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Set in the year 2010, Dr. Moreau has successfully combined human and animal DNA to make a crossbreed animal. Well, as usual, something goes wrong and David Thewlis must try to stop it before it is too late. Originally rated R, but cut by Frankenheimer to allow "a wider audience".Written by
Kale Whorton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Actors playing Moreau's creations would spend hours in makeup, only to find out that they weren't needed. At one point, a day's filming was canceled when Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer each refused to come out of their trailer until the other did. See more »
After witnessing the birth (24 min into the movie), Aissa guides Douglas to the beach. As they run through the forest, the light coming through the trees casts long shadows for the characters, yet as they emerge onto the beach they have no shadows at all. See more »
[On why Dr. Moreau left the U.S]
Animal rights activists drove him out of the States. Got so bad you couldn't cage a rat without reading him his rights.
See more »
The director's cut contains 4 extra minutes of footage including an expanded intro in the Java sea, a more gruesome end for 'The Father', and other small enhancements See more »
Troubled production is semi-coherent with some entertainment
Ever wonder where Col. Kurtz would've ended up had he survived the end of "Apocalypse Now"? Well, now we know: He exiled himself to a deserted island to create humanimals - the horror, the horror.
This 1996 version of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" was such a troubled production that articles, books and documentaries have been made about it, like the 2014 documentary "Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau." Stanley championed the project, wrote the screenplay and was set to direct, but was fired after a few days of filming due to conflicts with Val Kilmer, who wasn't in the best of moods due to being served divorce papers while on set.
Actually that wasn't the main reason Stanley was fired. He was fine for small indie productions, but he was out of his league with a blockbuster like this. Veteran filmmaker John Frankenheimer was brought in to save the production from being a complete disaster. He got the job done, but his tyrannical approach didn't help matters.
The production was so bad that Fairuza Balk (the cat-lady, Aissa) literally tried to escape the set, but was caught at the airport in the nick of time. Add to this Brando's well-known eccentricities, not helped by the recent suicide of his daughter, Cheyenne, and constant rewrites and you have a formula for a cinematic chaos!
In light of the horrible production and the ensuing bad press you would think this would be a lousy movie, but it's actually not THAT bad. I can see why some people don't like it because parts of the third act are pretty crazy and don't flow very well, but if you're a sucker for lost-on-an-island type yarns and appreciate the mood & insanity of films like "Apocalypse Now" and the original "Planet of the Apes" ("It's a madhouse, a MADHOUSE!") you'll probably appreciate some of it. Don't get me wrong, it's nowhere near the caliber of either of those films, but comparisons are inevitable and there are entertaining bits.
The main problem is that the story isn't that compelling; the flow of the movie is off, which is mostly apparent in the mounting craziness of the final third, which tempts the viewer to tune out.
Thankfully, there are some positives. The title sequence is kinetic and dazzling; the score by Gary Chang is varied and all-around phenomenal; the plot is intriguing; the humanimal make-up and actors are quite good with Daniel Rigney's 'Hyena-Swine' standing out (Rigney would be dead a mere year after the film's release); there's some creative pizazz, like Marlon Brando's 35-minute stint where he's as captivating as always, albeit a fat bastage; the inclusion of Dr. Moreau's "Mini-Me" is hilarious in hindsight of the Austin Powers trilogy; and there are flashes of nigh greatness, like Edward's revelatory talk with Aissa in the third act.
Marlon's Dr. Moreau is a variation of Kurtz, i.e. nutjob in the jungle, albeit twenty years later. For Brando fans it's enjoyable seeing him in his old age. This was one of his final films and it shows that he had his magnetic charm 'til the end.
Furthermore, there are some interesting themes: The humanimals who get to live in Dr. Moreau's abode are more human-like in appearance than the animals living in the smelly humanimal 'village' in the forest; the most human-like one, Aissa, he even refers to as his daughter. Wouldn't this lead to tensions between the factions? Moreover, while Moreau is a benevolent dictator he's still a dictator and dictators are rarely good. When Hyena-Swine usurps the crown he immediately becomes a malevolent dictator.
The original version runs 96 minutes and the DC 99 minutes. The film was shot in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
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