The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) / Sci Fi-Horror
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi violence, horror and gore involving mutant creatures
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis, Fairuza Balk
Director: John Frankenheimer
Screenplay: Richard Stanley, Ron Hutchinson (based on the novel by H.G. Wells)
Review published February 23, 1997
One of the biggest disappointments of 1996, and without a doubt, the worst movie for its stars and director. Basically disowned by almost everyone involved, this film will have most viewing it wishing they had all memory of it erased. It's a shame a classic H.G. Wells story has been chopped up to become nothing more than a Jurassic Park knock-off.
The story takes place in the near future, where on a deserted island the long-thought missing Dr. Moreau (Brando, Superman) has been combining human DNA into animals in order to try to make perfection and himself a god. A man (Kilmer, Heat) found drifting on the high seas is brought to the island but everyone appears to be mad, and the natives are restless to revert back to their animal selves.
The film is terrible to be sure, but not totally without merits. Brando turns in a relatively decent performance given what garbage he had to work with, and Fairuza Balk (The Craft) is appealing as his created daughter. David Thewlis (Dragonheart) gets most of the screen time, which is a shame since he's totally unappealing, and Kilmer is totally wasted in a role that has very little for him to do and with which he does little with.
Wells' classic story has been done before, and almost all of the themes have been done countless times in other films, that there's really little to hold the attention of most viewers. Repugnant, mercilessly gruesome, and shamelessly distasteful, this film leaves such an unappealing aftertaste that you may find yourself watching another movie directly after this one (assuming you can make it to the end) just to not have time to think about it anymore.
©1997 Vince Leo