The Island of Dr Moreau

  • Film
  • Horror films
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Third adaptation of HG Wells' sci-fi novel, begun by Richard Stanley (Hardware) and completed by John Frankenheimer. Like one of Moreau's creatures, it is a sorry patchwork, its jumbled good and bad parts in constant conflict. Yet despite the ludicrous antics of Brando's Moreau, and the lazy, narcissistic Kilmer as his ex-neuro-surgeon sidekick Montgomery, flashes of inspiration remain, not least in Brando's idiosyncratic but chilling delivery of the key speech that begins, 'I have seen the Devil in my microscope, and I have chained him.' One feels sorriest for Thewlis and Balk, who as morally repulsed castaway Douglas and Moreau's beautiful, feline daughter Aissa, vainly try to counter the indulgent excesses of their co-stars. Smeared with sun-block and sporting a range of absurd headgear, Brando is too whimsical to convince as either the gene-splicing genius or the benevolent dictator, dispensing justice with the aid of pain-inducing implants that he activates whenever his half-human subjects threaten to revert to their animalistic ways. In a more coherent context, Stan Winston's varied creature designs might have had more impact; here they barely serve to distinguish one mutant creation from another.

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Frankenheimer
Screenwriter: Richard Stanley, Ron Hutchinson
Cast: Marlon Brando
Val Kilmer
David Thewlis
Fairuza Balk
Ron Perlman
Marco Hofschneider
Temuera Morrison
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