[opening lines] Our plane crashed in the endless southern Pacific, and we drifted for days between life and death. On the sixth or seventh day, the two men who had survived with me began to fight over the last canteen of water. They fought like beasts, not men. I fought for my life, just as savagely as they did.
[closing lines] This is a true record of what I saw. I set it down only leaving out the longitude and latitude of the island, as a warning to all who would follow in Moreau's footsteps. Most times, I keep the memory far in the back of my mind, a distant cloud. But there are times when the little cloud spreads, until it obscures the sky. At those times, I look about me at my fellow men and am reminded of some likeness to the beast-people. And I feel as though the animal is surging up in them, and they are neither wholly animal nor wholly man, but an unstable combination of both. As unstable as anything Moreau created. And I go... in fear.
I have seen the devil in my microscope, and I have chained him. I suppose you could say, in the sense metaphorically speaking, I've cut him to pieces.
I have almost achieved perfection, you see, of a divine creature that is pure, harmonious, absolutely incapable of any malice. And if in my tinkering I have fallen short of the human form by the snout, claw or hoof, it really is of no great importance. I am closer than you could possibly imagine, sir.
It is a hard way, the way of being a man. Sooner or later we all want a thing that is bad. To walk on all fours. To suck up drink from a stream. To jabber, instead of saying the words. To go snuffling at the earth, and to claw on the bark of trees. To eat flesh, or fish. To make love to more than one, every which way. These are all bad things. These are not the things that men do. But we are men, are we not? We are men because the Father has made us men!
[After Douglas offers to find a way to stop the regression to animals] No. No more scientists, no more laboratories, no more experiments. I thought you would be able to understand that. We have to be what we are, not what the Father tried to make us. To go on two legs... is very hard. Perhaps four is better, anyway.
The truth of the matter is The Island tends to come around every time the Planet of the Apes films come back in business. And it’s the grandfather of all kinds of movies, including Jurassic Park. But the original remains a tough nut to crack – mostly because of its themes, which could never be properly explored in a family movie. At its core it has a Darwinist message, which is at odds with the regular American summer movies, and its view of the impossibility of creating a utopian society is a little dark, even for science-fiction.
The one part that’s become very clear to me is that Moreau’s going to be funded by corporate money, rather than being an isolated, obsessive individual. The issue of the beast people being property – that they’re essentially a copyright of the company that’s made them, and aren’t free to have their own lives – amused me.