by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)
Jeff Goldblum as SETH BRUNDLE
Geena Davis as VERONICA QUAIFE
John Getz as STATHIS BORANS
Joy Boushel as TAWNY
Les Carlson as DR. CHEEVERS
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: David Cronenberg
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Few films caused so much buzz in the horror world than “The Fly.”
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Sorry about that... I couldn’t resist the pun. But that statement is very true. When horror maven David Cronenberg remade the FOX classic “The Fly” in 1986, it was a big deal. It came out of nowhere, it seemed. And it was not only known for having some of the goriest scenes in a major release, but it was also the vehicle that really launched Jeff Goldblum’s career.
In fact, many people tend to forget that Goldblum’s name was touted as a possible Oscar contender for that year. Of course, the stuffy Academy wouldn’t have that. They didn’t see fit to even make a nod to the horror genre until “Silence of the Lambs” stole the show five years later.
I wasn’t old enough to see “The Fly” myself when it was released. I was only 15. Fortunately, I had an uncle who took me to the movie. I was fascinated with the film, although my feeble 15-year-old mind couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of sexual undertones that Cronenberg put in the film. I also hadn’t watched enough Cronenberg to fully understand his subtext.
Going back and watching “The Fly” almost two decades later is a real treat. I enjoy the movie more now than I ever did as a kid, mainly because I can fully appreciate its adult nature.
Unlike the original film from the 1950s, Cronenberg and co-screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue dumped the idea of a man suddenly growing a massive fly head after a teleportation experiment went awry. In this version, the brilliant Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) tests his teleportation pods on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a fly joins him in the chamber, and he merges with the insect on the microgenetic level.
When Brundle emerges, he’s still human on the outside. However, his body slowly goes through a metamorphosis over time to turn into a human-fly hybrid simply known as Brundlefly.
This film is classic Cronenberg and paves the way for his foray into more mainstream (yet still extreme) dramas. With “A History of Violence,” “Crash” and “Dead Ringers” to follow, “The Fly” gave him the dramatic and artistic merit to leave the straight horror film behind.
FOX has released a double-disc special edition, just in time for Halloween. It hits the shelves with a similar double-disc set for the above-average sequel “The Fly II.”
A full-length feature commentary by Cronenberg is included on the first disc. Recorded recently, it gives us a great retrospective with the director. On the second disc, there’s a two-hour documentary about the making of the film, encompassing all stages of development. With side trips accessible with your DVD remote, this is one of the most comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at a film I’ve seen in a long time.
Test footage for make-up and other effects are included, as are multiple deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Some of these include storyboard comparisons, and other deleted scenes are included in (and references to) the full documentary.
The real treat on this DVD is a collection of written works, including George Langelaan’s original short story, Charles Edward Pogue’s original screenplay, David Cronenberg’s rewrite and interactive articles from American Cinematographer and Cinefex.
In short, this is a great DVD. For horror fans. For special effects fans. For Cronenberg fans.
Specifications: Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. DTS 5.1 Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1). French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.