Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Fly


To go from the classic original version of The Fly yesterday to the 1986 gross out directed by David Cronenberg is quite a fall. The things we do in the name of cinema criticism.

Beyond the building of teleportation devices which a brilliant scientist uses on himself and an unfortunate fly who happened to get caught in with him, the movie bears little resemblance to the original in either plot or entertainment value. Geena Davis’ bare breasts do not make up for the film’s obvious intent, which is to gross out, rather than entertain, the audience. Mission accomplished.

From Brundle Fly’s physical deterioration, to his barfing on food in order to eat it, to a dream sequence in which Davis gives birth to a larvae, to Brundle Fly finally getting his head blown off in full, gloriously bloody explosion, >The Fly exists for no other reason than to make your seat while biting your lower lip to keep from barfing yourself.

It is not just that. Lord bless him, Jeff Goldblum solidifies his motif as the stuttering brilliant, eccentric scientist, but Seth Brundle has no charm whatsoever. He is a paranoid alcoholic who screws up his experiment because he is suspicious Veronica (Davis) is about to go back to her old lover. Veronica is not all that great, either. Call personal ax grinding, but her immediate decision to get an abortion after the dream sequence mentioned above is a huge knock against her.

Critics who view The Fly positively have made two points in its favor. One, it is an allegory for the AIDS “epidemic” of the time. I can how they think that. While I am sympathetic to AIDS victims, there is no fire in my belly over the issue, so the poignancy is lost on me. Two, the film played off the real budding romance between Goldblum and Davis. With that in mind, it must not have been much of a relationship. Considering Davis is now married to Remy Harlin, I think I have a point. Neither of these are selling points as far as I am concerned.

Pkay, so I do not like the film. The only point I will give in its favor is the special effects. The make up jobs are disgusting, but done very well. Fans of gore fests may think this is a classic film, but there is nothing in it for me.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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