AUGUST 18, 2007
Much like Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, Island Of Dr Moreau the film is nowhere near as exciting or entertaining as the behind the scenes troubles that accompanied it. Sure, a film like Waterworld has a lot of ‘bad press’, but it was all “filming was delayed because of the weather” type stories. There was nothing totally batshit like the stuff that came out of Moreau. Like, I dunno, Marlon Brando, one of the greatest actors of all time, having his lines fed to him via walkie talkie, one which would occasionally pick up other radio chatter, leading The Don to say thing like “There’s a robbery at Woolworth’s” in the middle of a scene.
My favorite story involves the film’s original director, Richard Stanley. Fired after only four days (allegedly for not getting along with Kilmer, who at that time was considered box office gold thanks to Batman), he actually snuck back into the film as one of the random monster extras. Some crew knew, but the other actors and new director John Frankenheimer (poor sod) had no idea. That is amazing! Yet, the DVD has no commentary, and the featurette is worthless.
The film itself is just a bore. David Thewlis’ character goes back and forth between desperate to escape and fairly at peace with his imprisonment at random, and nearly all of the novel’s ideas and themes are either botched or missing entirely. It felt like one of those films that could end at any given moment and no one would care or even notice.
At one point I had so many questions I couldn’t even follow what passed for the movie’s plot. Why the ice bucket on Brando’s head? Why the blue thing on Kilmer’s arm? Why is Brando top billed when he only shows up during the film’s 2nd act? Why does Kilmer suddenly act (and talk) like Brando? Why does this monster movie end with a goddamn True Romance-style shootout? Why aren’t I just playing Far Cry instead?
The DVD has poor compression too. Like the film itself, you gotta wonder why they bothered at all. We all have better things to do, like refill our ice helmets. “Forcefully, forcefully…”
What say you?