The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

The third screen adaptation of H.G. Wells' century-old novel is the 
worst of two warring worlds:  it's neither suspenseful enough to be 
scary nor outrageous enough to qualify as a camp classic.  Marlon 
Brando is well-cast as the mad scientist who lives on a remote 
South Pacific island, where he can experiment on animals and play 
God in peace.  Brando plays the part as a continuation of his Kurtz 
character from APOCALYPSE NOW, turning every scene of his into an 
intentional exercise in absurdity.  His jaw-dropping late arrival-- 
wearing chalky white make-up under a billowing white muumuu, among 
other odd accouterments-- will be long-remembered by film scholars.  
And has the summer seen a stranger sight than that of Brando behind 
a piano, playing excerpts from "Rhapsody in Blue" to a roomful of 
mutant monsters?  As the mad scientist's mad assistant, Val Kilmer 
rivals with a doped-up performance that's almost as audacious.  
(Stay awake for a dead-on impersonation of the big guy, which Val 
delivers toward the end.)  Alas, nothing else in this movie even 
comes close to working the way it should.  The human elements never 
connect, the animal actors look ridiculous, and any affecting 
social commentary is saved for the last sixty seconds. (Rated "PG-
13"/96 min.)

Grade: C-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: August 25, 1996

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |   Links   |   FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros