The Island of Dr. Moreau

Critics Consensus

The Island of Dr. Moreau takes a reasonably entertaining pass at adapting its classic source material, although key scenes are let down by struggles with special effects.

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

40%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,513

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Movie Info

After his ship sinks, Andrew Braddock (Michael York) washes ashore on a tropical island owned by Dr. Moreau (Burt Lancaster). While waiting for a ship to return him to civilization, Braddock becomes disturbed by the strange creatures roaming the island, and at the same time falls for the lovely Maria (Barbara Carrera), who lives with Moreau. Soon Braddock discovers that the creatures are the results of Moreau's sinister experiments, and plots to escape before he himself becomes a victim.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Island of Dr. Moreau

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (11)

  • Lancaster, despite his ungodly ideas, is given some resonance as a man who thinks his demented work is for the betterment of the human race. York gives one of his best performances, and Barbara Carrera's enigmatic beauty is evocatively treated.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Only Michael York's metamorphosis into a beast has any impact, and the film predictably fails to follow through even on that.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    David Pirie

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The performers display a kind of disciplined intelligence that keeps them from bursting through the style of the film into comic limbo.

    May 9, 2005 | Full Review…
  • It scared the hell out of me and I loved it.

    October 22, 2019 | Full Review…
  • This adaptation features moments that are truly unsettling, which is one of the few achievements of this type of cinema. Burt Lancaster is convincing in his role of the complex Dr. Moreau. [Full Review in Spanish]

    July 26, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A couple of unnecessary narrative additions aside, The Island of Doctor Moreau is a well-made adaptation of an important sci-fi novel.

    September 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Island of Dr. Moreau

  • Sep 06, 2010
    This movie does have some good creepiness, but overall, the story and acting aren't very good, and the movie is pretty bad. I recommend seeing the 30s version instead.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2009
    I struggled with this and varous other remakes. I was never sure of the overall message it was trying to put out. I might have missed it but there you go.
    Barry L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2009
    Enjoyable but dated with that distinctive 70's aura. Michael York seems perfectly cast as a shipwreck survivor who stumbles upon Dr. Moreau (Burt Lancaster) and his little island of horrors.
    Randy T Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2008
    Being of my generation, I first saw Michael York as Austin Powers' boss. Seems in the 70s he was quite the adventure/scifi hunk, as Logan's Run is still fresh in my mind. Here in this movie, he is touch and go with his acting, and the critical transformation scene(s) were noticeably underwhelming and amateurish. I can't compare this to the book or the 1996 film as I haven't read/seen them in a while, and I can't contrast it to Island of Lost Souls as I haven't seen that version yet. I love the Dr. Moreau story, and it would seem a simple translation to film in terms of choosing story elements, but the plotting of this feels very forced and as unnatural as the doctor's animal-people. The story is one that addresses many philosophical issues in an astute manner, but this movie's dialogue and plot elements do not reflect these issues, as the movie is devoid of subtext. The most wasted role is that of Maria, as her character's interesting development (which is a plot whopper in the book) is completely left out. The makeup is amazing with the exception of the halfish job done on York. I think the creatures' eyes could have been somehow modified to be better, as I've found some of the most terrifying images in my subconscious are that of frenzied animalistic eyes with a distinctly human awareness in it, and it's the only reason I've been scared by the occasional werewolf or vampire costume design. There is pretty minimal blood in this, but a lot of questionable animal handling practices and loud growls. Many peg this movie as horror, but it is distinctly adventure scifi, and if it scares, that is because the underlying premise of the Dr. Moreau story is a looking glass. It is a fun adventure scifi, and if you like the story, you must see this. If you are new to the Moreau story, I'd suggest starting with the book.
    _kelly . Super Reviewer

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