Monday, April 1, 2013

Wretched, Wretched Movie: Coyote's Lord of the Flies Film Review

File:Lord of the flies poster.jpg

Today in psych class, I sat through the 1990 Lord of the Flies.  Which I suppose I would rather do than have an enema, though an enema would be quicker.  I am supposed to write a two-page paper on the piece, drawing on aspects in psych for reference.  Toward this goal, I took my usual careful notes:

Close-up on unconscious blonde boy drowning, saved by darker haired boy.  Blonde must be the villain later.  Likely kill the other kid or try to.

Movie - kids are from military school, nothing peaceful or upper class.  Highly authoritarian, war-oriented background, corporal punishment and disdain for "weakness" already instilled.

Mid-teens = adolescence.  see p.61.

Chain of command maintained. "Sir."  Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Water, then food.  Safety?

Conch trumpet - keeping old social signals alive.  Everything is a pissing contest.  Darker haired boy is Colonel.  Trying to keep things positive, but everything is a bloody confrontation.

Group looked to the Captain - then wanted more rules, and a leader.  Colonel: "It doesn't matter who's in charge."  He'll get turned on: too sane for the plot.  All immediately chose someone to pick on: the FNG is the smart one, so chose him.  Total outsider: new, smart, and not a total waste of flesh.  Contributes helpfully to every discussion he can.  Can't have that.

Use military exercises and chants as bonding and identification.  The smart one immediately called "Piggy," bullied by everyone.

Fire dance supposed to be creepy (music + cinematography).  Apparently the director fears primitivism.  Then horrible out-of-control fire because they didn't listen to the smart one ("Piggy").

Contemptible little vermin, constantly vying for dominance.

The Blonde doesn't want rescue ("Jack" - figures.  At least he isn't "Murdock" or "Lucien.")

All horrible male stereotypes are worshiped here.  Assembly is still obeyed.

Problem of law.  Thieves.  Demerits?  They have spent their lives being disciplined, thus not gaining any discipline.

Blonde Jack starts gathering followers and looking constipated in all his close-ups.  Called it.  Cruelty - one of his followers killed a pet.  Plans to kill the Captain (token adult taken ill).  He flees in the night.  Clothes found.  Jack painting faces with pig blood gives him authority.  No meat yet.

Chopper went by, but fire was out.  The worst of them go with Jack.  War is inevitable.

They relight the fire.  How is the smart one staying overweight through all this?  What's he doing, eating the script?

A hunter finds a cave, kills the Captain.  ("MONSTER!")  As usual, it's a pissing contest.  Jack's the last, but they all run.

Jeez, why not just take us to the monkey exhibit?  Oh, right, because monkeys are smarter than this.

Jacks takes fire from the other group, tells them about the Beast.  Demands the knife, but no.  Takes it by force, breaks the smart one's glasses.  I hate this movie.

Ceremonial pig hunt is also supposed to be scary.  Writer / director afraid of tribal too?  Dissonant music.

The smart one is the only smart one.  Twins in denial.

Hysteria, whippings.  Problem from Jack's childhood.  He was raised like this.  He uses fear of the Monster to hold his tribe together.  Idiots.

Storm - need for more shelter.

The smart one goes around, gathering people together after.  Shows how the storm gives access to fruit.

Aaaaaand now the tribe is terrorizing the smart one and stealing his glasses to make fire.  The smart one wishes Jack was dead.  

I hate this movie.

Smart one: "We did everything like the grown-ups.  Why didn't it work?"  Yeah.  So did they.

More pissing matches.  The smart one is talking sense, so he'll have to die if this is going to keep being dark - yeah, there we go.  No shock.

So does Colonel Ralph become the monster?  Probably.  Flies in the pig head.  Bet that actually meant something in the book.

The youngest ones are 10.  See developmental stages.

Jack's tribe chase Ralph with fire, hunting him down to kill him.  Called it again.  The twins are the only ones who resist, however passively.  At age 10.  Oh, look: rescue military.  "What're you guys doing?"  And none of them know.

Oh, now you're crying.  

Finally over.  Like a kidney stone, lo, it has passed.

There are ways that a student, if they take notes regularly, can get paid a small stipend to share their notes with disabled classmates.  This is a highly valuable program and an opportunity to help out others.  I have never been accepted into that program, however.  Probably my fancy handwriting.  It isn't for everyone.

Ultimately, I do not recommend this movie, and I could wish I'd never seen it.  As I understand it, the book was meant to challenge the reader, asking what the meaning of civilization really was.  There is also a blurb that says that evil is in the nature of every human, especially children.  Yet throughout the film, every character in the movie does exactly what he was taught to do.  The trappings change, but that's all.

Cloth uniforms are traded in for body paint.  Corporal punishment stays, and follows Jack's extremism - the movie makes it clear he had a criminal past before being sent to the school.  With dominance no longer determined by an outside source (the academy), the kids, being scared, fall back upon force.  Force, or the threat of it, was how dominance was asserted in the "civilized" world anyway.  The one character who was taught all his life to be mature (the smart one) dies because he was urging the rest to be mature - and they were shoving him and telling him to shut up during the first two minutes of the movie anyway.

In their essence,  none of these kids deviated from what they'd been taught, so any argument as to what the movie might say about their nature is moot.  Without significant philosophical deviation, their natures cannot be addressed.  Without opportunity to address the characters' natures, the movie fails in its alleged point.  One could argue that civilization is just chock-full of candy-coated evil, or encourages it, or doesn't address it . . . but none of these seem to be what the movie is trying to say, either.  Even the author, Jay Presson-Allen, didn't like it.  She was allegedly so dissatisfied with the final result she used a synonym in the credits: Sara Schiff.

Bad movie.  Bad.  No biscuit.

And now I have to analyze this thing for a psych class.

As an aside: there will be no post this coming Monday, due to my being out of town all weekend with Random Wit and Rapier Twits.  But I should have tales to share afterwards.

Sometime Again,


(Lord of the Flies, the 1990 movie, is currently owned by MGM.  If they still want it.  Angel in mourning courtesy of  All rights reserve by rightful, or at least legal, owners.)

1 comment:

  1. Wretched movie. Also who the heck is this Maslow guy think he is telling us what our needs are in a heirarchal fashion no less. He forgot books, chocolate, and coffee. :-) and being a man he totally left out chartreuse flame throwers aka feminine protection ;)