Top positive review
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"My teeth have begun to fall out. The medicine cabinet is now the Brundle Museum of Natural History"
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.