The 331st review!
Today was a very solid day. I finished the Amazon Ad Challenge for my book and then President Baby and I went to the zoo. I was disappointed I didn't get to see the brown bears, but at least I got an up close look at the polar bear! While I didn't see any flies at the #1 Zoo, I did happen to catch...
The Fly (1986)
It may surprise you to find out that I had never seen this before. I watched the original and I really liked it. Seeing the doctor slowly become more animal than man and the so many close calls with getting him back to normal had me pretty captivated. This movie is very different from the one from the 50's. They have the same basic story, but this one takes a hard right turn once things start getting serious.
So, Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, an awkward scientist in the middle of an experiment that will change the world. Geena Davis is Veronica, a magazine reporter covering a party/event. Seth talks to her and in some fiction that would never fly today, manages to suggestively talk her into driving him to his lab, housed in an abandoned warehouse, and gets her to come inside. I don't judge things from the past with a 2021 lens, but man, following that man to his home just seemed like a dangerous idea.
But I digress. Seth is actually working on a transporter. After some amorous escapades, Seth realizes the answer to his experiment's problem and successfully sends a baboon through. After drinking a bit too much, he decides to test himself. Unfortunately a fly sneaks in and their DNA merges. Poor Seth Brundle then starts slowly turning into a fly.
Before I get into my thoughts, the second John Dies at the End book, This Book is Full of Spiders, has ruined "Star Trek" and transporters for me. When you go through one of those things, your body is ripped apart at a molecular level and then put back together at a different site. Essentially the process kills you and spits out a perfect copy. You can't survive having your brain torn into a million pieces so it's not you that comes out, it's an exact copy that becomes you. It's kind of disturbing to think about how many different Captain Kirks since the original first went through.
Back on topic, I liked it a lot. Jeff Goldblum is always a treat and I enjoyed his neuroticism in this one. His breaking into long tangents at a moment's notice were all interesting to listen to. That and when he starts to lose control, it's fantastic. At first he thinks it's a good thing because he's stronger, more agile and can climb walls, but he also becomes more violent and his body grossly starts falling apart.
That brings me to my next point, the practical effects are AWESOME! The director, David Cronenberg (who was killed by Jason Voorhees in Jason X) is a master of the gross out effects. In the original, they have the doctor wearing a towel over his head once he starts turning, but not Seth. You see his transformation every gross step of the way. Not only that, but he keeps his ability to talk so you can understand what he's going through. There are some absolutely disgusting moments as he's transforming and some I was not ready for. I've always heard The Fly is one of the great body horror movies ever made, but man... For once the hype didn't disappoint.
It's not a scary movie, but it did have one scene that nearly made me leap out of bed. That was followed by an absolutely sick and gooey fight scene that is all kinds of wonderful. The story is good and the two leads are very likable. I enjoyed how this movie really only has three characters so it allows you to really delve into them and not waste time on unimportant people. While the original film dangles some false hope for you, this one is extremely bleak. Seth knows he's dying and his humanity is slipping away from him. His desperate solution is absolutely insane and in his mind would make perfect sense but everyone else, and the viewer, can see the horror in it. Speaking of great, I don't think they could have ended it any better. I read about a bunch of other ideas they had, but what they went with is the absolute best option to end the movie.
A lot of people saw this movie as an allegory for AIDS and I can see it, but Cronenberg says it's actually about disease and getting older. It puts a lot of things in perspective and that's probably the scariest part of it. It made me think about my own mortality. I work in news and I've seen so many stories about how much a son of a bitch cancer is, or someone fighting to stay alive while their body shuts down and it's a harsh reality to have a spotlight shined on. On that optimistic note, this movie is pretty great and is considered a classic for a very good reason!
8.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
1 h 35 min 1986 Rated R
In a remake of the 1958 cult classic, a young scientist transforms himself into a fly in an experiment gone horribly wrong. Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist attempts to woo investigative journalist Veronica Quaife by offering her a scoop on his latest research in the field of matter transportation, which against all the expectations of the scientific establishment have proved successful. Up to a point, Brundle thinks he has ironed out the last problem when he successfully transports a living creature, but when he attempts to teleport himself a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle finds he is a changed man.
Jeff Goldblum (Seth Brundle)
Geena Davis (Veronica Quaife)
John Getz (Stathis Borans)