Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau; Horror, USA, 1996; D: John Frankenheimer, S: David Thewlis, Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, Fairuza Balk

An airplane crashes above the Pacific ocean and eventually only Edward manages to survive in a small lifeboat. He is picked up in a ship by Montgomery who brings him to a mysterious island. There, Edward is shocked when he discovers that a local DNA scientist, Dr. Moreau, is inserting human genes in animals who developed intelligence and started calling him father. Moreau plans to make real people out of them in order to transform humans into a higher race. But the creatures start a mutiny and kill Moreau and Montgomery. Only Edward survives and leaves the island.

Horror "The Island of Dr. Moreau" is not such a bad film as everyone says it is, but it is still a real mess where almost nothing works the way it should, neither acting, or story, or directing, or symbols and not even the awful make-up of man-beasts. Themes of genetic mutation were always close to trash in films and thus it is a pity that "Moreau" lacks sophistication, making the viewers only wonder how the whole film would have turned out had it been directed by the original director Richard Stanley who could have improved the overall result with better style. Like many weak films, this one also has one strong point that stands out: the genius wacko Marlon Brando whose Dr. Moreau claims that he saw the devil under the microscope in the form of badly connected genes whom he wants to erase with mutations. Some deeper messages revolving around eugenics, fight against the bourgeoisie or identity appear only in fragments.


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