Obsessed with the horrifying implications of a combination of science, technology and the powerful potentials of the human mind, body and sexuality, Cronenberg had created several highly personal films over the previous 15 years. While the concepts of these films are interesting and
unique, the films themselves were quite uneven. Slapdash, poorly cast, underbudgeted, and sometimes incoherent, there was also insufficient attention paid to the development of characters as complex, emotional human beings. With his decision to remake the 1958 classic THE FLY, Cronenberg found the
perfect outlet for his obsessions, producing his most controlled, mature and insightful work to date.
Enhanced by a more complex personal relationship between the protagonists, the new version of THE FLY pairs a young science-magazine reporter, Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis), and a somewhat shy, awkward scientist, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), who is involved in a secret experiment to transport
matter that will "change life as we know it." Although brilliant intellectually, Brundle lacks social graces and his endearingly clumsy efforts to seduce Veronica look like a high school nerd trying to impress the prom queen with his science project. The pair gradually fall in love, and they make
a heartwarming couple. Brundle continues his experiments, trying to advance from transporting objects to transporting living beings. Eventually, he is driven to transport himself but fails to notice the little fly that has traveled through space with him.
THE FLY succeeds on many levels. Cronenberg has never elicited better performances from his players. Goldblum is sublime in a rare leading role. Davis is also in top form. As a couple, they are so convincing and appealing that one regrets knowing that their love story will soon become a tragic
horror movie. As a remake, THE FLY transcends the original, taking it in new directions and exploring its underutilized potential. Whereas the original degenerated into a campy fly hunt, the remake opts for a slow metamorphosis from man to fly that develops as a disease might. This gives
Cronenberg time to examine the implications of such a process, meditating upon our fear of disease, death and change.
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