on 12 May 2010
Let me state from the beginning that this is my favourite film of all time. I am a huge movie buff and have a massive library of dvd's, and yet somehow this still remains my number one. There are many reasons for this- the film races along at a terrific pace throughout and is the perfect meld of sci-fi, horror and drama. The direction by David Cronenberg is simply sublime. Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz are all perfectly cast in their roles. The effects are still strong and hold up nearly 25 years after the films initial release.
The story follows Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), who is working on something quite big- a pair of telepods that allow for instant teleportation. The film begins with him inviting the lovely Vernonica Quaife (Geena Davis) back to his apartment/ lab to see what he has been working on. She is amazed at what she finds and the two of them decide that she will follow him and write a book about his invention. Before long the two fall in love, and her boss (John Getz) gets extremely jealous of this; beginning an intriguing love triangle. In the meantime, something went wrong when Seth Brundlefly teleported himself for the first time. Something got in there with him and went undetected, causing genetic splicing between himself and a housefly. From thereon things get extremely weird, and gory...
I cannot rave about this film enough. Jeff Goldblum gives one of the truly quintessential lead performances in his role of Seth Brundle- from his nerdy, awkward beginnings to his horrific demise in the final third. I won't spoil anything for the uninitiated other than to say this is like a superhero movie gone wrong. Instead of becoming selfless and heroic as a result of the splicing incident, he becomes hell-bent on self preservation. The movie has been seen as an allegory for everything from AIDS to heroin addiction.
As for the blu-ray transfer - it really is quite impressive. The effects look terrific in high-definition, and though it will not become a show-off disc it is a vast improvement over the previous dvd releases. The extras are the same as the special dvd edition that was released a few years back, and there is the addition of a new trivia track. When you consider that one of those extras is a 3 hour-plus documentary about the making of the film, this becomes a no-brainer. I highly recommend both the excellent movie and the wholly decent blu-ray release.
on 22 July 2006
I had the good fortune of watching this again on DVD the other day (the cinema reserve 2 disc set - superior quality) after only seeing it once when it was first out on video.
When I first watched it, I was 12 and repulsed by the more gruesome elements which stuck in my mind for ages afterwards (the arm wrestle, the poor baboon, the whole brundlefly metamorphosis).
Watching it now as an adult, it is quite a different film to what I remember - it is a deeply moving and satisfying piece of cinema which is at times horrible to look at, but always manages to keep the viewer right in the centre of the narrative.
The grotesque elements are there but they don't seem thrown in purely for shocks - there is a story resonating beneath the onscreen mayhem and at no time does the film become too gross or too predictable. Cronenberg has a definite story to tell us and he weaves his magic to make the film both involving and satisfying.
It is a horror film, but the real horror are the subtexts of the film - Brundle's realisation of what's happening to him and not being able to stop it; Veronica's pregnancy and so much more. The special effects are extremely good and this isn't a film you should go into if you've got a weak stomach, but it is an enjoyable, horrifying and fascinating trip into what happens when something goes wrong in the lab, very wrong!
on 17 October 2011
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) meets Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a party, he's a brilliant scientist and she's a journalist. Seth tells Veronica about something he's working on that would "change the world as we know it", convinced by this she goes back to Seth's apartment/lab to see his invention. Once inside Veronica is shown two "designer phone booth" looking objects, Seth then teleports Veronica's tights from one telepod to the other. Skeptical at first, she soon realises that Seth has discovered a new way of travelling that could make all other forms of transportation a thing of the past. The pods are only able to transport inanimate objects, so Seth and Veronica come to an agreement that she will document him as he works on the project, so that living tissue can pass between pods. During the documentation, Seth and Veronica fall in love, much to the annoyance of Veronica's former boyfriend and editor, Stathis Borans (John Getz). One night after finally perfecting transporting living tissue between pods, he and Veronica are celebrating when she has to leave to stop the jealous Stathis from printing the story early. A drunk Seth starts thinking that maybe Veronica and Stathis were working together to get the story, so he decides to go through the pod himself. Unfortunately for Seth, a housefly got into the pod and his DNA is spliced together with the fly's. The movie then follows Seth as his body begins to turn into a six foot fly, and the relationship between Seth and Veronica who love each other deeply but are horrified by his appearance.
The acting by Goldblum, Davis and Getz is fantastic, I don't think any of the three have ever given better performances. When director David Cronenberg announced that he wanted to cast Jeff Goldblum, he was told Goldblum wasn't a bankable star but he insisted that he gets the part. Geena Davis was Jeff Goldblum's girlfriend at the time, it was Goldblum who suggested Davis for the role which was also met with quite a bit of opposition until Davis gave an outstanding reading. Cronenberg himself turned down making The Fly because he was supposed to be filming Total Recall, Robert Bierman was then set to direct until a tragic accident led to the death of his daughter. The film was put on hold but Bierman later decided that the material was too dark and he still wasn't ready to make the film, by this point Cronenberg had left Total Recall and was free to direct. Along with Videodrome, The Fly is in my opinion Cronenberg's best work. I am a fan of his earlier movies such as Rabid, Shivers, The Brood, Scanners, The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch. I'm also a big fan of his more recent drama movies, Spider, A History Of Violence and Eastern Promises, but none of those have intrigued me as much as The Fly. Cronenberg who is a decent actor whose performance I really enjoyed in Nightbreed, has a small cameo as a Gynecologist.
As good as the acting and directing is, this is the sort of film that would fall apart if the effects weren't top notch. Thankfully the make up effects are outstanding and the giant fly puppets towards the end of the movie hold up really well. It took Jeff Goldblum five hours to have the make up applied, it's brilliantly grotesque and would probably be done today with CGI which would have lost the human inside feel that we have here. The Fly isn't particularly gory but it is gruesome, such as when Seth's ears, teeth and nails fall out and when he has to vomit on food so it can be digested. The Fly is also one of only four horror remakes that I consider to be superior to the original along with The Thing, The Blob and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers which also starred Jeff Goldblum. The original is a very decent movie but was also a little silly with the human head on the fly and the giant fly head on a human body, it also seemed like a film the whole family could watch on a Sunday afternoon. This version is definitely not for children, and is the only film along with The Exorcist that I've read stories of people vomiting in the cinemas. The other great thing about The Fly is despite the horrific events and images we're shown, deep down it's a tragic love story.
The Blu-ray is excellent, the picture isn't what would be referred to as demo worthy like Avatar, but I never expected it would, it was shot for $15,000,000 back in 1986. What good Blu-rays are supposed to do is to show us the film the way the director intended it to be seen, and I'm pretty sure Cronenberg didn't want the film to be crystal clear with colours that pop off the screen, it wouldn't suit the feel of the film at all. The picture is clean and crisp and looks far better than it did on DVD, in certain scenes there is a thin layer of grain that isn't intrusive and certainly never detracts from the movie. In some close-ups of Jeff Goldblum after he's started to change, the detail is fantastic. Every pore on his face is visible and I'd never noticed the few thick fly hairs on his face before. I was delighted with the upgrade and the sound was also much improved from the DVD. The DVD I owned was a bare bones double pack with the disappointing sequel, so I was very happy to get the Blu-ray regardless of picture quality just so I could get the extras I'd never previously had. There's a 136 minute in depth making of called Fear of the flesh, everything you could possibly want to know about the film is shown here. A very interesting commentary from director David Cronenberg, trivia track, the Brundle museum of natural history, deleted scenes, extended scenes, film tests, written works, promotional materials, still galleries and high definition trailers.
A great film and a great Blu-ray. There's English, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, French, German and Norwegian subtitles. The Fly is a film that fans of horror, sci-fi or romance, if you can look past the graphic imagery should definitely enjoy. A genuine classic.
I agree entirely with the previous reviewer that the Limited Edition Box Set is of a poor standard. The box itself, cheap plastic which will have a limited life span due to its flimsy design. Also the plastic pod inside will have to be handled with care if it wants to last.
As for the movies themselves, they are absolutely first class. Each film has an outstanding print, and that is despite that the first three movies were made from the late 1950s until the mid 1960s. The original Fly remains a classic, although it looks dated. But, the strong storyline, and a superb cast hold it together. The Return of The Fly is a B Movie which were popular with cinema audiences during the 1950s and is worth seeing. This one does have a happy ending though. The wonderful character actor Vincent Price appears in them both, and I am sure his fans will love these. The Curse of The Fly is rarely shown on television nowadays which is a pity because it is a rather decent B Movie made in England (at Shepperton Studios which stands in for Montreal). Two fine British actors, George Baker and Carole Gray supported by Irish-American actor Brian Donlevy (Quatermass) make a fine job of this little known movie. It does have a few shocks, with some great make up effects, and a rather surprising ending.
The remake of The Fly dating from 1986 is superb. Its a classic in its own right. Wonderfully directed by Canadian David Cronenberg who doesnt limit the shocks and make up effects throughout does a superb job. Of course, mention must be made of Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, two very fine actors indeed who carry this movie throughout to an amazing end sequence which even after twenty years when the movie was first released, still shocks today.
The Fly II is a mediocre follow up, although it does have its moments. Still, apart from the poor quality packaging, its a decent buy if the price was reduced. Although to be fair to Amazon, they do offer this set at a reasonable price which is far less than the original.
The seven discs contain all five Fly movies, with numerous extras. Great picture and sound; shame about the box themselves.
on 15 January 2006
Jeff Goldblum stars as the ingenious yet over-ambitious scientist/inventor Seth Brundle. During a unique teleporting experiment he accidentally merges his DNA with that of a common house fly. A journalist (Geena Davis) documenting his scientific endeavours can only watch in horror as Seth's often horrific and shocking transformation into the fly begins.
Great acting all around which is becoming increasing rare in the sci-fi/horror genre. Goldblum's portrayal of going from the caring inventor who only wants to do good in the world through his decent into madness as the hideous fly is flawless. Geena Davis' performance as the journalist who falls in love with Seth is also very persuasive.
With Cronenberg realising that a transformation into a fly would not be a beautiful thing he has managed to create a repulsive, gradual, and no holds barred transformation into the fly. The brilliance here is the fact you feel sympathy for this misunderstood monster which Cronenberg has captured perfectly.
Even nowadays this film would still hold an 18 certificate purely because of the final and over-the-top transformation into the fly, and some parts leading up to it. The greatest triumph with this film is the sympathy you feel for the doomed inventor. It's rare that a horror film such as this has the key ingredient of sympathy that too many movies in this genre lack. Although this film is horror, the horror elements take a back-seat to the relationship between the journalist and the inventor.
The DVD itself I had no problems with. However, it did lack in the special features department. Only containing a six minute behind the scenes featurette which is really just the retelling of the story from the actors, producers and the directors point of view with only a short insight into the production. The same can be said for the cast and crew interviews. The main language for this film is English but does you do have the option for subtitles in Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and of course English.
Fans of the original may be surprised by the different interpretation Cronenberg has taken of the same story. Instead of an instant transformation from inventor to the fly. The fly is completely absorbed into the inventor making the transformation slow and gradual but only creating one monster, another difference from the original.
In my opinion this is an unforgettable film and a classic of this fading genre. Today horrors are all about the violence. Here we have an enjoyable movie that has elements from many genres: science fiction, romance, drama and obviously horror. But don't be put off by this; what you get is unbearable tension that is so rare from many recent films. For £5 it is definitely a movie you need to add to your collection.
The Fly Ultimate Collection tends to fluctuate in price quite a lot, and it's worth waiting for the price to drop because as collector's sets go, it's far from the ultimate. It does include all five Fly films, but unlike the US three-disc set of the original series (Fly Classic Collection [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]), which offered featurettes, stills galleries and an audio commentary, here they only have their original trailers as extras, with the meat of the supplementary material reserved for the 80s films. Nor is the packaging as impressive as it sounds - a transparent plastic box with the kind of plastic 'pod' inside to contain the wallet of discs that looks like it might have been Easter Egg packaging in a former life.
The 1958 original feels a lot like a short story padded out to feature length, though it is interesting that it's one of the few movies where the creature never kills anyone. The Fly itself or even the infamous "Help me! Help me!" moment aren't the funniest - that honor goes to the cat's interdimensional mewing - but on the balance it's more good good than bad good. The quickie sequel Return of the Fly loses the color but retains the CinemaScope, with the Son of the Fly carrying on where dad left off only to fall foul of a treacherous assistant who's into the odd bit of industrial espionage inbetween murders: this time the giant bug does kill, but as Arnie would later say, they were all bad. It's disposable but certainly a lot more enjoyable than the very belated 1965 Curse of the Fly, shot on the cheap with England standing in for Canada. Don Sharp offers a striking opening shot of broken glass and there's a delightfully twisted logic in having the heroine, who escapes from a mental asylum in her underwear, being the sanest person in the film, but it's a fly-free zone. Instead Brian Donlevy and son George Baker are still tinkering with that Disintegrator Integrator teleportation device with fatal consequences, and more than a hint of Jane Eyre in the mad mutant wife kept locked up in the outhouses. There's a neat bit of poetic justice at the end, but it's not surprising it's the rarest of the series.
From a curiously irrelevant Canadian setting in the original trilogy it was probably only a short step to hiring a Canadian director for the 1986 remake, though it's surprising to learn that David Cronenberg was a late replacement for British director Robert Bierman, who dropped out after a family tragedy. Certainly the Vampire's Kiss director would probably have delivered something much more conventional than Cronenberg's reworking that keeps the original's key plot points and the fact that his creature never actually kills but manages to turn it into a surprisingly convincing love story and the most accessible of his body horror movies. All of which get thrown out of the window for the much more conventional The Fly II, which you can't help thinking was what the studio had in mind first time round. The Brundlefly's son has inherited dad's corrupted genes - as well as a case of rapid ageing that sees him turn into an adult Eric Stoltz by the time he's five - and earns his keep as a lab rat by perfecting his father's teleportation device for a big bad corporation before he starts going all insect and killing a few bit players in the last couple of reels. Much of the humor is probably unintentional and choosing the Cronenberg film's makeup maestro Chris Walas as director wasn't the best choice - there's no personal vision to be found here - but at least Christopher Young provides an excellent score that deserves a better film.
If the extras on the first three films disappoint, there are no such complaints about the other two. On The Fly you'll find a audio commentary by David Cronenberg; 3 deleted scenes, 2 extended scenes (1 with separate script and storyboard) and script for deleted scene; 136/162-minute documentary Fear of the Flesh - The Making of The Fly; featurettes The Brundle Museum of Natural History, 1986 EPK featurette and David Cronenberg Profile (1986); test footage (Opening Title Treatments, Pod Lighting and Effects, Brundlefly Makeup, Exploding Space Bug and Cronenfly); Easter Egg interview with Jeff Goldblum and camcorder footage; original short story; original screenplay and David Cronenberg's rewrite; magazine articles; publicity, behind the scenes, concept art and effects galleries; 3 TV spots; teaser trailer and full trailer; trailers for The Fly II (teaser and full), The Fly (1958) and Return of The Fly. The two-disc FLY II isn't quite so weighty, but still includesaudio commentary by Chris Walas and Bob Burns; deleted scene and alternate ending; documentaries Transformations -Looking Back at The Fly II and The Fly Papers - The Buzz on Hollywood's Scariest Insect; 1989 EPK featurette; featurettes CWI Video Production Journal and Composer's Master Class - Christopher Young; 3 storyboard comparisons with optional commentary by Chris Walas; stills, concept art and storyboard galleries; teaser and full trailer as well as trailers for the original trilogy.
It's a very decent set - but only if you can get it at the right price.
on 17 January 2014
Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist attempts to woo investigative journalist Veronica Quaife by offering her a scoop on his latest research.
The field of matter transportation, which against all the expectations of the scientific establishment have proved successful.
Up to a point. Brundle thinks he has ironed out the last problem when he successfully transports a living creature.
But when he attempts to teleport himself a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle finds he is a changed man.
With this, Videodrome, and Dead Ringers, Cronenberg made some of the best body horror movies of the eighties, and this is probably is most mainstream and accessible. It's not our typical Cronenberg movie, but it still has his brilliant traits we appreciate from the man.
The film deals with body image and peoples perception of how they looked, this was the eighties, and vanity was rife, and ironically it is shown from the point of view of a man who wears the same clothes.
It also deals with disease, and it could be perceived that Brundles transformation is a metaphor for AIDS, as again in the eighties, people were scare mongering how you could get it from sharing a towel etc.
It's a wonderful success of horror and funnily enough for the director, blockbuster. Goldblum and Davis are great as the leads,many it's took me at least three viewings to realise what an integral part Getz is to the film, he is truly a pivotal part of the film when you look beyond the yuppie, chauvinistic facade.
If you like horror movies, and want to get into Cronenbergs work, this is a perfect place to start, and it will prepare you for his other works.
on 17 February 2013
Is there anyone that hasn't seen David Cronenberg's The Fly remake? In an age where remakes have swamped the cinema release schedules over the last ten years or so, this film is an overwhelming demonstration of what can be done with someone else's previously filmed material. Taking the core story of the Vincent Price 1958 original, the 1986 version of The Fly is brought up to date for the (then) modern era in terms of technology, science, and sheer gruesomeness. It's the story of a scientist who has cracked the teleportation problem, and in testing the machine (two pods, whereby the molecules of the one are disintegrated and reintegrated into the second) he goes through unknowingly at the same time as a house fly that has unfortunately landed in the pod prior to the teleportation. The computer confuses the two organisms and effectively splices them together at a genetic level, thus beginning a progressive transformation of the man into a horrific amalgamation of the two. What sets Cronenberg's story apart from the average monster movie, partially, is a particularly strong emotional foundation. Brundle's degeneration into disgusting monstrosity, the product of his own relentless curiosity and drive to push science forward, is ultimately tragic and believable. There are five stars of this film in my opinion - firstly, David Cronenberg of course, who continued his exploration of mutations of the human body on a thematic level, in the process creating one of the greatest remakes in cinema history. Then there is possibly the most talented composer in the film (and probably non-film) world, Howard Shore, whose score pounds home Cronenberg's themes at key points, building momentum to the devastating climax. The next two are Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, whose performances bring all of this together in a gripping fashion. Finally, there is Chris Walas' awe-inspiring creature effects, which are still repulsive to this day. There are a couple of moments that seem to be there purely for shock value more than anything else but the result of Brundle's dabbling is like a nasty car crash - you kind of can't take your eyes of it despite the fact that it's not at all nice to look at. The stilted dialogue of the early scenes is not to be off-putting - the film develops itself into a classic of the horror/science fiction hybrid (appropriately) genre.
I've seen this film on most home video formats and have more recently picked up the Blu-ray Disc, promptly selling the DVD. Video cassettes of this film looked awful - very muddy and indistinct. DVD was noticeably better, but the film's rough look has made it difficult to translate to the lower resolution of VHS and DVD. The Blu-ray is significantly improved - in lighter scenes the detail is very strong, colours are far more realistic, and the contrast is better balanced. Darker scenes still look quite rough, but it's probably easier to see exactly what's going on now. There are details on the creature effects that I'm sure I never saw before on DVD. Overall, it's definitely worth upgrading to the Blu-ray for full HD image quality alone. The audio track is serviced by a lossless DTS-HD surround track - most of the sound comes from the front, particularly centre, channels, but the music is embellished with the greater resolution and very welcome impact. It is limited by 80s recording technology and that's never going to change, but it sounds better here than it ever has. On the disc you also get the extras of one of the former DVD special editions (the set I originally bought had The Fly II on an extra disc, but of course that isn't included here). That includes director commentary, documentary, deleted scenes, and loads more. For fans of the film, you have to pick up this very strong Blu-ray and ditch your old DVD/laserdisc/VHS as soon as possible.
Paul (The Grim Cellar at Blogspot)
on 19 March 2010
Very good , a perfect upgrade from the standard DVD , and the extras are also very interesteing. worth the money just for the colour and sharpness of this horror master-classic !!
Its so unfortunate that horrors can't be as good these days. Here we have, what is certainly, a classic film by all accounts, that really captures the main elements of a horror. From excellent acting, to that classic 70's/80's horror "background" music, to incredibly real Animotronics for the final fly sequence, its got such brilliant charcacter that modern films lack.
The 80's was for me such a great era for, what you might like to call, cult films. Such flics as The Terminator, Predator, The Comapny Of Wolves, and many more even non-horror classics kept the young lads trying to sneak into the cinemas under age, and the audience on the edge of their seats. The Fly was one of those many films that set a bench mark for horrors, simply because it had such a strong plot, and in this case, a moral & story thats been taken from an old story waayy back. Modern films lack the good special effects, where CGI creates non-scary characters 'on the cheap'.
The Fly has such a simple plot its easy for anyone to watch. Theres no machine guns, no super duper Matrix technology, just a strong simple plot. Jeff Goldblumm - an 'over eager' scientist, brings the world of Teleportation alive when he invents matter transporting pods. The story then simply evolves around what happens when your too eager, and Golblumm finds himself in a "hairy" situation... (literally, later on!)
The film takes a deep interest into the build of Goldblumms failing, from the moment he steps out of the pod, looking human, to his rather sad (spoiler) death at the end, when he has transformed into a full grown fly. The stages of the development are incredibly real, even now. The make-up is brilliant, and the special effects, including his 'walk on walls' sequence is quite incredible - even i'm not sure how that was achieved. The best quality of the film is the directing though, in which were made to feel sorry for Goldblumm - its almost like a classic tale.
Of course, the most memorable part of this film is the final.. "transformation" into the fly. Much like "The Company Of Wolves", Animotronics are in the thick right at the end, and makes the film look ultra real. I wont describe the transformation - that'd be telling, but it is really super - still horrible though! But these little 'horror' moments do pop up now again, from the fly using his acidic saliva to use on an un-wanted guest, to his ear teeth falling out! I guess thats why classic films like this were so entertaining - there real, unlike todays teen horrors, where we have the blonde bimbo, who eventually kisses the good looking lad, with some cheap CGI in between. Its sad when thought about.
This is sure a film to add to the collection, and has a real 80's feel about it suprisingly. Just don't let the kids watch it- its horrible enough for me at the end!