Lord of the Flies (1990)
Blu-ray/DVD Company: Olive Films
Starring: Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh, Danuel Pipoly, James Badge Dale, Gary Rule, Andrew Taft, Edward Taft, Michael Greene, Bob Peck
Plot: When an aircraft carrying a group of military school cadets is forced to crash land in an uninhabited Pacific jungle, it is survival of the fittest, man against nature, and boy against boy as sides are drawn when the hunters become the hunted.
My Review and Thoughts:
I was so excited when I heard Olive Films was releasing this film on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a film that has never gotten the respect it deserves. I am a huge fan of the book, and the original Black and white movie by the same name from 1963. I grew up with this 1990’s adaption. A brilliant and dark journey into the animalistic ideas, aspects of human nature. An island, a group of kids and the horror of power. This was directed by Harry Hook. A wonderful and often overlooked director. He has a brilliant eye for showcasing an unfolding torment, or drama in his pictures. He has not done a whole lot in the cinema world, but the few he has done, I think stands out, and Lord of the Flies is one of those. Olive Films has lovingly honored this film on a wonderful Blu-ray, and is also being brought out on DVD by them. I am reviewing the Blu-ray and the film has not looked any better. This Blu-ray gives the vibrant colors of the island and nature and amazing new outlet. The cinematography is pure justice with this Blu-ray. The movie as I have stated, has often been overlooked, and so this film needed a new outlet, a new experience for this modern generation, and Olive Films has supplied that.
Now I have to confess. I was a bad boy in school when it came to reading this book. It was one of the books, on our list, that we were to read as a class assignment in High School. I started reading it, but could not get into it, because of the way it was written. The style of words, or objects from a British point of view, confused the hell out of me, so I rented this film. Yes I am a cheat and a bad boy. I watched this 1990’s version first and then, I was able to find the original 1963 version. Many years later after High School, I did read the book and loved it. I have actually read it, 3 times as of this writing. Yes I did ace my book assignment in High School, even if I was naughty.
This was written for the screen and adapted from the book, by the wonderful script writer, who has adapted many wonderful films from books, plays and musicals, Jay Presson Allen. She was able to transcend, the already created idea into a whole new setting, turning the idea into reality, in script form. Her writing and visionary talent to bring words alive, garnered her with Oscar Nominations and awards. Jay Presson Allen sadly is no longer with us, but she has left the cinema world with amazing examples of her written talent. Bringing story’s into script form, was her mastery. From the 1964 classic, Alfred Hitchcock Marnie, to the 1972 musical gem, Cabaret. She had such away with telling a story. Many people don’t realize just how hard it is to turn, an already existing story into a film. Jay was able to adapt from a book, to a musical, and bring the films to life. She not only wrote film, she wrote stage plays and also was a published author. She wrote for TV programs, but it was her ultimate ability to bring characters to life on the big screen, that she is known for. Her script writing of the character, that the beautiful and multi-talented actress, Maggie Smith brought to life in The Prime of Miss Brodie, is a prime example of her written talent through a character. Maggie Smith, won an Oscar for best actress because of this role. Jay was a part of such great’s stories, from Death Trap, Prince of the City, and this one, I am reviewing, Lord of the Flies. I think it’s important to remember all those who go into creating and making a film. The behind the camera, is just as important, as it is in front of the camera.
Lord of the Flies has an amazing colorful beauty. The cinematography is breath taking and has to be honored and enjoyed. The film bleeds, a light heartedness at first, but then spirals into a darker hell. The filming of each shot showcases that slow decline of humanity. The visionary work of the director and of the cinematographer, and all those involved in creating the setup of this story that spirals into the darkness, should be respected. The whole film is beautiful, dark and very deep in the mind set of insanity. What happens when rational thinking no longer matters? What’s happens when power takes hold. What happens when the lust for control transcends the thinking and embarks on the doing? Lord of the Flies happens, or simply put, man’s animalistic nature.
I think what ultimately needs to be said about this film is the wonderful child actors. Many of them had never acted before. Some of them are still acting today. One of the main stars is an actor that I feel has never gotten the credit and main stream push that he deserves. I speak of the wonderful, talented, Balthazar Getty. I feel he is, a much underrated actor that has shined in many wonderful and thought provoking films. From lower class B-movies, to high end films, he owns each of his characters. He always stands out as being a talented master at performance. Lord of the Flies was his first major feature film. Before Lord of the Flies, he had acted in TV, but Lord of the Flies is his first, and what a performance to start with. He brings the character of Ralph into a reality that seems real, and you can feel his pain, torment, and ultimate fear. Getty has gone on to act in some of my favorite films, from the very small part in Natural Born Killers, to the much underrated drama, White Squall, to the visceral nightmarish, David Lynch’s, dark masterpiece, Lost Highway. Whatever he does, from feature film, to TV series, I feel a true sense of reality is brought to his characters. He makes you believe his performances.
Surprising many of those involved with Lord of the Flies no longer act. Chris Furrh who plays one of the very pivotal characters in Lord of the Flies, Jack Merridew, the sadistic leader. Chris shockingly no longer acts. He is on Facebook, and boy, he has a wonderful collection of body tattoos. Chris, in the part of Jack and along with the character of Ralph, the yin and yang set up. Ralph was the good, whereas Jack became, the control, the power, the turning of the crowd, the mob mentality. Both Furrh and Getty played off each other fantastic. The buddy and ultimate love, hate relationship, came full force in this dark experience of humanity; turning to the Darwin style animal that man ultimately is.
One of my favorite characters in this film is the very lovable, explorer and childlike adventurer, Simon, played by the wonderful actor James Badge Dale who still acts to today. I have to mention that this was his very first film and he aced the part with perfection. He has gone on to star in Television and feature films. He played the wonderful character of Chase Edmonds in the FOX action series, 24. He has acted in many films of recently from The Departed, Flight, The Grey, Iron Man 3, World War Z, The Lone Ranger, Parkland, and, as of this writing, scheduled in many upcoming films. Dale gave perfect life to the character of Simon. He was very golden in the role, and made you feel his plight and explorative means and sense of life, freedom, passion.
Each of the characters represent something. Ralph is the effective leader in the good sense of order, but he is ultimately flawed in the sense of taking direct action. Jack is the one that wishes to take direct action, but by means of violence and corruption, and overthrow. Jack is all that is wrong with society. He is the angry, take action without thought, kill, hunt, destroy and control by any means. Simply put, it’s my way or the highway, or say hello to my bombs. Piggy represents the vulnerable parts of society. Piggy to me is the most pivotal character, because he is the idea of reason, and most logical, but is not taken serious, and is the butt of jokes and bullying. Piggy represents the true adult character. He believes in social order. Basically put, Piggy is humanity, or a moment or idea of civilization on the Island. The character of Roger is in reality, the worst of the group. He is the one that wants to harm. Once all notions of civilization are gone, Roger wants to kill, and he ultimately goes about being the force, the thug style character. He is the one when the rules of a society is no-longer present, he is the chaos without order. The character of Simon is everything that is wonderful about life and humanity. He is the positive and peaceful one. He loves, nature, the Island and its beauty. He is the nature lover. The one who experiences the wonder of life and how important it is. Simon is the Jesus Christ character of the story. Simon is truth and innocence. Simon sees his own future and knows, the ultimate outcome of the boys and the aftermath of the Island. The idea and character of The Beast is the notion that society is fearful of the unknown. We throughout the ages have feared or labeled persons wrongly. The Salem witch trials, the Crusades and so on. The Beast represents our non-logical thinking in putting ideas of the Devil and God into the mix of things. The fear inside humankind is a destructive nature. The Beast becomes a godlike ideology where the kids end up leaving an offering to it; such as the pig’s head on a stick. Lord of the Flies is that pig head, the idea of an offering to the Beast, it is the representation of a godlike supernatural malevolence. Lord of the Flies is translated as Beelzebub, which is the contemporary name of the DEVIL. Now the movie differs from the book, as you would guess. Many of the boys are not fleshed out on screen like in the book.
I think what is interesting to note is most all of the other child actors outside of a few performances in the 90’s no longer act. Charlie Newmark, who plays the child character of Will, has acted in TV and film, but as of this writing nothing after 2011. The child character of Tony, played by Brain Matthews, has acted in minor parts. He has gone on to work behind the camera, producing many TV series. Most all of the child actors, came on this movie with no acting performances, and many left with this being there only acting. I think that is also what gives to the film. The natural style setting of the kids. The realism of childhood plays out as they progress into the angry, survival mode.
Now for fans of the book and the 1963 version of the film, you should not go into this 1990’s version and want to see the book transpire on film. The 1990 version differs a lot from the book, but I feel it still captures the point, and also displays it in a more modern setting.
Now the film itself has garnered over the years mixed reviews. Many try and compare it to the original and pick apart what is wrong with it. Many have stated, that the book is outdated. You have to go into this movie with a mindset of psychology, and the reality of human nature. The concept of animal as man. Humankind, is a dark species. We are, or can be monsters. I like the story, because it showcases that the human nature will ultimately conclude into what is savage, or is more rewarding. The character of Ralph and Piggy, are the sane one’s, who hold out. Jack and his crew, have become the dominate ones, caveman like superiority. I don’t want to give the movie away, and I won’t, but after you read it, or watch it, you can see what ultimately would transpire, if it did not end the way it did. Darwin talked about survival of the fittest. Darwin was correct. Man will do, what man sees fit, even if it’s morally wrong.
The colors are vibrant. The audio is crisp to the ears. The movie has never looked any better. The Blu-ray has done the film justice to a new generation. The audio and video are perfect.
Olive Films did a wonderful job in giving this important film a new outlet. The Blu-ray is perfect in video and audio. This is a fantastic Blu-ray to have as part of your collection. It’s a film, that is dark and twisted and reality based. Olive Film's crafted another film, that has been forgotten. Worthy Blu-ray to own, collect and share. I highly recommend this movie and I highly recommend this Disc.
It will be released on April 28th 2015.
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