Plot: What’s it about?
The Fly tells the story of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a scientist who works with transporting matter in new and unusual ways. Brundle is a brilliant worker and person, but he sometimes wanders into some eccentric behavior habits. In between experiments Brundle tries to gain the affections of a reporter named Veronica (Geena Davis). He uses his natural charms to win her over, but soon resorts to offering her some inside information on his latest experiments, which could revolutionize the way travel and other tasks are done. His new work revolves around transporting matter from one place to another via teleporter, which he has had some success with. After he is able to move an animal via his creation, he decides to attempt to transport himself. But a mistake happens and Brundle finds himself in a world of danger and mutation. In The Fly II we meet Seth’s son Martin (Eric Stoltz) who is five years old and fully grown, which seems odd enough but his boss plans on using him to start an army of fly warriors. Soon the fly genes begin to take over and Martin and his girlfriend race to find a way to reverse the process before it’s too late. But with his boss and his team hot on his trail, it won’t be easy to find the time and chance to make his life somewhat normal again.
As with a couple other recent releases, Fox has issued a double feature of like titles and in this case we’re treated to the 1986 remake of The Fly and the sequel (aptly named) The Fly II. Now this is a unique double feature because the first film is a science-fiction classic, while the sequel is a miserable film in almost every aspect. Now I usually like bad science-fiction movies, but The Fly II just doesn’t spin any cogs for me. And if you read reviews of the film I think you’ll find most people agree with me, though I am sure the film has an audience of some kind. But now thanks to Fox, if for some reason I ever want to watch it I now have that choice. I doubt the sequel would have done well on a separate disc, but on this double feature it should do very well. I can’t stress enough that the first movie more than makes up for what the sequel lacks, so don’t pass on this release because of the clunker sequel attached. The original is loaded with terrific suspense and thrills and I can’t recommend the flick enough. If you do pick up this double feature and still haven’t seen the sequel, go ahead and give it a spin just don’t hold me responsible. I recommend this release as a rental to first timers, but fans will scoop this one up as soon as it hits the shelves.
The director of The Fly was David Cronenberg, who certainly knows how to make an unusual and unnerving film. This proves to be no exception to that idea and Cronenberg delivers a potent and downright eerie movie, equaling and perhaps surpassing the original version. This film is loaded with disturbing images and visuals, which add volumes of suspense and tension to the atmosphere of the movie. In fact, I think this movie is worth watching just for the visuals alone though there are many more reasons for viewing it also. Cronenberg seems to have a mastery when it comes to making a movie that sticks in your head and this one sticks even more than usual. If you want to see more of Cronenberg’s movies I recommend Videodrome, Dead Ringers, and eXistenZ. The cast in this movie is very good and includes Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, Stuart Little), and John Getz (Men At Work). The Fly II was directed by Chris Walas, who is better known for his work as a make up, creature, and special effects technician. Walas does his best with what he has, but it all just falls short in this less than stellar effort. Walas has also worked on such films as Arachnophobia, Virtuosity, and Gremlins. The cast is decent, but still can’t save the material. Some of the actors include Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, Vision Quest), Lee Richardson (Prizzi’s Honor, Network), and Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction, Jerry Maguire).
Video: How does it look?
The Fly is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I wanted this to be a wonderful looking release and Fox has made me a happy man, as this is the best The Fly has ever looked on home video. The source print seems clean and free from debris and while some fading is evident, it is minor and never distracts from the movie. The compression shows no problems either, as artifacts are absent throughout. The colors look natural and bright, but some scenes take on a supernatural glow which is intentional I am sure. I never found any smears or bleeds and flesh tones appear normal and without flaw also. The contrast seems in order as well, with no shadow depth issues and high visible detail at all times. This film deserved a fine visual treatment and Fox delivered just that.
The Fly II is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a terrific transfer and I could find no complaints other than some grain, which is minor and not worth mentioning again. The colors look bold and show no bleeds, while flesh tones emerge in natural hues. Contrast is also strong, accurate shadows and no detail loss I could detect. The compression seems in order since no artifacts appear and aside from the small instances of grain, the source print looks great also. This is a fantastic transfer, so all you fans should be jumping for joy…whoever you are.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Fly isn’t an audio driven movie by normal terms, but there is quite a bit of surround use to be found in this mix. This release contains a very solid Dolby Digital 5.1 track that delivers on all counts, which should please fans of this excellent movie. The musical score is effective and sounds very rich in this mix, which uses all the surrounds to present the score’s texture. The sound effects remain subtle most of the time, but some scenes will have those speakers working double time to keep up with the action. I found no problems with dialogue either, which came across clean and with no separation or volume troubles. This release also contains English and French 2.0 surround tracks and English and Spanish subtitles.
The Fly II features a similar soundtrack, but lacks the level of surround use and power of the original. This disc also contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and has some nice use from time to time, but falls short of the total experience offered by the original film. The music is decent enough and this mix makes it sound very good, thought not as immersive as I would have liked. Sound effects some across well and make use of the surrounds with good results. Dialogue is crisp at all times and volume is always proper and consistent. You’ll also find English and French 2.0 surround tracks and English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes theatrical trailers for both of these films and bonus trailers for other films in Fox double features releases.