HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
Wild Boys, The
Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, The
Four Rode Out
Lethal Weapon 3
Kit Curran Radio Show, The
D.O.A.
End, The
Tully
Bedeviled
Man from Mo'Wax, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
   
 
  Island of Dr Moreau, The Animal InstinctsBuy this film here.
Year: 1996
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis, Fairuza Balk, Ron Perlman, Marco Hofschneider, Temuera Morrison, William Hootkins, Daniel Rigney, Nelson de la Rosa, Peter Elliott, Mark Dacascos, Miguel López
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: Edward Douglas (David Thewlis) was flying over the Pacific Ocean on a peace mission from the United Nations when his plane got into trouble and crashed into the water. Stranded on a life raft, his two fellow survivors started to fight and fell overboard, becoming food for the circling sharks, leaving Douglas alone and increasingly delirious. After he passed out, he was picked up by a passing ship, and awakes to find himself on board and being tended to by Montgomery (Val Kilmer), a man who describes himself as more of a vet than a doctor. They arrive at an island where some mysterious research work is being carried out, but Montgomery refuses to tell Douglas exactly what it is and warns him to stay within the confines of the big house on the island. However, Douglas' curiosity gets the better of him...

A film that became notorious for the confusion behind the scenes rather than any merit held by the finished product, The Island of Dr Moreau was scripted by Richard Stanley and Ron Hutchinson. Stanley was the originator of the project and had been wanting to bring his take on the classic H.G. Wells story to the screen for a long time; alas, it all went horribly wrong for him when he was sacked after a day's work on location and veteran John Frankenheimer climbed aboard to oversee an increasingly troubled shoot. Legend has it that Stanley was so heartbroken that he went as far as donning beast makeup and secretly appearing as one of the Moreau's experiments, so attached was he to the film. But he would have been advised to leave it well alone considering how it all ended up.

After an excellent title sequence gets your hopes up, the film is initially coy about revealing the nature of Moreau's experiments, and even more reluctant to show us the doctor, as played by eccentric legend Marlon Brando. This is either because Brando simply couldn't be bothered filming more than the half hour he appears in during the second act, or the producers were so disturbed by his ludicrous performance and appearance that they cut his screen time right down; he still gets top billing, of course. As Moreau's right hand man, Kilmer gives the impression of a man whose tropical holiday has the inconvenience of being interrupted by having to act in a film. He's lazy throughout, even going as far as mocking the story by describing Fairuza Balk's character as a pussycat before Douglas is aware of her origins, and distracting another beast-person with a squeaky toy!

After Douglas has met the panther lady, he is locked in his room by Montgomery to prevent him snooping around. He manages to escape and does indeed snoop around, finding a laboratory where surgeons surround a grotesque beast woman who is giving birth to a human-like baby, a nightmarish scene that hints at the promising possibilities of Stanley's concept. Unlike the book, Moreau doesn't use surgery to create his unholy progeny, but now utilises genetics to transform animals into something resembling men and women. Also unlike the book, Moreau sports thick, white sunblock, oversized sunglasses and is seen wearing a bucket full of ice on his head at one point. Not only that, but he plays a piano with an identically-garbed mouse man playing a tiny piano on it. Brando never convinces as a scientific pioneer, and you feel it's a wonder they got as far with their experiments as they did, although the island's descent into chaos is less surprising.

The pessimistic point about this version of the tale is that humans, as Moreau hopes for his beast people, will evolve past their violent ways and become a higher form of life, and that this hope is a futile one. However, on this evidence it's a wonder that Moreau and company can make breakfast of a morning, never mind medically sculpt animals into humans. Thewlis does his best to add gravity to the situation, but faced with Brando and Kilmer (and Kilmer's Brando impersonation) and a group of actors struggling under immobile makeup he's fighting a losing battle. Balk looks ashen-faced throughout, but Temuera Morrison brings a spark of personality as an eager dogman. Nevertheless, the film has a strange fascination, not only due to its self-destructiveness but its downright insanity. It may be a hopeless muddle, but it's a muddle of near-hysterical derangement, and more provocative than many accepted "bad movies". Music by Gary Chang.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6146 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
Arif Kabban
   

 

Last Updated: