Tag Archives: John Getz

The Fly II (1989, Chris Walas)

One of the great tragedies for soap operas has to be Fly II director Chris Walas being too good with special effects–his company does them on the film–to have to direct soap operas. With the exception of these high angle shots of impossibly expansive sets, presumably to emulate thirties horror films, Walas is a supremely mediocre director. There isn’t a single good shot in The Fly II, but there isn’t a bad shot either.

It’s a shame, really, because it gives the film a curiosity value. Walas’s painfully competent presentation of the truly insipid script never entertains or engages, but one finds him or herself transfixed. How dumb can it get next.

Sadly, there are only two good performances in the film. Daphne Zuniga isn’t as bad as everyone else, which isn’t a compliment, but both Harley Cross and John Getz are good. Getz is in a scene or two, reprising from the original, and he’s having a good time and cashing a paycheck. Cross is the lead character as a ten year-old and is actually quite good. If The Fly II were some crazy story about a ten year-old boy-fly, it’d be a lot more entertaining.

But Walas can’t direct actors. Inexplicably, he’s got lousy actors in the film. Ann Marie Lee and Garry Chalk are real bad as the sub-villains, while Lee Richardson gives it a very “Days of Our Lives” vibe as Mr. Big.

And Eric Stoltz is an anemic lead.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Chris Wales; screenplay by Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat and Frank Darabont, based on a story by Garris and characters created by George Langelaan; director of photography, Robin Vidgeon; edited by Sean Barton; music by Christopher Young; production designer, Michael S. Bolton; produced by Steven-Charles Jaffe; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Eric Stoltz (Martin), Daphne Zuniga (Beth), Lee Richardson (Bartok), Harley Cross (10 year old Martin), Garry Chalk (Scorby), Ann Marie Lee (Jainway), Frank C. Turner (Shepard) and John Getz (Stathis).


RELATED


THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED ON BASP | THE FLY (1986) / THE FLY II (1989).

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The Fly (1986, David Cronenberg)

The Fly starts with perfect economy. Director Cronenberg does not waste time with introductions or establishing shots–whenever there’s an exterior shot in the film, it comes as surprise, even after Cronenberg opens it up a little. There’s Jeff Goldblum, he’s a scientist, and there’s Geena Davis. She’s a reporter. The film conveys this expository information by having her interview him. It’s perfect.

And that perfect economy keeps going for quite a while, maybe even half the film. A lot happens during that first half–mad science, romance, jealousy, all sorts of things–and it’s outstanding. Goldblum and Davis are great together, John Getz is excellent as her weird, slightly creepy ex-boyfriend and boss. Cronenberg’s direction is exquisite; he’s utterly focused on these three actors. Even the science fiction visual exposition gets downplayed.

Then there’s a shift, a small one, as Goldblum’s character begins to “turn.” Cronenberg doesn’t allow many horror film sensibilities in The Fly. Instead of trying to terrify the audience visually with Goldblum, Cronenberg pulls back and Goldblum disappears. It’s a problem, because the film loses its momentum and never regains it.

Wait, I forgot–there’s one big horror movie sensibility… a dream sequence. It’s cheap. It’s gross and effective, but it’s narratively cheap.

Amazing special effects from Chris Walas, a nice score from Howard Shore, excellent cinematography from Mark Irwin. The Fly ’s a good looking (and sounding) picture.

Unfortunately, Cronenberg’s ambitions decline as the film finally has to deliver the horror.

Still, pretty good stuff.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by David Cronenberg; screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue and Cronenberg, based on the story by George Langelaan; director of photography, Mark Irwin; edited by Ronald Sanders; music by Howard Shore; production designer, Carol Spier; produced by Stuart Cornfeld; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Jeff Goldblum (Seth Brundle), Geena Davis (Veronica Quaife) and John Getz (Stathis Borans).


RELATED


THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED ON BASP | THE FLY (1986) / THE FLY II (1989).