(out of 5)
John Frankenheimer’s adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel is full of exciting action and exotic locales, but lacks any depth or charisma. David Thewlis is excellent as a shipwreck survivor who lands on a mysterious island only to discover that the crazed scientist who runs it (Marlon Brando) is doing experiments that splice human genes with those of animals. Befriending Brando’s daughter (Fairuza Balk), Thewlis eventually discovers that Dr. Moreau is a power-hungry tyrant who uses this fascinating race of half-breeds as slaves for his private world. Makeup design by Stan Winston is so brilliant you might forgive the film’s drawbacks, but by the time you reach the silly ending you’ll have no doubt that you’ve watched a pretty brainless film.
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Cinematography by William A. Fraker
Music by Laurence Rosenthal
Production Design by Philip M. Jefferies
Costume Design by Richard La Motte
Film Editing by Marion Rothman