Something Odd is Happening to Me and I Don’t Know What It Is
I was looking through my older reviews today when I realized that I had unfinished business to take care of. Nearly a month ago I reviewed a movie that was a remake of a movie I reviewed a few days later, but I neglected to review the sequel to the remake that came out three years later. Though the original movie didn’t resonate with me, I somewhat liked the 1986 remake, so it stands to reason that I should also review the sequel, but I didn’t want to do too many of the same kind of movie in a row. The days I put it off led me to forget about it until I saw my original review and was reminded of my duty. And so I bring you my review of The Fly II, written by Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, and Frank Darabont, directed by Chris Walas, and starring Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank C. Turner, Ann Marie Lee, Gary Chalk, Harley Cross, and Jeff Goldblum.
The biggest loose end left by the first movie was the pregnancy of Veronica Quaife by Seth Brundle before he became the gruesome fly creature that he died as. They tie up that umbilical cord by having her give birth at the beginning of the movie and quickly die. That’ll take care of that pesky inability to get their actors to return for the sequel! The baby is named Martin and is not the most usual child there is: he ages faster, doesn’t sleep, and has a photographic memory. Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson) takes the boy in to study him at Bartok Industries. At age five, he already looks like a 20 year old man. For his birthday, Bartok gives him his own bungalow to sleep in and the opportunity to continue his father’s work on the Telepods he had been working on. Martin gets to work on them and thinks he has a breakthrough, but wants to try it out on some living organism. He finds a cactus belonging to another Bartok employee named Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga), and the two become friends, and later more than just friends. But, since Martin has reached maturity, his father’s dormant genes start to take effect and he starts changing.
I can’t say I took a liking to this movie. It drags in the beginning and ends in a really goofy way. So much of the early part of this movie is just about watching Martin grow up and the early stages of his relationship with Beth. That’s definitely what I want out of my sci-fi horror movies. It doesn’t start becoming science fiction until about halfway into the movie when he starts degenerating into a fly. It sticks with that until about ten minutes from the end when it tries to become a horror movie, but it gets itself up to slasher film at best. None of the story really made much of an impact on me. It seems as if Bartok has lost the motivation for the development of the Telepods. They made sense as a super-fast means of conveyance, but Bartok tells Martin that he wants these things developed for how they’ll help surgery by making it so we won’t have to cut people open anymore. I realize they deconstruct and reconstruct matter, but they still don’t make much sense to me as a surgery assistant. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be saying that the only way to separate Martin from his fly genes is to sacrifice another person. They do other things to try to satisfy fans of the previous movies, like having John Getz come back in the movie. But when he says that the situation cost him “an arm and a leg” because he had those disintegrated by Brundlefly in the first movie, it caused me severe pain in my gonads with the corniness of the joke. After Martin has turned into a vaguely fly-like creature, Bartok starts ordering all of his security personnel to capture Martin instead of killing him because he needs to study him. They react to these orders by immediately grabbing machine guns, even as an announcement is blaring through the building that it’s to be captured and not killed. I understand because of the danger involved. Even though the Fly is really flimsy and slow-moving, it can spit acid that will melt someone’s entire face right off … or give you an irritating chemical burn on the top of your hand. Not sure how it decides which one to use when. And, after all of that, they go for a really stupid, cheesy, “happy” ending. Everything works out well for our intrepid heroes at the end of the movie. I’m sure they probably felt like the ending of the first movie (where everyone seemed either dead or wishing they were) was too depressing, so they had to make this one end well for the heroes, no matter how stupid or corny it is.
Three years of technological advancement did nothing for the look of this movie. Some things looked better, some things looked much worse. The dog creature that resulted from it getting turned inside out was much less convincing than the baboon from the first movie, and just looked goofy when they made the mistake of showing the whole body. And what made it worse was that it didn’t make sense. How would the dog still be alive if it was turned inside out? The baboon died. That’s what happens to creatures when they’re turned inside out. Speaking of dogs, the dog that the guards sicced on the fly creature was never trained to act like he wanted to kill something. When it saw the Fly, it barked but still clearly looked happy and playful. The fly did cause some good violence near the end of the movie, but I was already far too bored to be brought back around by this point. When the Fly vomits on the guys face, the melting was about a midway point between the face-peeling scene in Poltergeist and the face-melting scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was pretty cool. The scene where the guy got his head crushed by the elevator was also pretty brutal, but not nearly as convincing, unless I’m unaware of the fact that the human head is a thin crust of skin filled with blood like a blood-filled water balloon.
I also can’t say I liked any of the performances in this movie. Eric Stoltz was the only one that did anything that I liked. For the majority of the movie, he just came off as annoyingly naïve and wooden. The part of what he did that impressed me was when he was starting to turn into the Fly. At first, he was just acting really weak and running goofy, like an old man. But right before he was going to go into a cocoon, he seemed like a completely different person. He was really kind of dark and malevolent. If this was indeed him still, it was a pretty drastic change in performance. Daphne Zuniga didn’t do anything that impressed me, but she did capture my attention. Granted, that was almost completely because I was trying to figure out where I recognized her from. When I realized she was Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, I lost interest in her again. At least until she had sex with Eric Stoltz. My problem with this was that, even though he appeared to be a 20 year old guy, let us not forget that he was actually only 5 years old when they had sex. That makes you a pedophile, Zuniga!
If I was too vague by saying I didn’t like most of this movie by talking about not liking its individual parts, let me be more clear by saying this is not a good movie. It is, however, the sequel to a good movie. This movie spends the majority of the movie being really boring, only getting interesting in the last half hour of the movie, and even then not being that interesting. Most of the special effects looked cheesy, and most of the performances were more cheesy. But none more cheesy than the ending of the movie. That takes the cheese. You can skip this movie, even though it’s available to stream on Netflix at your convenience. The Fly II gets “You can’t walk … and you’re getting worse” out of “Oh my God! There’s something wrong!”
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