Marrying truly haunting images, with a somewhat tragic story, proves to be a winning combination for director David Cronenberg's sci-fi horror classic "The Fly". With its well written story and decent performances that stand the test of time, this film is sure to attract a new generation of fans that will appreciate all it has to offer.
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a rather exceptional but lonely scientist working on the principle of teleportation, meets journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a formal gathering, where he invites her to experience his latest venture. The two spark-up a personal relationship and one night during a misunderstanding, a slightly jealous and drunken Seth becomes the test subject for his yet-to-be proven safe experiment. With his clouded judgment to blame, Seth unknowingly allows a common house fly into the teleporting chamber, accidentally forcing the computer to merge the molecular structure of both subjects. Almost immediately following the experiment, Seth experiences increased strength and endurance leading him to believe that he has some how changed for the better, welcoming Veronica to document his transformation. Soon after, things take a frightful turn as Seth begins to mutate with horrifying results, leading to increasingly violent behavior and a shocking turn of events.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment re-releases the David Cronenberg classic "The Fly" as a special two disc collector's edition presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio. The film unfortunately exhibits small dust particles that are not too distracting, but are evident throughout most of the film. The transfer is virtually free of visible compression artifacts, with the slight introduction of grain in some scenes. Black levels are rich and deep in appearance, which maintained fine image detailing that is quite welcome in darker scenes contained within the film. Good color saturation worked to provide naturally appearing flesh tones throughout, while enhancing the gruesome special effects laden sequences.
Including dts, as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound option, made for a nice addition to this collector's edition. The dts soundtrack provided good balance and took advantage of surrounds during more appropriate moments of suspense and action filled scenes. Bass levels are surprisingly good, helping to produce dialogue that is natural in reproduction. Considering that "The Fly" has approached the twenty year mark, the soundtrack only shows its age with the odd dated sound effect, but still manages to provide a pleasing overall sonic presentation.
Re-released as a fully-loaded two disc collector's edition, Twentieth Century Fox has provided a great package of special features that more than accommodates the terrific presentation of this 1986 telling of "The Fly".
Be sure to allow yourself the better part of the day if you plan on navigating through the exhaustive amount of value added material, contained in this two disc set. Complete with great looking animated menus and a cool CGI fly that buzzes around the FBI warnings at the beginning of both discs, you really have to respect the tremendous amount of detail that went into the production of this DVD.
Along with the feature presentation, disc one contains a full-length audio commentary from director David Cronenberg that offered up some good information and personal views on the production. The full extent of the behind-the-scenes material has been reserved solely for the second disc.
First up, in the documentaries section, you will find "Fear of the Flesh: The Making of the Fly" that is nicely presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The documentary is split into three main sections titled "Larva", "Pupa" and "Metamorphosis". There is the option of viewing this documentary as presented, which has a running time of 2 hours and 16 minutes or you can choose to view the full documentary in the enhanced mode that brings the running time to 2 hours and 42 minutes. By displaying a "fly" icon whenever there is additional material available, the enhanced mode allows viewers to utilize the "enter" button on the DVD players remote to be taken, via seamless branching, to more in-depth analysis of the material currently being presented. Beginning with the early short story and a discussion about the 1958 original version of "The Fly", and then moving onto the addition of David Cronenberg as director of the proposed re-make, you will get a great detailed insight to the pre-production of the film. With good participation from Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, who share personal memories from the production to extensive set design and post production, you almost become overwhelmed at the vast material being presented.
"The Brundle Museum of Natural History" featurette is an intimate look at the models and design concepts that are housed in Bob Burns own private collection, from the production of "The Fly". Here you will be introduced to many of the models from the pre-conception stage, some of which offer a rather bizarre take on what the full metamorphosis of the fly creature could have looked like, very cool indeed!
Under the deleted scenes section, you will find a nice text introduction to each of the available scenes that were removed from the final presentation, with some of the cut footage being presented via script form to footage taken directly from actual work prints. There is even a deleted scene that was assembled using portions of a cleaned-up work print, combined with VHS footage of the pre-conception animation, to make that particular scene as usable as possible for the deleted scenes section.
The deleted scene titled "Monkey-Cat", with a running time of 6 minutes and 58 seconds, is quite disturbing; yet well worth the time invested. After an initial test screening in Toronto, this scene was cut from the final film and had to be completely re-constructed from the original negative, then mixed with Howard Shore's original score to bring the scene as close to the completed presentation as possible. For fans that seek every piece of negative that was shot during production of "The Fly" this addition is truly impressive, to say the least. This is just one more example of the incredible work that went into bringing all of the available material together to include in this truly definitive edition of "The Fly".
An extensive text-based section features the faithfully reproduced short story from George Langelaanis, with Charles Edward Pogue's original screenplay as well as a full-length reproduction of the actual rewrite from David Cronenberg. Also included in the text features section are interactive magazine articles from "Cinefex" and "American Cinematographer" that reproduce the complete articles from both magazines on "The Fly", complete with full color photographs.
Entering into the "Promotional Gallery" will give you access to a full compliment of trailer and television spots for the theatrical release of "The Fly". An original 1986 electronic press kit includes a short featurette on the film, with another short clip profiling director David Cronenberg.
A comprehensive "One Sheet and Lobby Card Gallery" displays the various artwork used in poster reproductions from around the world. The "Still Gallery" offers up four separate sections focusing on "Publicity", "Behind-the-Scenes", "Concept Art" and "Effects" that showcase some high quality photographs of production stills from the film.
Just when you think you have embarked upon every aspect of detail from the behind-the-scenes of "The Fly", a section titled "Screen Tests" awaits your entry. With short clips that were transferred from available original negatives, these various film clips feature all sorts of test footage utilized by David Cronenberg and his production staff for measuring different aspects during pre-production. Included in the mix is a really hilarious clip of Cronenberg himself, dressed in a goofy hat with protruding antennae and silly looking "wings" attempting to emulate a "fly" and showing how he wants actor Jeff Goldblum to scale the walls of his loft after he has transformed with full fly-like capabilities. Quite the laughable presentation, but well worth the viewing, as you get to see the often serious-sided Cronenberg having a little fun on-set.
Whew! If you can get through this comprehensive, yet entertaining collector's edition, you will walk away with a truly in-depth look at one of the more notable films from one of the more clever directors working today.