received sequel to a generally successful film (so no crap sequels to crap originals, and no crap remakes of originals), 2) Films from longer series are fine, but the choice needs to be part two of that line, 3) I'm not intending to watch any of the associated part-ones as part of this run (whether I'm familiar with them or not), so there'll be extra pressure on the crap sequel to work on its own terms. So join me as I delve into some of the crappest, most unwarranted follow-ups of all time (hopefully with a couple of underrated, misunderstood gems thrown in).

How bad can it be, right? I mean, the original was good…

CRAP SEQUELS! Teen Wolf Too.

#CrapSequels: Teen Wolf Too
Cert: PG / 90 mins / Dir. Christopher Leitch
Year: 1987 (2 years after the first movie)

The general feeling: RT Score: 14% / IMDB Score: 3.0

This film was released in the same year as Good Morning, Vietnam. Think about that for a second.

Christopher Leitch's layered exploration of the duality of the human psyche is a more curious beast than its primary character. The director's use of sport and music as cultural adolescent metaphors emphasise the… oh fuck it, who am I kidding?

The plot: A bashful, if well-meaning, youth finds out he's inherited a congenital lycanthropic condition which has lain dormant until his late teens. After several uncontrolled outbursts causing him to transform into a werewolf in public, his contemporaries' attitudes shift from revulsion to acceptance and celebration, albeit in the empty, cliquey way which often passes for friendship in college. After letting his newfound popularity go to his head, his genuine friendships begin to falter, and the youth is forced to reevaluate his priorities and choose the right path for himself and the ones he loves. So basically Teen Wolf, then?

Cast as Scott's lupine cousin, Todd, it's faintly ironic that Jason Bateman's lead character spends the film getting bent out of shape because everyone's expecting him to be the same as Michael J Fox's one. If only because that's why the writer, director and 1987 audience had turned up, too. The film's not so much the metaphor that the first film was, it's more a simile for that metaphor. A lazy, box-ticking, audience-placating rehash of its predecessor.

This wholly unnecessary sequel doesn't even open with its lead character, it just skips straight to a metric fuckton of exposition posing as 'foreshadowing' delivered by Gomez Addams. At least I think it's exposition. Something about clarinets and Michael Bluth being Marty McFly's cousin. Then James Hampton turns into a wolf in his first scene. Bang goes any reveal, then.

The first act is dull, awkward and clunky as fuck, as it none of the cast have any confidence in what they're doing, and are hoping everything will be smoothed out in the edit. Actually, I get the impression that even the editor was hoping things would be smoothed out in the edit. Alas, they aren't. The best the film can do is make constant heavy-handed references to Teen Wolf, hoping that familiarity by proxy will be an adequate justification for having assembled the cast and crew. Alas, it isn't.

By the time the second act kicks in, Teen Wolf Too is a done deal; like a hurried pastiche of a John Hughes comedy assembled by a team who've never seen one. Character A is inserted into Situation B with Outcome C. Apply laughs and goodwill before allowing to dry. I guess someone skipped the last step.

I especially enjoyed the brief scene in which Todd and his prospective amour Nicki watch an actual string quartet playing, when the accompanying soundtrack is clearly a synthesiser's version of what a string quartet sounds like.

Switch out the musicians for actors and you've got an analogy of the entire film.

Have you seen this before??
Not to the best of my knowledge. Which should tell you a lot.

…but have you seen the original movie?
I have, but not for some time.

Do I have to have seen the original movie?
It'd probably help, but don't worry - the cast of this film will go over the last one repeatedly.

How many of the original film's stars returned?
James Hampton returns as proto-Peter-Griffin, Harold Howard, keen to surf on the wave of goodwill so ably stirred up previously by Michael J, and Mark Holton gives another turn as Chubby. That's it.

Worth expanding into threequel territory?
No, although a rebooted live-action series began in 2011.

Rent it, stream it, or wait for it to be on TV?
Don't bother.

Ah, but is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I didn't hear one.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Without being overly familiar with the original, is there a reason that the werewolves can change at will and in broad daylight? Going to assume it's the same reason they also don't become feral, bloodthirsty maniacs once the fur's on?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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