Thursday, June 30, 2011

743. THE FLY (1986)

Running Time: 95 minutes
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Written By: David Cronenberg, George Langelaan, Charles Edward Pogue
Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz


Continuing on with our cinematic hat trick/tribute to David Cronenberg, we come to "The Fly", a film that, surprisingly, I had never seen until last night. I say "surprisingly" because I have always been a big fan of Jeff Goldblum and he didn't disappoint here.

Seth Brundle (Goldblum) is a scientist working on an extra special project. While schmoozing at a meet-the-press event, Brundle encounters Veronica (Davis). They converse for a minute or two and then head back to Brundle's apartment, where he promises her something BIG in the world of science. Once back at his apartment, Brundle unveils a teleportation machine, capable of deconstructing an object in one "telepod" and reconstructing it in another. Veronica is amazed and soon her real intentions are revealed - she is indeed a member of the press and she is determined to make Brundle and his invention her next big story. Brundle wants no part of the press and even when Veronica tells her editor of the story, he shrugs it off by calling Brundle nothing more than a magician. The teleportation device does still have a few kinks though, which are made evident when Brundle attempts to teleport a baboon and it comes out on the other side, turned inside out. The computer still can't comprehend how to deconstruct a living thing and then reconstruct it the right way. With a little more thought and some inspiration from his new girlfriend, Veronica, whom he hits it off with following their little tiff, Brundle figures it out, successfully teleporting a baboon. Now Brundle wants to step it up a bit and when he and Verinica get into an argument, Brundle drunkenly convinces himself to put himself through the teleporter. The only problem is...Brundle wasn't the only living creature inside of it.


Coming off the heels of a less than stellar showing of "Videodrome", I wasn't really expecting much out of "The Fly". My wife had informed me, prior to my watching it, that it was indeed grotesque, so I just assumed we were in for another "Videodrome", with a solid plot and a lot of special effects to jumble everything up. I was wrong. In the case of "Videodrome" Cronenberg took a pretty interesting sounding plot and by adding his special effects to it, he severed my interest in the film. With "The Fly" the special effects work to drive the story and without them, we're really left with what could be labeled a kids film (minus the scenes of sex and some minor language issues). That might sound strange to link the phrase "kids movie" and "The Fly", but it's kind of true. Scientist invents machine and ends up turning himself into a fly - it sounds pretty cut and dry and just by the sounds of it, it SOUNDS like a kids flick. But it's NOT. It's quite grotesque and like I said, that only helps to drive home the story and give it a personality of it's own. Without Cronenberg's spin on things, this just becomes another meaningless sci-fi film, but as soon as I saw the inside out baboon, I knew I was in for a ride.

Goldblum is great and in fact, he's so great as Seth Brundle, that when he becomes "Brundle-fly", you only feel for him that much more. It's sad in that you really feel for the guy. I mean he's just perfected his invention and is on the cusp of stardom and he just met this great girl and I'll be damned if a housefly didn't fuck all that up. Geena Davis wasn't half bad either and I forgot what a fairly decent actress she was. This film really reminds me of "District 9", in that we're given a character and we're forced to watch him go through changes that even they don't understand. Both films have elements of a love story and both films don't end on a happy note. In "The Fly", the ending is heartbreaking as Brundle, fully transformed into a fly and unable to speak, comes face to face with Veronica, who is holding a shotgun that she wrestled away from the villain of the movie. Brundle reaches up and moves the barrel to his head. It's all truly heartbreaking and the end result, when factoring in all the different emotions that this film sends you through, it escapes with nothing less than a high recommendation.

RATING: 8/10 Cronenberg is 1-1 and "Naked Lunch" will be the rubber film, so to speak.


June 30, 2011 2:30pm

1 comment:

  1. In case you didn't know, that's Cronenberg as the doctor in the pregnancy dream sequence.

    The big difference between this and the original (you DID know this was a remake, right kids? I'm not THAT old yet...) is while the original went for the shock and the cool mask, here the dip in the Plasma Pool is treated more like a cancer. The change is gradual, and at first appears beneficial, almost a comic book superhero origin. It's when he starts losing fingernails and teeth he realizes something's wrong.


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