Film Scouts Reviews

"The Island of Dr. Moreau"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Aug 21, 1996

Movies like "The Island of Dr. Moreau" challenge film critics because there are only so many ways to say "this sucks". Marlon Brando, reprising his role in "Apocalypse Now", is a geneticist trying to make animals human. At least he gets laughs throughout for his otherworldly make-up and attitude. The other huge ego is Val Kilmer as his over-the-top assistant. On the bright side, all the "animals" were done by the make-up genius Stan Winston, so they are actually believable - more so than either Brando or Kilmer. My pity is extended to David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk, who are victims in and out of the movie. As an actor, Thewlis must have heavily identified with the character trapped on an island with a bunch of madmen and animals, for he is surely trapped between the outrageous performances of the leads. Fairuza Balk is an uncommon actress with the most stunning eyes on film today. Hopefully she will find better work next time. But what do we do with director John Frankenheimer? Is this really the same man who gave us "The Manchurian Candidate", "Seven Days in May", and "The Train"? He has dealt with some of the best and most demanding actors in the world, but this one got away from him. Rated R.

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