The Good

There are so many extras on here for EVERYTHING that negotiating around to find what you want to view is a bit hard.

The Bad

They have pulled out all the stops to create a DVD with so many extras that it should be called The Total Fly Experience.

Jeff Goldblum stars as Seth Brundle. An obsessed scientist who builds a teleport machine. In the process of teleporting himself, Brundle ends up merging himself with a housefly and then starts becoming one much to the chagrin of his girlfriend (Geena Davis). To call David Cronenberg’s The Fly a Special Edition would be doing it a disservice. This intricately well made film about a man being overcome by his desire is packed with extras that make up hours of footage. No stone has been left unturned in this two disc set that looks at the film from it’s initial short story beginnings, to it’s preproduction, production and eventual release in theaters.

It doesn’t simply look at the movie. It goes inside the whole process. We see the creatures that were created to give Goldblum the “fly” look. We can read the short story that this movie is based on, we can we read the scripts, articles, etc... . This is a total movie experience and while it gets a bit jumbled at times because the contents are so rich, this special edition of The Fly is more than worth the money.

Features

Commentary and All New Documentary

Having a commentary track by David Cronenberg is a thing to treasure. Like Darren Aronofksy (PI) or Shane Carruth (Primer) it is readily apparent that Cronenberg is smarter than the average bear. He is intelligent on a level that it seems like he would be a professor somewhere if he wasn’t making films. He fills the commentary with insights, anecdotes and a technical zeal that made listening to it very enjoyable. The “All New Documentary” is actually an all new film. Broken up into 3 parts it looks at EVERY aspect of this movie’s production. Sure, you have actors and other people just handing out praise, but you also get a sense of the group mindset on this production. It’s almost as if they felt they had to make this film. Also, this featurette can be watched at 2 hours and 16 minutes or you can be bold and go with the extended version which clocks in at 2 hours and 42 minutes. Yes, they even have choices for how to view the extra material.

Deleted Scenes with Storyboard and Script Comparisons; Test Footage; “The Brundle Museum of Natural History”; Promotional Feaurettes and Still Photo Galleries

With “Deleted Scenes” called “Butterfly Baby” and “Extended Scenes” with titles like “Poetry of Steak” scene (or something like that!), this DVD goes above and beyond almost anything I have seen in this department. Add to this that you have “Storyboard and Script Comparisons,” and a way to watch both the edited and unedited scenes, and this DVD is really like a technical film school. They even have decent sized explanations where they explain the deleted scene and why it was cut before you view it. The “Test Footage” only expands on this giving us “visual aspects” and a look at things like “titles” and “make-up.” “The Brundle Museum of Natural History” shows us an intimate look at film historian Bob Burn’s collection of creature effects that he as kept from the film. We see design concepts, effects materials and a lot of the early prepwork done on the film. We are guided through this by Chris Walas who was a part of the “Creature Effects” department and who would go on to direct The Fly II. Lastly, they have production featurettes on the film and David Cronenberg, but they pale in comparison to the ones we have already seen. In the “Still Photo Gallery,” we use our DVD’s remote to scroll through a series of pictures from the film and behind the scenes.

Original Short Story; Screenplays and Interactive Articles

Using the remote control on your DVD player you can scroll through and read the original Short Story by George Langelaan. You can also read Charles Edward Pogue’s original screenplay and David Cronenberg’s rewrite of the same script. This also comes with “Interactive Articles” from CineFex and American Photographer. While I don’t like reading on a computer screen, much less my DVD player, I just scrolled through these to make sure that everything was readable on my small TV. It looks fine and should I have the time someday, I might try putting this disc in my MAC and seeing if I can print some of this stuff out in hardcopy. The articles have stills to look at as well as video clips.

Video

Anamorphic - 1.85:1. This movie holds up very well for being almost 20 years old. Sure, it looks dated when we see the technology, the way the actors dress, the hairstyles, etc..., but what can really be done about this? Once something is made it’s dated right? If we went back in and changed everything just because the look at had changed, no movie would EVER get completed. The transfer on this DVD looks awesome. It is so sharp and crisp and I honestly think that the “teleport” machine still holds up as a “tech” prop. All the supplemental footage, even the stuff they had to use from the VHS archives looks really good.

Audio

English 5.1 DTS. English 5.1 Dolby Surround. Spanish - Mono and French - Stereo. Subtitled in English and Spanish. I love the soundtrack to this movie, but like John Carpenter’s soundtracks, I find I also like the Cronenberg one’s as well. He seems to have employed Howard Shore for this and for some of his other films. There is such a distinct, big style to it. This is music that really enhances the scenes in which it is employed. It doesn’t tell us what to feel or try and steer us any directions. It just moves really well and has a way of truly capturing the mood for which it is intended. Also, I found that the sound FX for this film also hold up when compared against today’s “tech” noises.

Package

On top of all the bells and whistles this 2 disc set has, it is also done very economically in one amaray case. With a simple cover just featuring the movies title and a fly, you know that you are getting something different. The back gives us a short succinct description of the story, a detailed special features listing, a cast list and some technical specs. There are also two small pictures and one image from the movie. Both discs for this set are housed very nicely in two trays and their artwork keeps the motif from the front cover going. This is simple packaging for a DVD set that is anything but simply put together.

Final Word

I first saw The Fly back in the theater when it came out in 1986. I didn’t just see it once, I think I ultimately saw it 3 times before it’s run was over. Revisiting it now on DVD was such an interesting experience because I didn’t remember any of it. Well that’s not entirely true, it had just been so long since I had seen it that I didn’t remember everything that was going to happen. I had forgotten how good Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis were. The FX, while certainly dated as far as the computers are concerned, still hold up and still have an amazingly awkward impact.

For fans of the films of David Cronenberg, this Special Edition of The Fly is a no-brainer. Packed with extras, filled with insights this is really an inspired film and DVD collection.

The Fly was released August 15, 1986.