The 1986 sci-fi horror The Fly may have attempted to sink into the venerated halls of cinematic glory, but that’s why reviewers like me are around. While it’s true the effects of older movies are a little more difficult to pull off and oriented more around makeup and gimmicks, newer movies tend to be CGI and nothing but. In this specific case, the makeup and costume effects make The Fly scary. But you get a healthy dose of sci-fi in there too, so best of both worlds, eh?
Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife meet at a scientists’ social, where Seth says that he’s going to change the way the world works with a single invention. After fending off a little skepticism, he convinces Veronica to come over to his place and see it work. What he reveals is that he has three teleportation pods, and he dazzles her by teleporting her stocking. He tries to convince her to not write a story about him when he finds out she’s a journalist, but to no avail.
Her editor, with whom she has shared a farcical romantic relationship with, dismisses the teleportation as a con-man’s lightshow. This allows Seth the opportunity to ask Veronica to write a novel on his work, to stay with him and watch as his teleportation progresses. That works.
Testing reveals that the Brundle telepods can only transport inanimate objects after a monkey is turned inside out and killed. Seth realizes that the computer is unable to teleport living beings because it doesn’t know how to. The Brundle analysis is that he needs to make the computer “crazy about the flesh,” a fairly cheesy 1980s sci-fi movie line.
A complication with Veronica’s editor arises, and she leaves to cut things off once and for all, something Seth misinterprets as being cheated on. In a drunken bout of anger, he goes through his telepods without her there. Little did he know, a fly snuck into the telepod with him and winds up teleported. Only, on the other side, the fly is gone. Where did it go? Why is Seth eating more sweets and gaining physical strength? And… what’s with the nasty acne and prickly new hairs?
Seth Brundle has been fused with a fly. Slowly but surely, he is becoming… Brundlefly. And let me tell you, the costume/makeup effects are irreplaceable. The steady progression of Seth Brundle from man to fly-man is horrific and vivid. Pus to pimples, I personally guarantee that you’ll flinch when Veronica hugs Brundlefly after he throws up on a donut and his ear falls off. Yuck.
It’s a good movie, though I wouldn’t call it ahead of its time. It’s certainly fantastic for its time, but it doesn’t go above and beyond. If The Fly didn’t make Jeff Goldblum famous, it damn well made him more famous. He often winds up in a “quirky scientist type” role, and he plays it well. But what does someone else think?
James Berardinelli of ReelViews divided The Fly into three acts: The first is your average romance story with a dash of sci-fi. The second is the superhero story where Brundle discovers what abilities he has gained from being spliced with a fly. The third is the good old horror aspect, when Brundlefly is born. This description is apt to say the least, and the transitions between these acts are flawless. Read more here: http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=362