Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

THE FLY (1986)

Geena Davis trapped in the teleport pod

THE FLY (1986). Director: David Cronenberg.

Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldbum) is a scientist who piques the curiosity of journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), who hopes there's a story in his research, as does her editor and former lover, Stathis Borans (John Getz). As Seth and Ronnie are drawn into a relationship, Seth reveals that he has invented a device that can transmit matter from one pod to another. Unfortunately, when he tries to transmit living matter, the animals wind up turned inside out. Licking that problem, he decides to transmit himself, but is unaware that a house fly has gotten into his pod with him. Unlike the original Fly, where the hero winds up as two separate, freakish beings, Brundle's fly becomes part of him on a genetic and molecular level, slowly transforming him into a monster. Not faithful to its source material, The Fly is an alternate take on the story with a more gruesome approach. Ronnie seems to take forever to react to the weird changes in Seth's face, and the second half of the film is rather slow until the decidedly suspenseful final sequence. Just like the original film, The Fly turns into a burlesque -- especially when the "Brundle-fly" runs off with Ronnie in its arms -- with Goldblum (otherwise effective in his quirky way) uncertain of how to play his mutating character and apparently opting for black comedy which doesn't really work. Davis, however, gives an outstanding performance, reacting realistically and emotionally to every insane thing that the script -- and Brundle -- can throw at her. Cronenberg's [The Brood] direction is generally good, and the special effects and make-up work is excellent. In his screenplay most of Charles Edward Pogue's originality appears to have gone into the character names!

Verdict: Some good moments, but the original still has this beat. **1/2.

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