Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Island of Dr. Moreau - 1977

There are just some movies where for whatever reason, they're not as good as they should be.  Well, hell there's a ton of movies like that.  But there are the ones that mystify you, that make you wonder at WHY they didn't deliver.  They could have the cast, the plot, the production budget, the effect - it could all be there and yet you're still walking away from it thinking it wasn't that good.

I'm going to spend a lot of this review seemingly bashing The Island of Dr. Moreau, not for any one specific reason, and I don't mean to say it's a bad film.  It's just not good.  It had a lot going for it and maybe that's one of the reasons.  It had the stars, Michael York from Logan's Run played the main character, Burt Lancaster played Dr. Moreau, and it also had Gypsy's one true love Richard Basehart as the lead animal/hybrid thing.  I guess that should lead me to the plot...

We open on two guys in a boat, lost at sea.  They awaken and spot an island, head to it, and one of them promptly gets dragged away by something.  That just leaves Michael York to discover that there are inhabitants on the island, Dr. Moreau and a couple other humans are there, and they are experimenting with turning animals into humans and humans into animals.  Michael York is curious about this until he decides to flee the island, gets caught, and injected with the serum to turn him into an animal.  Meanwhile, the animal/human hybrid things led by Richard Basehart have a tense relationship with their creator Dr. Moreau, he is just one slip up away from them getting out of his control.

Like I was saying this movie kind of had it all.  The cast is good and does their jobs well.  The location they shot on was the island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, and it looks beautiful.  The makeup was decent, not as good as some movies of course.  In fact in places it's pretty bad, but it still works.  Sometimes they just obviously threw a mask on someone, what really doesn't work is when it's just the face of the hybrid thing that's part animal and the rest is all human....  But, that's not what made the movie bad alone.  It's very hard to describe what exactly makes it not good.

I was curious, and checking online it doesn't exactly get the best reviews from other people either.  Well, so maybe it's just a middle of the road, thriller adventure movie with a sciency twist.  I would say the pacing is not the best, it's kind of slow, there's not a lot that really happens in the movie either.  Also, it's fairly predictable.  Even if you'd never heard of it before, you could probably guess how it's going to go from early on.  I wonder if Planet of the Apes was written before or after this original book by H.G. Wells.  That's the real question.

For not being outwardly bad, and for the actors I give it a middle of the road 2.5 stars.

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