Just to clear any confusion, Kurt Neumann’s original The Fly arrived in 1958, followed by Return of the Fly in 1959 and then Curse of the Fly became the third feature in 1965. David Cronenberg then created a remake of The Fly in 1986 and then we come to The Fly 2 which spawned in 1989. The Fly 2 was not a remake of Return of the Fly from 1959 - it shared little resemblance and was simply a continuation of the popular remake. Interestingly, all five films to date have had different directors and on this occasion the special effects maestro Chris Walas was handed the responsibility. This was an incredibly difficult task in following up the film that had become the benchmark of the franchise. How can you replace
David Cronenberg and just how can you replace Jeff Goldblum?
Chris Walas picked up an Oscar for his special effects in David Cronenberg’s The Fly remake, but he had never directed a film in his life and on his first attempt he had to compete against one of the greatest sci-fi directors of all time. After The Fly 2 arrived, Chris Walas directed an episode of Tales from the Crypt which was quite fairly received and then he returned with The Vagrant (1992) which was a complete disaster area and since this time he has not directed anything further; his special effect appearances have also been low key. To be honest, I think the poor reactions to The Fly 2 really knocked the stuffing out of Chris Walas. Was it really that bad though? With an Oscar to boot from the remake, Walas really had a chance to shine here.
I have to admit, it psychically pains me to view some of the ratings that The Fly 2 has picked up on the big movie sites. I believe that the Rotten Tomatoes rating stands around 27% fresh and on IMDB the general public today rate this film at 4.4/10! I mean come on, it was a fairly decent sequel… what’s the problem? I think I may know the answer to this! Firstly, the critics will always review a sequel in contrast to its predecessor and Chris Walas made the mistake of imitating a great deal of the running themes of the remake. The gore, the romance, the transformation… everything felt copied, without the same passion or raw energy that Cronenberg fused. Many people were angry regarding the mutant dog and the gore was pretty intense when it wanted to be. They needed an actor as refined as Goldblum as well and this just didn’t happen.
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