"The Fly" is a tremendous film that should not be missed. This disc is worth upgrading if you already have the two-disc DVD if only for the extra trivia track and slightly better A/V presentation.
Fly, The (1986, Blu-ray)
Directors: David Cronenberg
Producers: Mel Brooks
Writers: George Langelaan (short story) Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay) and David Cronenberg (screenplay)
Features: * Commentary * Documentary * Feaurette * Interactive Game * Trivia Track * Deleted Scenes * Alternate Ending * Trailers * Image Gallery * DTS HD 5.1 Lossless Master Audio
Jeff Goldblum ... Seth Brundle
Geena Davis ... Veronica Quaife
John Getz ... Stathis Borans
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The Fly Blu-ray Review
I was seven years old and probably too young when I first watched David Cronenberg’s "The Fly", but it has greatly shaped who I am as a film enthusiast. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was scary, gory, fascinating, moving and extremely well written. I had never seen human flesh degrade the way it does in this film (remember I hadn’t seen any of Cronenberg’s other films).
Upon reexamination of "The Fly" at a much later age (high school, I believe), I expected that the film would have lost most of its allure, but it didn’t. Rather, the film became much more mysterious and terrifying for me because I understood the symbolic context of what was happening to Seth Brundle.
"The Fly" is a film that has never gotten old for me. I watch it now at least once a year to remind myself how sci-fi, horror and meaning can collide in a beautiful poetic motion. It’s one of David Cronenberg’s greatest achievements, and he has a lot of achievements under his belt--his films examining the flesh ("Videodrome", "The Brood", "Rabid", "eXistenZ" to name a few) are fascinating enough not to mention his more recent works like "Eastern Promises" and "A History of Violence."
The film follows scientist and inventor Seth Brundle (the enigmatic Jeff Goldblum). He has invented the world’s first teleportation device, a device that will revolutionize the world as we know it. He invites a journalist, (Geena Davis) to his home and research lab where she is to document the first teleportation attempts involving living tissue. The first attempts are met with disaster, but after Brundle falls for the journalist, he begins to understand the nature of flesh and manages to get his pod to work.
Brundle decides to use the pod on himself, but does not notice that a fly has entered the pod with him. The computer controlling the pod decides to bond the two organisms together and soon Seth Brundle begins a deadly metamorphosis into a human-fly hybrid.
Certainly the film is a parable of A.I.D.S. in a not-so subversive way, but at the same time, it’s a love triangle of the most operatic value. Davis’ character is torn between Brundle and her previous lover Stathis (the slimy but sympathetic John Getz). Goldblums’ character is torn between science and Davis’ character. Eventually Davis’ character gets pregnant and must choose between abortion and giving birth to a possibly mutant fly-human hybrid—a product of Brundle’s love of science and his love of her.
It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s certainly just as engaging.
Cronenberg’s fascination with the metamorphosis of flesh is once again utilizing as I mentioned before. Cronenberg views our flesh as something that’s easily manipulated by science. In "Videodrome", flesh is manipulated by the T.V. In "The Brood" it’s manipulated by a new-wavy psychological technique. In "eXistenZ", it’s a videogame. And here, it’s a telepod.
The mutation of Seth Brundle is brilliantly done with us sympathizing with his pain while being absolutely horrified by it all at the same time. It’s similar to the A.I.D.S. virus in that way, however, Cronenberg eventually turns Brundle into a monster of sorts by having the animal side of him take over—the metamorphosis wins over the human condition.
The finale of the film is probably one of the moving sequences in cinema history as Brundle-Fly emerges from the telepod having just bonded with it and begs Davis’ character to kill him. Geena Davis sells the scene with her tearjerking emotion, punctuated perfectly by Howard Shore’s emotionally poignant score, it’s a scene that’s hard to describe in written word.
I have no idea whether the power of this scene was totally Cronenberg’s doing or whether it was the fact that Davis and Goldblum where lovers at the time and her emotion was much more personal. It was probably the combination of the two that culminated in that beautiful, but beautifully disturbing sequence.
"The Fly" is a film that should not be missed. It’s a masterpiece of sci-fi cinema that should never be remade. It has a timeless quality to it that screams classic in every possible way. I can’t believe that producers are even considering revisiting this film. I’m a big fan of remakes, Cronenberg's "The Fly" is a remake of the 1958 B-movie, but some films are honestly perfect and once perfection is met, it must not be imitated. If they're going to do it, it needs to something totally new and nothing like this classic film. That's what Cronenberg did with his version of "The Fly" and look at the amazing results.
*Film Report Card*
As entertainment: A+
As a film: A+
This is a review of "The Fly" Blu-ray disc.
20th Century Fox presents the film in 1.85:1 widescreen and 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video on a dual-layer BD50 disc. This appears to be a port over the two-disc DVD transfer from a few years back. The overall palette is a bit muted and lacks the sharpness of typical Blu-ray discs. It’s a pretty good transfer of the film but I honestly didn’t notice much difference between this and my DVD.
"The Fly" is presented in DTS HD 5.1 Lossless Audio and again, the track sounds good, but there isn’t much difference between this and that collector’s edition DVD. There are numerous robust surround effects, surprising given the date this film was made. The center channel is crystal clear and the score is evenly mixed throughout all five channels. It’s a great mix, just not much better than the DVD.
Thankfully everything from that awesome two-disc set is ported over here. Annoyingly the package for the Blu-ray disc does not list the expansive two hour documentary entitled, "Fear of the Flesh." If I didn’t know that this fantastic documentary was on this disc, I honestly would not pick it up, so for those curious about that, yes it’s on the disc.
I won’t go into too many details about the special features because they were on the previous DVD set, but I must comment on the fantastic documentary. "Fear of the Flesh" is one of the few documentaries about the making of a film that I delight in watching more than once. It’s full of on-set video footage, new cast and crew interviews and loads of deleted and extended scenes. It’s as honest as a documentary can be. The only thing I can complain about is the lack of Cronenberg’s presence, which is partially made up for with an insightful commentary track. Also, the absence of Mel Brooks who produced the film is tragic. I love that Brooks had a hand in getting this film made and it would have been awesome to hear the comedian/actor/director/producer discuss why he took on such a daring project like "The Fly."
The special features include: Commentary by David Cronenberg, "Fear of the Flesh" documentary, "The Brundle Museum of Natural History" featurette, Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending, Film Tests, numerous essays and loads of promotional footage including image galleries and trailers.
There’s wealth of great stuff here with the featurette, the documentary and the commentary being the major standouts. I also found the deleted scenes to be wholly fascinating. I wish the deleted scenes could have been cut back into the feature via seamless branching. They would have made the film darker, but more fascinating than ever before too. Fanedit anyone?
This is where this disc beats out the previous DVD. There are four Blu-ray specific special features here. The more basic ones include a ‘Personal Scene Selection’ bookmarking feature and a ‘Search Content’ feature. Both are rather fun and helpful.
The third feature is an insightful ‘Trivia Track’. Some of the trivia can be found elsewhere on the disc, but this track is a fun way to pilfer through the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film while enjoying the film at the same time.
Finally, there’s a silly, but oddly fun BD-Java game. The object is the swat flies that appear on screen during the movie. It was fun for a small amount of time, but honestly my cat got more entertainment out of it than I did as she chased the flies around my screen whenever they appeared.
"The Fly" is a tremendous film that should not be missed, particularly by fans of Cronenberg. This disc is worth upgrading if you already have the two-disc DVD if only for the extra trivia track and slightly better A/V presentation (slightly). If you haven’t seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and pick this disc up…tonight.
*DVD Report Card*
HD Content: B+
Overall Value: A+
On Blu-ray disc: October 9th, 2007
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----R. L. Shaffer