Normally, a ‘classic’ movie will be reviewed by Victor DeLeon, our monthly contributor for his column: Vic’s Classics.
However, I’ve taken it upon myself to try my hand at a known and loved classic: The Fly.
But, there’s always a classic before a classic, and the 1986 Jeff Goldblum masterpiece was ofcourse in itself a remake of the 1958 ‘The Fly’ which featured the now deceased Vincent Price in the role of the scientist.
To get everyone up to speed: The Fly is a story about a scientist (played by a great Jeff Goldblum) who invents a teleportation device. He shares his achievements with a reporter (Geena Davis) who he falls in love with. But when the time comes to transport himself, everything goes horribly wrong.
To start things off: Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, a predecessor of his role in ‘Jurassic Park’. A very introvert scientist, but simultaneously very aware of his own strenghts. This is most evident once he transforms, all the bad sides of his persona become more exposed and it never shies away from showing us the more emotional side of a very ‘blockbuster’ like chain of events.
You can look at this movie from different angles, where one person will only see a horror movie, with great practical effects, the other one will see a complex and oftentimes sad story about a man that’s being devoured by his passion.
Ofcourse, the pivotal moment (to those uninitiated with the movie) where he decides to transport himself through his self built telepods and accidentally has a fly in the chambers with him, is the moment where we witness his real transformation. It’s the first move that his character makes that’s not in sync with who he is.
We’ve seen him slowly but steadily building his device, testing it, developing a romance with the reporter, and then out of spite (after an argument with her) he decides to just go ahead and teleport himself. This, once again, being his underlying cockyness that’s the main reason for his actions.
And the fact that he goes in the telepod nude and walks out nude, is a clear nod to the ‘birth’ he is going through. Ofcourse, amongst a broader audience, ‘The Fly’ is known mostly for its unbelievably great special effects work (which won designer Chris Walas an Oscar®). And it must be said that the transformation is still one of the most awe inspiring things that David Cronenberg (who directed this movie) has put on celluloid.
But, and this is quite a big but, Chris Walas (who is the force behind the creation of ‘The Gremlins’) is to thank for the design of the effects itself. In the end it’s the teamwork between him and David that manages to pull us in. Whether it’s the scene where Seth is climbing the walls of his house, or pulls out his fingernails. It’s all done with such an eye for detail and storytelling thats sorely missing from most horror movies we see today.
In retrospect, every movie fan owes it to himself to give this movie a chance.
If horror isn’t your cup of tea, this movie is one of the best options for you to give it a shot.
This is a movie that cares about it’s story, that has emotional resonance, and yes, it has horror in it.
But that’s what you get when you watch a movie about a man’s life, everyone has a bit of horror to deal with at some point or another.