The Island Of Dr. Moreau

1996, Movie, R, 90 mins


Is there a fresh spin to be put on H.G. Wells' story of pioneering eugenicist Dr. Moreau and his mad quest to carve men from the flesh of animals? Perhaps, but saying Aha! Instead of vivisecting his creatures, he'll tamper with their DNA! isn't it. Marlon Brando reprises his APOCALYPSE NOW gloss on Conrad's Mr. Kurtz, gone native in the heart of darkness and lording it over his brutes until, inevitably, they turn on him. As the barbaric Montgomery, who helps bring out the beast in the beast-men, Val Kilmer raids the closet of sinister mannerisms and tries them all on for size. Poor David Thewlis is in another movie entirely. The production was hugely troubled — among other things, original director Richard Stanley, who cowrote the script and persuaded Brando to play Moreau, was fired after several days' shooting and replaced by John Frankenheimer — but the fuss was for nothing. Erle C. Kenton's 1933 ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, stilted and occasionally evasive though it is, says all the same things about the natures of beasts and men who would be king. And by far the scariest sight on view — despite Stan Winston's extensive creature effects — is a fleeting glimpse of one of Brando's gargantuan thighs. leave a comment

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