Island of Dr. Moreau, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1

This century-old H.G. Wells novel has been resurrected as a present-day thriller. Edward Douglas (David Thewlis) survives a plane crash and is rescued by Montgomery (Val Kilmer), sailing on a ship with a cargo of animals. They dock at a remote island, where Douglas discovers he's being held captive. Montgomery serves Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Dr. Moreau (Marlon Brando), an outcast scientist performing outrageous experiments. He hopes to create a race of people free of evil impulses by fusing human genes with those of animals. Moreau rules over the offspring of his experiments, beast people who call him "father" and must obey his laws. One creature discovers the source of Moreau's "power," an electronic implant that can inflict pain. Eventually Moreau loses control over his subjects. Brando's mad scientist is frequently comical, and although that may be intentional it's inconsistent with the film's mostly serious nature. On the surface it could be viewed as a thought-provoking warning about man playing God. But the film-makers seem more interested in presenting a violent and disgusting freak show with weird animals than any knowledgeable discourse. Consequently, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU may appeal mostly to horror movie buffs.

Although Moreau sets himself up as a deity and attempts to civilize his creations, their savage tendencies eventually surface. One creature violates the law by killing a small animal, and another undermines Moreau's authority by executing this offender. When the beast-men fight back, several men are attacked, shot and killed. A hanging, fires and explosions and a gun battle also result. The creatures resemble humans but with fur and other animalistic features. There is breast nudity with a few female creatures. A small, deformed man is shown completely nude, but he doesn't appear to have genitals. The film has no crude or obscene language and just two regular profanities. Moreau's religious beliefs are distorted, and he appears to be an atheist who uses Biblical quotes as a convenient weapon to fight back when he's criticized - "judge not, lest ye be judged," for example. The doctor never states a belief in God and claims that the devil is just a part of human nature, a collection of genes that he can tear apart. Eventually, Dr. Moreau and his misguided ambitions are overcome. The occasionally excessive violence should compel you to steer clear of this ISLAND.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 2 (C 1, G 1), Exclamatory 7

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (rabbit's neck snapped; creatures shot; creature tears implant out of his body; man attacked and killed; fires and explosions; woman hung; man abducted; gun battle with multiple shootings; creature walks into burning building to commit suicide)

Sex: None

Nudity: Few times - Female creature breast nudity; deformed creature totally nude, doesn't appear to have genitals

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Smoking, one cigarette may contain marijuana; alcohol drinking

Other: Scientist claims Satan is only part of human nature, uses Biblical quotes (Matthew 7:1, John 8:7) to counteract criticism; grisly birth of creature shown

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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