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USA 1996
Directed by
John Frankenheimer
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

Island Of Dr. Moreau, The (1996)

This is one of those films that make you wonder if anyone, the producers, the director and the actors, read the script before getting involved in such abject nonsense. One can tell that on paper, the original story by H.G. Wells would have been an interesting imaginary journey into the world of future science and bio-ethics butas adapted by writers Walon Green, Michael Herr, Ron Hutchinson, and Richard Stanley, and transposed to the screen by John Frankenheimer it is irrevocably tacky and egregiously ridiculous.

Apart from the opening titles, it’s hard to find anything from the performances to the costume design that is not wrong-headed and one can only assume that the intention was to make some kind of sensationalist entertainment with a cult cachet rather than to in any serious way tackle Wells’s text, of which only the bare bones are left (there is a slightly better attempt to film it from 1977). It is a strategy that failed miserably. We can also safely assume that Brando took perverse delight in his ridiculous characterisation as the crackpot Moreau but it is surprising to see Val Kilmer and even more so, David Thewlis, sink to such bathetic depths. Other members of the cast, including Ron Perlman and Temuera Morrison, at least have their shame buried beneath Stan Winston's makeup.

FYI: Apparently the original director Richard Stanley was sacked after only four days but snuck back onto the set and appears in the film as Dog-Man,




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