Catalog Rec: The Fly (1986)

Post is a little later than usual due to a casting emergency that has since been quelled. Last minute change of plans always need a close evaluation.
AFI aired a special called 10 Top 10, where they picked their top 10 films in different genres. The lists are interesting because of the films they picked, though I rarely agreed with their choices (Alien instead of Aliens in Sci-Fi, for example).
Also strange are their genre choices. Gangster, Sports, and War are listed as genres, while Musical, Comedy, and Horror are left off. The list did give me some ideas of films to revisit or watch for the first time. When did my site turn into a low-rent Writer's Almanac?
Catalog Rec: The Fly (1986) Remakes are hard. The fans cry for blood upon announcement and the studios rarely manage to exceed expectations and produce a high quality product. Even more puzzling are the decisions to remake films that weren't that noteworthy to begin with. The Fly is one of the rare remakes that outshines the original, does justice to the print source material, and explores new territory in exciting ways. This may seem a puzzling choice for a rec based on writing.
Isn't the true beauty and skill of The Fly in the visual effects? Or Cronenberg's direction? Or Goldblum and Davis' wonderful performances? To a certain extent, absolutely. Why The Fly is noteworthy for writing is the skill in adaptation. Pogue and Cronenberg took a solid sci-fi short story by George Langelaan and gave it heart.
The transformation sequence remains expanded like the 1958 Fly (which, itself, is a pretty good sci-fi flick, though nothing too special), though it's reinvented to encompass all aspects of human character.
The sci-fi aspects were well established: a man experiments with teleportation only to fall to the merciless hand of hubris and be changed into a monster. What isn't so well defined is the romance. The relationship between the scientist and the reporter is believable and grounds the film in an unwavering reality.
She isn't so blindly in love that she ignores his changes to live happily ever after. No. She fights back. She questions him. She tries to find out what went wrong and why he's changing. His psychological transformation is even more interesting. Simply put: ideal genius to dirtbag boyfriend. He becomes self-absorbed with his work and changes. He neglects the needs of himself and others.
The Fly (1986) is my favorite Cronenberg film and the screenplay goes a long way in establishing that. It's a beautiful romance, a thought provoking science-fiction feature, and a disgusting monster movie all crammed together into one cohesive unit.
There's a wonderful 2-Disc Release available for only 15 dollars at Amazon. It's well worth a purchase if you consider yourself a Cronenberg fan, a science-fiction fan, or a horror fan. Otherwise, you might consider renting it first to see if it hits you right.

Labels: Catalog rec

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