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Old 08-20-2007, 11:09 PM   #20
Sage
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The Island Of Doctor Moreau:

The original black&white version was good, but severely dated in many ways.

The '70s version with Michael York and Burt Lancaster was an improvement,
but special effects technology simply wasn't up to the task of what is necessarily a very effects-heavy story.

I so hoped that a modern version would be made that would be true to the original story's complex depiction of the doctor's personality and motivation and show the "manimals" the way I had imagined them. Then rumors began swirling that finally a definitive version was to be made starring Rob Morrow, Val Kilmer, Ron Perlman, and Marlon Brando as the doctor! I was overjoyed! What a cast! How could it fail?

Well, here's how it could fail: the original director got fired and was replaced by someone who had not the first idea how to get great performances out of notoriously moody and temperamental actors like Kilmer and Brando which resulted in them appearing to be acting in completely separate and unrelated films, then Morrow quit the production and was replaced by David Thewliss, whose whiny and utterly unsympathetic performance made me at first not care in the least whether his character lived or died and as the film progressed made me actively hope his character died a quick but grisly death just so he would stop his bloody whimpering!

The special effects were excellent, though, which only served to highlight the film's other shortcomings.

Furthermore, in the second version there is what I consider to be one of the great double-entendres in all of filmdom:
Early in the movie Michael York sees the doctor's "daughter" dancing gracefully on the porch and watches her, entranced. Burt Lancaster sees this and shocks York by saying "Would it surprise you to know that when I first saw her in the marketplace that she could have belonged to anyone for a few pesos?"; York (and the audience) assume that she was a child prostitute, but later it is revealed that she was at that time a jungle cat in a cage.
This exchange is entirely absent from the third version.
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