The Fly (1986)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 77%
Overall Rating
Ranked #998
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Connections: The Fly

When Seth Brundle makes a huge scientific and technological breakthrough in teleportation, he decides to test it on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a common housefly manages to get inside the device and the two become one. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 11, 2005
As our feature film begins, we find Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a scientist, hanging out at some type of party celebrating science. Here, he meets science-magazine reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), and proceeds to tell her about an invention that he's working on that will change the world. Veronica is skeptical, however... after all, two other men at this very party have claimed to have inventions that will change the world. Her skepticism isn't alleviated much when Seth offers to take her back to his apartment to show her the invention that he claims will change the world... this is probably some sneaky way of getting into her pants, she thinks. However, when they arrive back at his apartment, he explains what exactly his invention is. It's a set of telepods, and true to the name, they teleport things. As a demonstration, Seth asks Veronica for a personal item of hers, to which she takes off one of her stockings and hands it over to him. He places it in one of the telepods, punches a few buttons on the computer, and with a flash of light and a puff of smoke, the stocking has disappeared from telepod number one... and has reappeared in telepod number two.

Veronica now has a breakthrough story to hand over to her editor, a story that will take her journalistic career to new heights. However, Seth isn't too keen on that idea, as he thought that this was a personal demonstration, not a professional one. He doesn't want his idea hitting magazines before it's finished, he says, but at this point, Veronica doesn't care about anything other than her career. She takes the recording of their conversation to her editor and ex-boyfriend Stathis Borans (John Getz), who dismisses the claims of teleportation and tells her that she got scammed by a measly parlor trick. Veronica ends up going back to Seth, who further explains why he doesn't want his idea getting out just yet... the telepod can not teleport living tissue, only inanimate objects. With a bit more work on it, he can get the tissue problem working out, but he needs more time before it goes public. Veronica agrees to keep her mouth shut, and the two start to fall in love... until, that is, Stathis starts to get jealous of the happy couple and threatens to expose the whole thing in the next issue of his magazine. This leads Veronica to leave Seth's apartment to go and try to talk some sense into him, which sets off Seth's jealousy. Jealousy plus a good amount of alcohol prompts Seth to try the teleportation on a human subject, with the human being himself. It works out fine, with one minor problem... there was a fly inside of the telepod when it activated, and the flys genes have now been spliced together with his, causing him to take on the characteristics of a fly. The rest of the movie deals with his gradual transformation into a fly, and the methods he comes up with to reverse the change.

I haven't seen the original version of this film in at least a decade (and with that length of time, I might as well have not seen it at all). Therefore, I can't really compare the 1958 original to Cronenberg's remake, but this version, standing on its own, was excellently done. The storyline here moves along nicely; we don't get an all-out effects-and-gore-fest as so many other similar movies have done, but instead, Cronenberg develops a rich plot with effective characters for the majority of the film. The romance and growing relationship between Seth and Veronica is heavily built upon, which sets things up nicely when the grand finale rolls around. By this time, you've come to know both characters quite well, and the ending sequences are made just that much better as a result of the nice build-up of the characters. I realize that my cries are falling on deaf ears, but it sure would be great if Hollywood would take some lessons on what makes a good film from some of the classics, and this film would sure fall into that category.

Now, there's a lot of character development here, but that isn't to say that the film is something along the lines of a romance movie for the majority of the running time. Cronenberg has a good handle on how to mix effects, action, and plot development into one enjoyable film, and this one was no exception. As the movie rolls along, we get some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) hints as to what exactly is happening to Seth. The effects that were used to show the transformation in each of its stages were excellently done, and wouldn't seem out of place in a movie that was released today. This then leads us up to the grand finale, when the transformation from human to human-fly hybrid has been completed... and this was definitely one of the better effects that I have seen in my time. For a film that was originally released almost twenty years ago, that's quite the amazing accomplishment.

All of this goodness wouldn't have amounted to quite the level of entertainment that it did had the cast not been just as good. Thankfully, Cronenberg made some excellent casting decisions for this film. Jeff Goldblum (Seth) plays the nerdy scientist role that he's come to be pigeonholed into in recent years, and shows exactly why directors keep placing him in such a role. He plays it up to perfection, and seems completely believable in the part. However, unlike some of the other scientist roles that he's played, he isn't quite so one-dimensional here. He makes a gradual change over the course of the film, going through the phases from typical science geek to mutant Brundlefly with an excellent display of the emotions and reactions that one would expect from someone suffering through this. Then we have his love interest Geena Davis (Veronica), who doesn't quite rank up there as high as Goldblum in the entertainment category, but she doesn't exactly slack in the acting department either. I'd rank her in the slightly-above-average department, with the exception of a handful of scenes in which she really cranked up the quality of her performance. Finally, we have your typical asshole ex-boyfriend by way of John Getz. Getz plays the role to perfection, throwing out some truly award-winning lines and seeming like a legitimate asshole in the process. Sadly, the man didn't get a whole lot of screen time until the very end of the movie, but this was completely understandable from a storyline viewpoint.

Overall, this is definitely a movie to pick up if you're a fan of science fiction films. Cronenberg has a damned nice track-record when it comes to putting out great movies, and this one isn't an exception. 9/10.
Bluesummers #1: Bluesummers - added March 12, 2005 at 8:31am
Gooey. Creepy. Fucking scary. Cronenberg is the man when he needs to be. And this role Jeff Goldblum was meant to play. Screw that guy in Jurassic Park. Here he gets to be his nervous tic-for-every-occasion self! Go man, go! As we all know, this is a remake of the 1950's flick with the esteemed Vincent Price. This is so much better. Our buddy the webmaster has pretty much hit this all on the head like a rabid gopher being put down. And if you ever, ever contemplate having kids with a mad scientist, this movie will show you it's NEVER a good freakin' idea, kids! Buy it! Now! Don't tape it! Give the stars and makeup guys (who deserve healthy pats on the back and some high quality hookers) the money they've richly earned.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added March 12, 2005 at 12:17pm
lol veronika's giving birth to her "baby" was by far my favorite scene, and gave me the heebie jeebies for a good month
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added May 30, 2010 at 9:56pm
I really didn't like this as much as many people I know, it was a good movie, but it's not as great as I thought it would have been. 7/10
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