09 July 2010

In Short: The Fly (1986)

The Fly
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Written by Charles Edward Pogue, David Cronenberg
Directed by David Cronenberg
Release: 15 August 1986
20th Century Fox, 95 mins., Rated R

Plot: In a drunken state, scientist Brundle (Goldblum) ends up transfusing fly genes with human genes with really, really freaky results that don't bode well for his love life.

Well, that was cool. And it was also refreshing to have a much-hyped film live up to its reputation. Working at a video store, David Cronenberg's THE FLY gets nearly God-like status from many horror and sci-fi customers, so my seeing it was nearly guaranteed. Upon its release, this re-imagining of the 1958 original received equal critical praise, namely the makeup effects of the creature and Jeff Goldblum's tour de force performance. In a nutshell, yeah - they were spot on.

Goldblum, who will always be Malcolm from JURASSIC PARK to me, is fantastic as the wide-eyed Brundle. Davis is pretty good herself as the love interest reporter who ends up with a complicated storyline that lends itself to the unnecessary sequel a few years later. Another nifty thing is that these two actually have some real down-to-earth chemistry, and it helps sell that this rather dorky dude who has no idea how to talk to women could get a gal like that. John Getz plays the editor of Davis' magazine/newspaper, who for the most part is quite a dick, but his character (surprisingly) grows and is given a fate that actually invokes some sympathy from the viewer. And here I thought I would be rooting uproariously [though, truth be told, I did root a little].

As publicized, there's some magnificent visual effect and make-up work done. The progression of his fly-like persona on the still-human Brundle is nothing short of amazing - a technical achievement just as much as the actual fly is. I was prepared for something sorta freaky, but I didn't expect how beautifully the fly end product blends the insect and human together. And the remote control work done with the eyes alone - gorgeous. So, yes, every word ever spoken about the technical achievements in this production...totally true.

Overall, THE FLY is a pretty good movie. It does suffer from some pacing issues (which is strange, with it being only 95 minutes and all), but I do give kudos to the screenwriters and director for allowing us to get attached to Brundle and watch the majority of his transformation and mood swings. Jeff, Geena, and David - you guys crafted one helluva movie. Definitely recommended, though if you're sorta squeamish with blood and pealing skin, um, you'll sorta have to turn away from the screen here and there.

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