Perceived as a film about the AIDS crisis at the time of its release, Cronenberg is too intelligent a filmmaker to allow his picture to become a vehicle for other people's politics. For as you don't need to put The Fly under the microscope to see that it's HIV free, close inspection reveals that this highly intelligent film is as much a movie about the head and the heart as it is a warning of the perils of the "new flesh". (Film4 unspecified date)
The metamorphosis within this film focuses on a cancerous, slow disfigurement and is both cruel and disturbing to watch. Just the very fact that you see the several stages of transformation makes your stomach churn! The fact its more graphic and intense than the 1958 metamorphosis not only tells us how advanced special effects have become, but is used to prove how the audience wants to be shocked and how the next generation has been evolved.
David Hedison portrayed a quite decorous fly-man, who for most of the film kept a black veil over the insect's head that topped his human body after a failed experiment. In David Cronenberg's new version, Jeff Goldblum is a graphic fly for the fact-crazed 80's, transformed into a creature so repulsive he makes the monster in ''Aliens'' look like Grandma in a Norman Rockwell painting. (James Caryn 1986)
Humanity - when does he stop being a human? Or is humanity intact to the end even after his transformation. Within the final transformation - when he holds the gun to his head, that Quaife is pointing - some might say there is more compassion and humanity shown there then when Brundle’s appearance is more human. Almost as if at the beginning of the metamorphosis, when Brundle’s personality changes, becoming more erratic and forceful, he shows less humanity then when the physical transformation takes its course. This is reflected in the narrative when he kidnaps Quaife to stop her aborting his baby.
Firmly rooted in the type of film he does best, Cronenberg unleashes a series of nauseating effects as Goldblum transforms into a fly over a period of weeks. Along with his looks goes his personality and while this provides some tension, it really is the gruesome nature of his downfall that is the main feature of this otherwise unremarkable film. (Almar Haflidason 2000)
List of illustrations
Figure 1. Cronenberg, David (1986) The Fly Movie Poster. At http://www.horrorphile.net/the-fly-1986/ (Accessed on: 25/09/11)
Figure 2. Cronenberg, David (1986) Quaife's dream. At http://www.horrorphile.net/the-fly-1986/ (Accessed on: 25/09/11)
Figure 3. Cronenberg, David (1986) Transformation from Brundle to 'Brundlefly'. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BrundleStages.JPG (Accessed on: 25/09/11)
Film4 (unspecified reviewer/date posted) The Fly. At http://www.film4.com/reviews/1986/the-fly (Accessed on: 28/09/11)
BBC Almar Haflidason (2000) The Fly (1986). At http://www.bbc.co.uk/2000/07/21/fly1986_review.shtml (Accessed on: 28/09/11)
New York Times Review James Caryn (1986) Film: The Fly (1986) Film: 'Thw Fly,' With Jeff Goldblum. At http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=A0DE0D71438F936A2575BC0A960948260 (Accessed on: 28/09/11)