Island Of Dr. Moreau (1996)

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?


  1. I saw the 1996 version of this movie and I remember being terribly impressed with how bad it was! I'm sad to read what you say about Marlon Brando! Why do actors obtain such notoriety when they're just no good? Oh well, that's Hollywood, as they say...

  2. Wait...coasw, are you serious?

    Because I don't want to go all film-school on you if you're just joking about Brando.

  3. I'm struggling to understand how this film made it out of the crap category based on your review. Maybe there's something redeeming about it you didn't mention? Or my evaluation of crap is just too high? :)

    I think I saw this movie, but the memory is so hazy that it could have been something else. Was it really released only last year?

  4. Hahaha oops, that should be 1996. Hahaha hurrah for half asleep posting!

    As for why it's not crap - it's just so goddamn odd I think it should deserve to be seen. Crap means it has NOTHING to offer. And this has our greatest actor wearing an ice bucket on his head for no reason.

  5. I liked Island of doctor Moreau,but I watched it when I was a child.So I don´t want to watch it again cause I´ll probably hate it...

  6. "Moreau" has always been one my least fave horror films, but you're right about the on-set story being about as strange as they get.

    And speaking of terrible horror movies, I got stuck watching "Dark Ride" at a friend's house last night, and dude, you weren't kidding. I've seen plenty of terrible slasher films, so I was curious if this could really be the worst one ever made as you have said throughout your posts. And if it's not the worst, it's right up there. The opening sequence is actually pretty cool, but after that it goes downhill. Once the annoying film geek character started shouting at everyone because they didn't know he was quoting "Midnight Cowboy," I knew it was only going to get worse. And then they picked up the crazy hitchiker. Wow! Utter crap.

  7. Hahahah yes! My one goal in life is to make as many people as I can hate that piece of fucking shit.

  8. Movie was a well, yes, a dud. I did enjoy Val Kilmer's imitation of Moreau (Brando). He had the Brando voice down pretty good,always good for a few laughs.

  9. I happen to love Island of Doctor Moreau, but thats not to say the movie made any SENSE. Brandon was just...odd. And yeah, Scott, I hope coasw was kidding. I mean seriously the man was practically on his death bed at that point, wasn't he? Give him a break. Kilmer's Brando impersonation was fab, though I like him better as Jim Morrison. Not impressed by Thewlis, though usually I like him, or whatsherface either...the cat girl. As said, the movie pretty much did absolutely nothing to hold up to its meaning. Still, if you like Val, Brando, cat people and beastly orgies, its better than sitting and staring out the window on a rainy day.


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