The Best of An Alan Smithee Podcast: Episode Twenty-eight
The Fly (1986, David Cronenberg) / The Fly II (1989, Chris Walas)
Originally posted: February 7, 2014
One of the great tragedies for soap operas has to be Fly II director Chris Walas being too good with special effects–his company does them on the film–to have to direct soap operas. With the exception of these high angle shots of impossibly expansive sets, presumably to emulate thirties horror films, Walas is a supremely mediocre director. There isn’t a single good shot in The Fly II, but there isn’t a bad shot either.
It’s a shame, really, because it gives the film a curiosity value. Walas’s painfully competent presentation of the truly insipid script never entertains or engages, but one finds him or herself transfixed. How dumb can it get next.
Sadly, there are only two good performances in the film. Daphne Zuniga isn’t as bad as everyone else, which isn’t a compliment, but both Harley Cross and John Getz are good. Getz is in a scene or two, reprising from the original, and he’s having a good time and cashing a paycheck. Cross is the lead character as a ten year-old and is actually quite good. If The Fly II were some crazy story about a ten year-old boy-fly, it’d be a lot more entertaining.
But Walas can’t direct actors. Inexplicably, he’s got lousy actors in the film. Ann Marie Lee and Garry Chalk are real bad as the sub-villains, while Lee Richardson gives it a very “Days of Our Lives” vibe as Mr. Big.
And Eric Stoltz is an anemic lead.
Directed by Chris Wales; screenplay by Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat and Frank Darabont, based on a story by Garris and characters created by George Langelaan; director of photography, Robin Vidgeon; edited by Sean Barton; music by Christopher Young; production designer, Michael S. Bolton; produced by Steven-Charles Jaffe; released by 20th Century Fox.
Starring Eric Stoltz (Martin), Daphne Zuniga (Beth), Lee Richardson (Bartok), Harley Cross (10 year old Martin), Garry Chalk (Scorby), Ann Marie Lee (Jainway), Frank C. Turner (Shepard) and John Getz (Stathis).