The Risky Biz Blog is reporting that Canadian director David Cronenberg is set to remake his own 1986 film The Fly. Cronenberg’s original version of The Fly was itself a remake of a 1958 film of the same name.
The 1986 Fly starred Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, and was arguably Cronenberg’s breakout movie. The film still holds up very well as not only a sci-fi horror film, but also as a great character piece. So naturally this begs the question: Why remake it then?
Well, there are a few arguments that can be made for a remake. The Fly is probably close to Cronenberg’s heart, having essentially launched his career as an international filmmaker. His involvement in a remake ensures that we won’t get a shoddy “contemporary re-imagining” directed by the likes of Brett Ratner or Paul W.S. Anderson. Cronenberg wouldn’t be the first director to do this, Ridley Scott‘s Alien prequel/remake jumps to mind.
Another argument, and one that the Risky Biz Blog makes, has to do with special effects. Cronenberg’s original Fly had amazing (and Academy Award winning) practical and makeup effects that were ahead of their time; like the film, the special effects still hold up fairly well. Part of what makes all of Cronenberg’s films interesting and convincingly real is his use of these practical effects. Though it still remains to be seen if he’ll employ extensive computer generated effects in his remake of The Fly, maybe the fact that CG technology can now supposedly accomplish things that practical effects cannot has Cronenberg intrigued. Personally, I’d still prefer to see him use practical effects; but if you thought he came up with before was twisted, just wait until the guy figures out what is possible to do with CG. Keep this man away from the computer!
Then there’s the matter of the always compelling subtext present in all of Cronenberg’s films. Many critics and academics view the 1986 Fly as having strong allusions to the AIDS epidemic, while Cronenberg himself has stated that was not his intention, saying the film is actually about the finite nature of life. Whatever you read into the 1986 version, I’m sure Cronenberg will come up with something thought provoking and/or psychosexual for us to chew on in his remake. The more cyber-penis hands the better, I say.
If Hollywood is going to continue to remake classic genre films like The Fly and Alien, I’d much rather see their original creators take another stab at the material, and not hacks like Ratner and Anderson. To me remaking The Fly seems unnecessary, but if Cronenberg thinks he can bring something new to the table, I’m inclined to believe him and enjoy the results.