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The line between animal and man has been evolutionized: a review of "The Island Of Dr. Moreau"

The Island Of Dr. Moreau    (1996)
     The line between animal and man has been evolutionized.
Director: John Frankenheimer.
Based on the novel by H.G. Wells.
Starring:  Fairuza Balk (Aissa), Marlon Brando (Moreau), Val Kilmer (Montgomery), Ron Perlman (Sayer of the Law), David Thewlis (Edward).
     An ocean plane wrecked diplomat (Thewlis) is rescued and brought to an island inhabited by a Nobel winning now reclusive scientist (Brando) and his children; the animals he has been genetically manipulating with human DNA in an attempt to create his vision of a pure species.
     When this film opened it was panned by the critics.  I was never sure why.  It opens strong, both visually and musically.  The locale is beautifully claustrophobic, appropriate for a secluded tropical island.  Stan Winston’s creature make up is excellent.  The body language of the “humanimals” is very interesting.  The underlying commentaries on the savagery of society and the morality of biological scientific experimentation are intact.  Brando makes a daring, and critics said poor, choice in playing his Moreau like an effete, physically feeble, unbelievably polite British University English Professor, more eccentrically insane instead of the usual madly insane.  Kilmer, always a strong performer, as Moreau's assistant Montgomery, does a spot on impersonation of him toward the end of the film.  Balk, as Moreau's daughter Aissa and Thewlis as the "rescued" diplomat Edward round out the over all well done performances given by all.  
     Favorite line:  “Going on two legs is very difficult.”
     Definitely worth a rent/buy.
     First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.


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