Friday, February 17, 2017

The Island of Dr. Moreau Movie Review

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
Buy The Island of Dr. Moreau on Amazon on Amazon
Written by: H.G. Wells  (novel), Richard Stanley and Ron Hutchinson (screenplay)
Directed by:  John Frankenheimer, Richard Stanley (uncredited)
Starring:  David Thewlis, Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, Ron Perlman
Rated: PG-13

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

After his rescue, Edward finds himself on an island where a scientist, Dr. Moreau, turns animals into humans.

Despite the potential this goes quite far off the rails towards the end. It's a b-movie elevated to a big budget feature. While the production was a horror story, the unseen drama and the wacky performances don't translate to the screen much and don't make up for the shallow story.
It wasn't near as bad as I expected, which is a blessing and a curse because it doesn't even skew towards so bad it's good.
Skip it.

Based on the introduction alone, I thought this was going to be terrible. We see images of sky, eyes, and microscopic cells against music and credits, but it's a long and boring sequence.

Edward Douglass (David Thewlis) is rescued after being stranded on an island by Montgomery (Val Kilmer). They go back to Moreau's Island. Montgomery's wardrobe is strange throughout the movie as he's usually wearing two watches, but right off the boat he does a Marlon Brando impression. If you thought Kilmer was hammy half way in, just wait.

The movie really sets the island up as strange and even offers a few hints if you know what's to come. Moreau (Marlon Brando) is a mad scientist creating animal-human hybrids. Douglass just happens to arrive at the same time as an animal uprising. Once the animals stage a coup, the movie abandons any pretense of logical plot.

This isn't near as bad as I expected. I thought I was going to get an absolute train wreck from all the behind the scenes drama. It's odd, and definitely an elevated b-movie. Brando doesn't have that big of part, and while Kilmer hams it up, the story is the biggest problem. It feels like the point is missing. Maybe this movie isn't trying to say anything, but that seems like a gaping hole. The movie doesn't delve into the morality of the experiments and doesn't try to make a comparison to humans primal nature. It's just shallow, humans dressed up as animals looks cool and horrific, lets make that a movie.

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