Lord of the Flies – Movie Review

Lord of the Flies Movie Poster

Lord of the Flies

Synopsis: Lost of an island, young survivors of a plane crash eventually revert to savagery despite the few rational boys’ attempts to prevent that.

Warning: This movie review contains spoilers.

Older and Wiser

My initial plan was to watch the 90’s version of the Lord of the Flies movie. Yes, I was being movie ageist. That mistake became apparent within the first 10 minutes of watching the movie. Anyone who has actually read Lord of the Flies would feel the same. How’s this for an opening scene? A boy grabs the pilot by his hair and drags him to the surface. A raft magically appears. The boys ride in the raft to the island. As they arrive on the island, they drag the nearly unconscious pilot who whispers for water. When the sound of the shell brings the first assembly, Jack happily accepts the election of Ralph as chief. There is no bitter sting of defeat.

WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?! The election of Ralph as chief over Jack is the catalyst of everything else that occurs in the story. If the adaptation screws that up, the rest of the movie doesn’t stand a chance.

After that scene I had to turn off the movie and give the black and white adaptation a chance. I thought the newer movie would be better. I was obviously wrong. So … Heed my warning students who have been assigned to read Lord of the Flies! If you plan to watch the movie instead of reading the book, watch the 1963 Lord of the Flies movie. Maybe you can squeak out a C- on that book report.

No Screenplay Needed

This may be the first adaptation where I took the least amount of notes. The movie did that good of a job interpreting the book. This is most likely because they used the book as the screenplay. No wonder the dialogue was so spot on! I can count on one hand the parts of Lord of the Flies that weren’t adapted to my liking, which is probably me being nitpicky.

I wanted to hear the Lord of the Flies speaking to Simon. Watching him stare at the pig’s head for 5 minutes didn’t work. Maybe the director thought the voice over would be too much heavy-handed symbolism. I thought Piggy’s death was not as powerful and impactful as it was in the novel. Perhaps the scene may have been too graphic for the era in which the movie was filmed. Also, the movie’s end did not stick the landing. Although, Percival crying because he couldn’t remember his name was a good touch.

Overall Opinion

The 1963 Lord of the Flies movie wasn’t terrible. It also wasn’t amazing. The source material wasn’t amazing to me, so I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by the adaptation. However, as an adaptation, Lord of the Flies is excellent, even with my little gripes. Rating: Theater Popcorn with Extra Butter

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