Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Dougray Scott, Tom Skerritt, Cas Anvar, Ellen David
Directed by Paolo Barzman
Distributed by Genius Products
"Shockingly frightening and clever!" "Feverishly frightening from start to finish!" Yep, those are two quotes on the box art for this latest film version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic tale, and I really have to wonder ... Did I just watch the same movie as those two people? Frightening? Clever? Seriously? I was bored stiff. Talk about different strokes. In any event, let's get on with it.
Dr. Jekyll (Scott) unwittingly unleashes his murderous dark side while experimenting on himself. Every morning he wakes up with some form of evidence that he has killed the night before. Normally a straight-laced and kind gentleman, Jekyll is overwhelmingly guilt stricken and decides to seek counsel before turning himself in. He just wants to get things over with, ya know? I feel his pain! At around the halfway point the film turns into nothing more than a courtroom drama with some strange things going on. Joy. It should be noted that this is a made-for-TV feature, and an extremely well done one in terms of the standards for such fare, but overall it lacks any real bite.
In fact, the only really good thing I can say about it ... the only thing that kept me watching ... is the stellar performance turned in by Dougray Scott. This dude really brought it in terms of the emotional factor, but even that wasn't enough to elevate this version of Jekyll and Hyde from the grip of extreme been there/done that mediocrity. And while I'm on the bad stuff, let me say this: I have had it with all these Jekyll and Hyde movies that do not feature at least some form of a different looking Hyde. I don't care what it is -- fangs, more hair, claws, a hook-nose -- just give us something other than having your lead actor scowl a lot and walk with a swagger when he's portraying his alter-ego. This has been done to death already, and I'm so very sick of it. When Jekyll transforms, all we get are slightly glowing eyes and some weird forehead veins for about a tenth of a second before he's nothing more than just a normal looking, slightly more cocky version of himself. Why even bother?
In terms of extras, all that's here is an interview with Scott that lasts about fifteen minutes. While it's interesting to learn how this wonderful actor geared himself up for the part, it seems unnecessary. It's good to not phone in a performance, but in this case I don't think it would have mattered much.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a tale that's been told, and retold, and then told again for the last one hundred years. It's too bad filmmakers lost the recipe for a successful translation decades ago. Do yourself a favor; watch the 1931 or 1941 version instead.
2 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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