David Cronenberg’s reimagining of a cornerstone science fiction film managed to become one of the best in both his own and Goldblum’s filmographies.
Cast as Seth Brundle, a gifted scientist whose hubris is his undoing, Goldblum’s disturbing performance has haunted viewers for generations. The film’s body horror and scene-after-scene dread of a sweaty, nearly-naked Goldblum grappling with the aftermath of the mistaken combination of his DNA with that of a common housefly isn’t easily forgotten — which, ultimately, is what everyone film should strive for.
While this Goldblum classic is far darker than light-hearted excursions through dino parks and the eighth dimension, it cannot be overstated how effectively he has brought this bizarre role to life. Even if this life is a sickening half-human, half-flying affront to nature.
“[Goldblum] brings his unique charm to the film. Brundle is simultaneously awkward and endearing, whether he’s explaining why he wears the exact same outfit every day (he got the idea from Einstein) or waxing lyrical about teaching his computer to “get mad by the flesh,” wrote the blog Little White Lies praising the film on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. “He’s all ego at first, enjoying his newfound athleticism and strength. Because this is the ’80s, he brags about gymnastics and arm wrestling. Then, as he slowly transforms into what he calls the ‘Brundlefly’, he spirals through horror, disgust, denial, attempts to heal himself, and acceptance before finally taking a violent turn for the film’s final act takes.”