The Fly (1986)
Film: The Fly
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Charles Edward Pogue and David Cronenberg
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz
This film begins with Jeff Goldblum meeting Geena Davis at a party. He is a scientist and he is telling her that he has found the next major discovery in science. He tries to entice her to come back to his lab to see it, but she is reluctant at first. He does finally get her to come over.
Goldblum has created two chambers that will allow him to teleport inanimate objects from one to the other. He does an experiment with one of her stockings. She is impressed and decides to record their conversation, as she is a reporter. The tape runs out so she goes to change to a new one and he realizes what she’s doing. He informs her that she cannot write about this and asks for the tape. She refuses and leaves.
Davis works for John Getz, who is also her former boyfriend. He doesn’t believe her about what she wants to write about. He is also shocked when Goldblum shows up to the place their offices are located. Goldblum asks her to follow his work, to document it, but not for an article. He wants her to do it as a book. She starts to stay over and films everything with a video camera.
He shows her the aftermath of what happens when he teleports anything that is living, when he tries with a baboon. It turns out to be a bloody mess. The two of them make love and Davis says something that hits home to Goldblum and might be the missing part. There is also a scene where an electronic piece is jammed into Goldblum’s back and it has cut him.
Goldblum realizes the computer running the experiment is interpreting flesh and how to put things together, not just teleporting them. He alters the program and then successfully teleports a baboon. Davis realizes that Getz is jealous and is going to run her original article out of spite. She leaves to talk to him. This upsets Goldblum and he drunken teleports himself. He doesn’t realize that a fly got into the pod with him when he did.
He comes to realize that he now has much more strength and feels better than ever. Davis notices some weird hairs growing out of the scratches on his back. Goldblum goes through some other changes as well and realizes that he has been fused with the fly. Can Goldblum find a way to stop what is happening, or does he even want to? Davis also learns later that she is pregnant, will she keep the baby or will the thought of it becoming a monster force her to abort it?
This will mark the first time I’ve seen this film all the way through. When I was growing up, I caught this film a couple of times on one of the movie channels, but never saw the whole thing. I was really intrigued back then and I’m glad I finally got to see the whole film. I have seen the original and that one is a classic, but this concept was perfect for director and writer David Cronenberg to tackle. I love the concept of teleportation and how the pods work. It is funny that when this film was made, the computer is outdated compared to what we have now. Goldblum has to tell the computer what to do and that is why teleporting living things haven’t worked. It would make sense that the computer would do what it did when he gets transported with the fly inside the pod with him. I have read some darker things that Cronenberg wanted to add to the film, but didn’t and it makes a lot of sense. The mad scientist in Goldblum also increases the horror for this one as well. I like that Cronenberg can add allegories to his horror films, especially coupled with the creepy out factor that he is great with. For this film, it really mirrors to what a disease that is incurable can do to the human body. This film was very well written.
The acting in this film was great. I feel that Goldblum was the best choice for the role. He looks highly intelligent and his humor matches that. I would envision someone of his caliber would have to use sarcasm and as someone who is highly sarcastic as well, it is great to see. I also love seeing the struggle with him giving up when he thinks he is dying and then go back to thinking he is God-like due to the changes his body is going through. I also thought that Davis was a solid choice as the female lead. Seeing her breakdown as Goldblum changes was great. It raises the tension and her moral dilemma is a tough one. I also thought Getz was good as the ex-boyfriend. You see that he still cares for Davis, but she wants him to move on and let her live her life. He is vindictive and will do what he can to ruin Goldblum, even if he knows it won’t get her back.
I couldn’t do this review without touching on the practical effects. This is something that makes Cronenberg so great to me. He really turns Goldblum into a giant fly and it looks so realistic. It is great that they even have him start to eat in the way that a fly does, by vomiting an enzyme on what they are eating to break it down before putting it into their body. He makes Goldblum look so disgusting that it is amazing. The editing of the film didn’t necessarily stand out, but they do use some great camera angles, especially when Goldblum is able to attach to any surface like a fly. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but that tells me good choices were made as it doesn’t hurt the film.
Now with that said, I would highly recommend seeing this film. The concept has just enough science to not scare you away and it gets quite crazy. The acting is great. You are torn rooting for Goldblum who steadily becomes a monster while his girlfriend Davis is breaking down at the inability to help him. The other side of this is Getz is a jerk, but you steadily see that Davis may need his help to deal with Goldblum. The practical effects are amazing. They are worth the price of admission alone. It is a little bit disgusting, but if you can handle that I would say to give this film a viewing.
My Rating: 9 out of 10