Always a pleasure to deviate from our typical BMT formula of a single bad movie (or perhaps two or three bad movies) and partake in a classic film and it’s not-so-classic follow-up/money grab. That’s what we got with The Fly II. I started to wonder whether this was the steepest drop from classic high to BMT low. And I’m not talking some jokey answer like the drop from Big Momma’s House to Big Momma’s House 2. Like for serious, there would be some pretty great nominees. Basic Instinct 2. Speed 2: Cruise Control. The Birds 2: Land’s End… but I think I’m most intrigued by The Sting II… the original won Best Picture, the sequel did not. But it’s just old enough to confuse us as to its BMT credentials. I’ll have to get Patrick on the case given he’s the head of the Computer Science Department at BMT University. Till then…
To recap, The Brundlefly’s back, Jack! But not Seth this time, it’s his son Martin. Having inherited the fly genetics from his father, Martin grows up fast. So even though he’s only five years old he’s got the body of a twenty year old. And what a body! (Characters in the film think, unironically). He’s also got the mind of a genius. So when he gets big enough he goes to work for Bartok, his Science Daddy (as I shall creepily refer to him). His task is to get his father’s machine working again. While he’s doing this he strikes up a friendship with Beth, a night shift worker with greater aspirations. While attending a work party with Beth, Martin stumbles upon a monstrous dog creature his Science Daddy accidentally created during earlier attempts at getting the machine to work. He is dismayed and breaks things off with Beth, but drawn like a fly to honey he reconciles and they totally smooch… hard (remember, he’s five, but his mind is older, so it’s OK). This gets not only his body juices flowing, but his mind juices too and he is able to perfect the machine. But his postcoital bliss only lasts so long as he realizes he’s transforming into the Brundlefly (oh no). Even worse, he has figured out how to cure himself but it requires him to make horrific genetic alterations to another person (double oh no!). As if it can’t get worse, he also finds out his Science Daddy is evil and wants to use his invention for profit (triple dog oh no!). Distraught, he locks down his computers and attempts an escape. This doesn’t last long, though, as he enters a cocoon state and despite her best efforts, Beth is forced to return him to the lab. Awakened, Martin goes on a rampage. He kills all the baddies in sight, eventually cornering his Science Daddy and pulling him into a pod where Beth initializes his curing process. Martin comes out cured and his Science Daddy is now his Science Daddy Monster. THE END… or is it? (It is).
This movie appears to be sold on one thing and one thing only: the ending visual effects. While the fly effects are a bit shaky, the very last shot of the Science Daddy Monster is horrific and so I have to give them some props on that. Truly grotesque. Congrats. I also very much enjoyed Spaceball’s Daphne Zuniga as the love interest. Charming actress. I think the film mostly suffers from comparisons to the Cronenberg original, which is unassailable both technically and aesthetically. It is impossible to live up to when you then hire the visual effects artist to direct the follow up. It’s also pretty slow for the first hour. Clearly they wanted something quick and on the cheaper side of things so they could grab dat money.
Hot Take Clam Bake! Is it wrong for me to suggest that there are numerous people they could have used to cure Martin and avoid all the general fly hubbub? Ethically it may be a bit hazy, but let’s be real… ethics isn’t Science Daddy’s strong suit. You just need that sweet, sweet DNA to fix Martin. Guess who has a bunch of DNA they aren’t using? Dead people. Science Daddy got the green. Buy a dead body… easier said than done, I’m sure, but I bet Science Daddy could figure it out. And if he can’t, guess who’s providing dead bodies left and right? The fly himself. Grab up a deado and get the process rolling. Seems wasteful to use a perfectly good Science Daddy. Hot Take Temperature: Carolina Reaper.
‘Ello everyone! The Fly II? More like Not Fly Too! Amirite? Brundlefly is back, but now he has the growing disease from Jack. Let’s go!
- I like Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga in this. Both of them work well as young employees of a how-you-say? … evil company? Funny that Mel Brooks was an EP so he got Zuniga in the film. I don’t really remember her in much else and was always surprised. Looks like she was in Vision Quest (never saw it), Gross Anatomy (future BMT … wait, was she connected to Modine in some way … was Modine connected to Mel Brooks too?), and then did 110 episodes of Melrose Place.
- But I will never ever ever ever watch this film ever again. Why? Because what happens to the dog and the bad guy at the end is horrifying. Just horrifying. Cut that part of the film out and it is just silly with some interesting third act practical effects. With it, it is just unnecessarily gross and I hate it.
- If I were to pinpoint the main thing that makes this a BMT film it is the moment (shown in the trailer) where Stoltz becomes like … a cocoon man. No, he doesn’t look like Steve Guttenberg. I mean, like, he’s a weird looking man covered in cobwebs and shit. The short segment where a very very ill Stoltz goes on the run and tries to get Zuniga and a former Brundlefly Inc. employee to help him is the best part from a BMT perspective.
- Prior to that the film is kind of just a rehash of the first film with Brundlefly Jr. trying to figure out where he belongs in the world (you know?) and rebuild his father’s research. After that is it just a practical effects bonanza. The “I feel BBeTTer” line is just really everything from a BMT perspective.
- Speaking of which I suppose. People were pretty down on the practical effects, but while gross, I felt they were pretty impressive. I can understand the “this ain’t no Cronenberg” attitude at the time, but I still think it worked much better than I expected.
- The exception being the actual puppet at the end. The puppet was pretty rough. Kind of looked like crap and … well, it looked like a puppet. A fragile puppet. Not great. Still, I didn’t mind it much.
- I did watch the Goldblum film a while back. Loved it. It’s a good movie with great special effects. Unfortunately I didn’t get to the original or any of the sequels. Some day. I do think they are intriguing, and I want to watch more older films.
- I suppose a minor Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate twist of Stoltz fixing himself by destroying his father figure / horrible person Bartok. That’s it though. It’s very much closest to BMT, but I don’t think it is as impressive as I expected.
Read about my sequel The Fly III: Half Past Fly in the Quiz. Cheerios,