The Fly II
|The Fly II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Walas|
|Produced by||Steven-Charles Jaffe
Mel Brooks (uncredited)
|Screenplay by||Mick Garris
by George Langelaan
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Editing by||Sean Barton|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||105 minutes|
The Fly II is a 1989 science fiction horror film starring Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga. It was directed by Chris Walas as a sequel to the 1986 Academy Award-winning film The Fly, itself a remake of the 1958 film of the same name. Stoltz's character in this sequel is the adult son of Seth Brundle, the scientist-turned-'Brundlefly', played by Jeff Goldblum in the 1986 remake. With the exception of a few videotaped scenes of Goldblum that were unused from the first film, John Getz was the only actor to reprise his role.
Several months after the events of The Fly, Veronica Quaife is about to deliver the child she had conceived with scientist Seth Brundle. Antonius Bartok, owner of Bartok Industries (the company which financed Brundle's teleportation experiments), oversees the labor, as does her ex-boyfriend Stathis Borans, who is concerned about the complications, but Bartok says he will take responsibility for whatever happens. After giving birth to a larval sac, Veronica dies from acute shock. Immediately afterwards the larva opens to show a healthy baby boy. The orphaned child, named Martin Brundle, is taken into Bartok's care. Bartok is fully aware of the teleportation accident which genetically merged Seth Brundle with a housefly, which caused him to mutate into a human/insect hybrid, a condition that Martin has inherited from him, and he secretly plans to exploit Martin's unique condition.
Martin grows up in a clinical environment, and is constantly subjected to studies and tests by compassionless scientists. His physical development is quickly accelerated as a result of his mutant genes, but he also possesses a genius-level intellect, photographic memory, incredible reflexes, and little need for sleep. He knows that he is aging faster than a normal human, but Bartok has not revealed the teleportation accident, instead saying that his condition is a rare disease only his father had which causes rapid aging. As Martin grows, Bartok befriends him and assumes position as Martin's adoptive father, amusing him with magic tricks, and tells him that a "magic word" needs to be a secret word that can never be confided to anyone or else it would spoil the magical effect. When Martin is three years old, he has physically aged into a child of around ten. He uses his skills to gain access to restricted areas of the Bartok complex, away from his quarters. One night, he finds a room full of laboratory animal test subjects, where he befriends a Golden Retriever. The next night, he sneaks out again to bring the dog some of his dinner, only to find the animal has been transferred to Bay 17. Martin then makes his way into an observation booth overlooking the Bay, where Seth Brundle's two surviving Telepods are kept. Bartok's scientists are attempting to replicate Brundle's experiments, and are using the golden retriever as a test subject. The teleportation attempt fails, with the dog managing to be teleported alive but horribly deformed. The mutated animal attacks and maims one of the scientists, and young Martin is horrified by the spectacle, gaining a fear over the telepods.
Two years later, Martin's body has physically matured to that of a twenty-five year old adult, and his intellect has grown perhaps even faster. On his fifth birthday, Bartok presents Martin with a bungalow on the Bartok facility's property, with the assurance that he can live like a normal human being now as there are no security guards, scientists or secret cameras in his home. In the past five years, Bartok and his scientists have not made any progress in getting them to work successfully again after they were damaged on the night Seth Brundle died, and that the secret to make the telepods function properly died with him. Bartok expresses his hope that Martin will be able to finish what his father started. Martin declines, stating his fear over the telepods on account of what happened in the dog experiment. Bartok apologizes for the dog, stating that the animal was quickly put out of its misery shortly after the failed teleportation experiment. Martin reconsiders the telepod experiment after Bartok presents him with videotapes detailing Seth's notes. After seeing his father speak, Martin decides that the telepods could have great potential for the world. Martin successfully teleports an office phone in the telepods, so he gets closer to realizing the problem is with living things.
As he begins work on the Telepods, Martin befriends Bartok employee Beth Logan. They grow closer as Martin tries to get the Telepods to function correctly. Eventually, Beth invites Martin to a party at Bartok's specimens division. Breaking away from the party, Martin discovers that Bartok lied to him; the mutated dog that Bartok had claimed was put out of its misery after the experiment has actually been kept alive as a specimen since. He runs out of the party and later sneaks down to the animal's holding pen. The deformed dog, in terrible pain, still remembers Martin, who ends its misery by euthanizing it with chloroform. Beth says she had no knowledge of the dog, but Martin angrily tells her to leave him alone. The next day, Bartok asks if Martin is aware of the break-in at the specimen pit. Martin coldly says "No," and Bartok smiles (realizing Martin is lying) as he states that Martin is finally growing up.
Martin starts realizing more of his emotions as he sends Beth a rose and apologizes for his angry outburst. In a scene that is similar to his father's eureka moment, Martin and Beth engage in social activities such as dancing and Beth showing Martin how to cast a fishing lure. Martin finally realizes the mistake made; the Bartok scientists were looking at the telepod problem as cold scientific facts whereas the telepod computer systems needed an artistic, creative view to successfully transport living things. Martin shows Beth a successful teleportation of a kitten without harm, to which he gives to Beth as a pet. Beth and Martin become lovers, and consummate their relationship in his bungalow. However, after the chief of security makes a crude joke to Martin about sex with Beth, Martin realizes Bartok lied to him about spying on his residence. Martin also learns the horrible truth of his father's fate, his own biology, and of a possible cure to his condition. Unfortunately, the cure, which involves swapping out Martin's insect genes for healthy human genes, requires the sacrifice of another human being, who will in turn suffer a grotesque genetic fate. By this time, Martin's dormant insect genes are awakened by his physical maturity, and the signs of his transformation into a man-fly hybrid have begun. Martin escapes from Bartok Industries after Bartok reveals his plans—he intends to use Martin's unique biology as the model for a new method of genetic engineering that Bartok believes the Telepods can provide, which he says in turn will help him alter the morphology of all life on Earth. Although Martin had successfully repaired the Telepods, Bartok is unable to use them, as Martin has installed a password which cannot be bypassed, as well as a Trojan horse that if the wrong "magic word" is entered, all records of programming will be expunged. Bartok then realizes that he taught the younger Martin too well, and that they will never figure out the password without Martin.
Martin and Beth flee and go on the run. They visit Veronica Quaife's old confidant, Stathis Borans, who is now a reclusive, embittered drunk as a result of Veronica's death. Borans confirms for Martin that the Telepods are his only chance for a cure. Borans gives Beth his Jeep to throw Bartok's security off the track. As they are driving, Martin reveals that the cure is too expensive as he cannot bring himself to make another human being sacrifice themselves for his sake. They check into a motel, but Martin's physical and emotional changes become too much for Beth to handle, and she surrenders them both to Bartok in desperation. Before Martin becomes fully enveloped within a cocoon, Bartok tries to get him to reveal the password, but Martin is too weak from his metamophizing to share anything of value. As Martin enters the final stages of his transformation, Beth is brought to Bay 17, where Bartok interrogates her about the "magic word." Meanwhile, the fully transformed "Martinfly" emerges from his cocoon and ruthlessly stalks and kills the scientists and security guards who try to subdue him, as well as taking revenge on his betrayers, as he seeks a healthy human donor to swap genes with. Despite the brutal methods he uses to eliminate the security team dispatched to recapture him, a trace of Martin's former humanity remains, as demonstrated when a rottweiler has been deployed after him, Martin simply pets the dog and refuses to harm it. Bartok orders Bay 17 locked down, but Martinfly breaks in, killing Bartok's bodyguard as well as the crude chief of security, who attempts to eliminate Martinfly despite Bartok's implicit orders that Martinfly is to be captured but not killed. Bartok then uses a pistol to subdue Martinfly. Martin keels over in pain, but grabs Bartok as he only feigned his apparent wounding to deceive Bartok.
With Bartok in his grip, Martinfly uses the "magic word" (revealed to be "DAD"), and forces himself and Bartok into Telepod 1, gesturing for Beth to activate the gene-swapping sequence. Right as this is happening, the remnant of the security force has cut into the sealed door and has the telepods surrounded. Despite Bartok's pleas for mercy, Beth activates the sequence, and when the two are reintegrated in the receiving pod. The security forces and a tearful Beth are shocked to see a hideous mutant emerge from the telepod, but then Martin also comes through, speaking to Beth in a clear voice that he is unharmed and the fly genes have been purged from his body. In an ironic final scene, the emotionally robotic scientists place their mutated boss in the same specimen pit he had kept the mutated dog, where he is now forced to live as a subject of scientific curiosity.
- Eric Stoltz as Martin Brundle
- Daphne Zuniga as Beth Logan
- Lee Richardson as Antonius Bartok
- John Getz as Stathis Borans
- Frank C. Turner as Shepard
- Ann Marie Lee as Jainway
- Garry Chalk as Scorby
- Jerry Wasserman as Simms
- Lorena Gale as Woman
- Saffron Henderson as Veronica Quaife (uncredited)
- Jeff Goldblum (uncredited archive footage) as Seth Brundle
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (October 2011)|
As with the first film, special makeup and creature effects were provided by Chris Walas, Inc. As opposed to Seth Brundle's diseased deterioration into "Brundlefly", in The Fly II, Martin's metamorphosis is much more of a natural evolution (as a result of the fact that Martin was already born with human-insect hybrid genes instead of being accidentally fused with a fly the way his father was).
Here is a breakdown of Martin Brundle's transformation into the creature dubbed "Martinfly" by the CWI crew (behind-the-scenes information is in italics).
- STAGE 1 (on view in the scenes where Martin confronts Dr. Shepard and then attempts to telephone Beth Logan): Martin's face is slightly discolored, and he's looking haggard. Worse, a bizarre cavity in his left arm has appeared, and sticky, web-like threads are being excreted from it. Eric Stoltz's face was subtly discolored with makeup, and a gelatin makeup appliance was affixed to his left arm. The webbing coming out of Martin's arm was made from Halloween-style decorative spider-webbing.
- STAGE 1-A (on view when Martin views the various Bartok surveillance tapes, and when he subsequently escapes from the Bartok complex): Martin is looking even more haggard, and the skin beneath his eyes is puffy. This is an accentuated version of the Stage 1 makeup, with gelatin eyebags added under Stoltz's eyes.
- STAGE 2 (on view when Martin talks to Beth inside her houseboat, as well as in the deleted "Stopping for Food" scene which can be seen on the 2005 The Fly II: Collector's Edition DVD): Martin's bone structure has started to shift, and his face is rapidly becoming deformed. Gelatin appliances were added to Stoltz's face to give the impression that Martin's brow and cheekbones were becoming distorted.
- STAGE 3 (on view when Martin and Beth visit Stathis Borans, as well as when they arrive at the motel): Martin's entire head is deformed, his hairline is receding, and his voice is deepening. Also, the stringy white webbing is being excreted from his face now. Gelatin makeup appliances were added to Stoltz's entire head, and his voice was artificially lowered in post-production.
- STAGE 4 (on view inside the motel, and when Bartok arrives to retrieve Martin): Martin (his voice now even deeper) has begun to instinctively pull the webbing out of his own body and wrap it around himself. As it hardens, the webbing begins to form a cocoon. At this point, Martin's legs have been enveloped by said cocoon. Now that Martin is no longer wearing clothes, a hideous assortment of lumps and bumps can be seen on his discolored body, his face and head are even more distorted, and his teeth and ears are receding. Some of his fingers are webbed together with flaps of skin, and claws are growing on his knuckles. Martin removes his human right eye in this stage to reveal an orange insect eye behind it. The most complex makeup, this stage took some 12 hours to apply to Eric Stoltz, and he was required to remain immobile on the motel couch (with his legs inside the partial cocoon) all that time, as well as during the additional hours of filming that immediately followed. Body makeup and gelatin bumps were added to Stoltz's arms and torso, in addition to the makeup appliances covering his face and head.
Soon, Martin is fully enveloped by the cocoon (which begins as slightly transparent, with the next stage becoming opaque and iridescent). The scene featuring Bartok talking to the cocooned Martin involved a Martin rod puppet—transformed from the waist-down—being operated inside a transparent composite cocoon that was filled with water.
After a brief gestation period, the final "Martinfly" creature is revealed when it bursts out of the cocoon and goes on a rampage around the Bartok complex. The iridescent creature has four arms (the top pair featuring two large, clawed digits, and the other pair having four webbed digits), two digitigrade legs, and its green body is covered with insect hairs. Martinfly is also tall and slender, with a segmented torso. Its head has piercing, orange insect eyes (with pupils), distorted nostrils, and two flexible mandibles with sharp teeth covering a mouth full of even more teeth. The interior of the creature's mouth contains a pseudo-proboscis, which can spray corrosive enzymes at high velocity. Whereas the Brundlefly creature in the first film was deformed and sickly-looking, Martinfly posses better symmetry and is very strong, very fast, and very deadly. The final Martinfly creature was created as a series of cable-controlled and rod-operated puppets.
The Fly II fared well in the box office making $20,021,322 at the US box office and a further $18,881,857 worldwide, but reviews were negative. Many believe that Walas (who was the special effects engineer for the Oscar-winning make-up and creature effects in the first film) set out to repeat the success of the original by relying more on heavy gore and violence than on plot and atmosphere. However, it is appreciated by many fans of the horror genre for its great visual impact. Walas has stated that the film was designed to be much more of a traditional (albeit gory) monster movie than Cronenberg's horror/tragic love film.
The scene of a character's head being crushed by an elevator aroused some controversy with the MPAA: they originally gave the film an "X" rating due to its graphic nature. Ultimately Chris Walas was able to gain a more audience friendly "R" rating after reediting the sequence. The VHS and DVD versions retain the full scene.
The film received a certain amount of backlash regarding the 'mutant' dog, in particular, the scene where Martin mercifully euthanizes the dog, which is hideously deformed and kept in a large observation room. Many viewers were disturbed by the dog's appearance and sad fate as mentioned by Chris Walas in the documentary for the Special Edition DVD. He said the audience would feel more sympathy for a mutated animal than a human.
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (November 2011)|
The following are events related to film production:
- An early treatment for a sequel to The Fly, written by Tim Lucas, involved Veronica Quaife dealing with the evils of the Bartok company. Seth Brundle's consciousness had somehow survived within the Telepod computer, and the Bartok scientists had enslaved him and were using him to develop the system for cloning purposes. Brundle becomes able to communicate with Veronica through the computer, and he eventually takes control of the Bartok complex's security systems to gruesomely attack the villains. Eventually, Veronica frees Brundle by conspiring with him to reintegrate a non-contaminated version of his original body. David Cronenberg endorsed this concept at the time. Geena Davis was open to doing a sequel (and only pulled out of Fly II because her character was to be killed in the opening scene), while Goldblum was not (although he was okay with a cameo), and this treatment reflects that. However, a later treatment written by Jim and Ken Wheat was used as the basis for the final script, written by Frank Darabont. Mick Garris also wrote a treatment, with elements incorporated into the final film.
- The first videotape of Seth Brundle is actually part of a deleted scene from the first film (with Geena Davis' dialogue redubbed by Saffron Henderson, who played Veronica Quaife at the beginning of the sequel).
- The film contains a subtle reference to David Cronenberg, writer-director of the previous film. In an early scene where Martin sneaks out of his room to explore the Bartok Industries facility, a guard is seen asleep at his post, and resting on the desk in front of him is a copy of The Shape of Rage, a book which discusses the films of David Cronenberg (and the book's cover features a photo of Cronenberg himself).
- The script for The Fly II explained that Stathis Borans lived in such a fancy home because he had taken hush money from Bartok (and had been told that Brundle's baby died in childbirth along with Veronica), but this was never mentioned on-screen. In an early treatment for The Fly II, it was revealed that the Telepods were not working because Stathis had taken the computer's information storage discs (which contained the Telepods' programming) before Bartok took possession of the pods. However, this detail was dropped from the final film, and it is left unclear as to why the Telepods suddenly aren't working at the beginning of the sequel.
- Chris Walas mentioned on the DVD documentary that he was very displeased with the marketing of the film as he warned them not to use the "Like Father, Like Son" tagline as it sounded too "corny." The marketing executives still went ahead with the tagline. Producer Steven Charles-Jaffe says that he hates the marketing process as it could kill a movie with too much hype.
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