Hidden deep in the south of France, practically untouched by the modern age, is a place known by many as 'the Zone'. In this space, the supernatural is an everyday reality of life. Magic is... See full summary »
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and ... See full summary »
Famous British explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley, who may or may not have been the inspiration for the main character in Joseph Conrad's classic novel Heart of Darkness is a direct ancestor of director Richard Stanley. See more »
Terrific Documentary About a Trainwreck of a Production
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)
**** (out of 4)
If you watch enough movies, eventually you're going to see something that takes you by complete surprise. You can hear about how bad or crazy a movie is but there are certain examples that just stick in your mind because once you've seen the movie in question you realize that you really have seen something that's so bad that you have to sit there for days if not weeks wondering how it went so wrong. That happened to me in 1996 when I walked out of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. Being a major Marlon Brando fan, it was a thrill getting to see him on the big screen but what was on that screen went down in infamy and here's a documentary explaining the craziness.
Director David Gregory is one of the best people out there when it comes to making DVD/Blu-ray shorts so throwing him into the feature world is something great for movie fans. This documentary is so perfectly done that it plays just like a real drama, a tragedy and then finally a hilarious comedy. We start off hearing from Richard Stanley who talks about his original ideas for the film and we see that he clearly has a great vision for the story. Then, we see that there's something off when he begins to talk about calling on witch doctor's to "help" the film. From here we learn just about every bit of the production details from how the film was originally meant to be made for $8 million but then Brando came on board, which had the budget go higher so then they needed a star so Val Kilmer was brought on and soon the original director was gone and replaced by maverick John Frankenheimer.
LOST SOUL: THE DOOMED JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY'S ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU is without question one of the best documentaries that you're ever going to see when it comes to explaining the behind-the-scenes of a troubled production. However, to be fair, this here wasn't just a troubled production because you're going to learn that the entire thing seemed to be cursed and you can't help but wonder why the entire film wasn't dropped early in the production but then you learn that perhaps someone just wanted to see how crazy it could get. Things turn even worse when you hear that even Brando and Kilmer wanted the production to fail and some of the stories are just downright crazy. There are so many wild and crazy stories told about the production of this movie by the time it's over you can easily see why the actual movie turned out so bad.
There are way too many highlights in this film so picking out one or two to put the spotlight on is rather hard. Again, being a die-hard Brando fan, finding out what was going on with the white face paint and the ice bucket on his head were hilarious. Hearing about how the fired Stanley managed to get back onto the set and work as an extra was just astounding. What's the best is the fact that so many people came back and were willing to talk about the troubled production and be honest about it. Of course, Brando and Kilmer weren't available but Fairuza Balk is on hand as his New Line's Robert Shaye and of course Stanley plays a big part here. There's also some of the original producers to discuss the problems and the honesty of everyone involved is what makes the drama of the film work so well.
Of course, as the craziness continues and just gets weirder, the film pretty much turns into a comedy because you have to laugh at everything that was going on. Gregory has once again created a wonderful little gem and one hopes that his talents will see for more feature-length documentaries because he's one of the best out there and LOST SOUL is so great that it actually makes me want to go back and what that train-wreck of a film that was THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.
23 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this