Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Fly (1986) DVD Review
Reviewed by: ThemrocRead Themroc's film review of The Fly
A double disc set positively bulging with information and documentation.
Unfortunately, there is simply too much to wade through. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the sprawling interactive Making Of documentary that drags on for two hours and 16 mins - or two hours and 42 mins when "enhanced" with the branching clips. Although extremely detailed, it is only sporadically interesting and would have benefited enormously from hefty cuts. Since co-writer/director David Cronenberg is inexplicably absent from the otherwise comprehensive parade of talking heads, it is left to the cast to talk about the acting side of the production, and they are allowed to burble and waffle away, in luvvie cliches, presumably because someone has decided that if Jeff Goldblum (for example) has something to say, then by definition it must be interesting.
The interviews with the crew are, on the whole, more worthwhile and cover the pre-production and SFX work in considerable detail. But again, interviewees are too often permitted to gush about their director at pointlessly inordinate length ("It was so great to work with David. When I was asked to be on this project I was so excited. I mean the script was just great, and I'd seen all of David's movies and I think they're all just great. I'm just such a huge fan of David's work. It was such an honour to work with him. I just think he's great." And so on). I don't see why this whole misshapen mess couldn't have been cut into a more interesting and enjoyable 60 minutes.
Cronenberg's commentary is dryly informative and offers up the odd surprising nugget of information. I learnt, for example, that he is currently reworking The Fly as an opera and apparently named Seth Brundle after the motor racing driver Martin Brundle. The deleted scenes give an insight into the editing process and the reasons why things that seem a good idea at the script stage end up on the cutting room floor. A particularly misconceived Baby Butterfly dream sequence indicates that even directors as experienced as Cronenberg occasionally have stupid ideas (this one was thankfully dropped after a test audience decided that they hated it) and there's also a completely bonkers scene (also wisely omitted from the final cut) in which Brundle attempts to fuse the bodies of a baboon and a cat before beating the resulting monstrosity to death with a piece of lead piping.
The documentation gives a comprehensive history of how the original story came to be developed into the final screenplay, and the inclusion of the magazine articles - including one from The American Cinematographer for film students - is a brilliant idea. However, none of these are included in PDF format and so must be watched on the screen page-by-page, rather than simply printed and enjoyed at leisure.
The EPK is essentially a worthless and uninteresting marketing tool, included because it was there, rather than because it is of any real interest now.
All in all, the package gets 5 stars for sheer wealth of information, but loses one for failing to present it in a more digestible form.Reviewed on: 07 Jun 2006