The Film Review Corner

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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Stuart000X » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:19 pm

A Fly-Lord on the Wall

By Stuart000X

A comparison review on the Lord of the Flies films.


he “Lord of the Flies”; a story written by the late Noble Prize winner and author, Sir William Golding, tells of a tale about a group of young boys becoming stranded on a lost island, trying to survive not only the isolation from their parents, but to battle against their peers as they slowly succumb to nature’s grasp, and into savagery.

Two films; two entirely different adaptations, have been made since its publication. The first was in 1963 by Peter Brook; otherwise referred to as the “English” version, while a second; the “American” version, was in 1990 by Harry Hook. Though both English born, the pairs’ creations were as far removed from each other’s as was the times they were living in.

To each of the films’ credit, both were adequately created for the times they were made in; adapting for current audiences, trends, and tastes.

The beginning of a story is pivotal for the culmination of what is to happen throughout its telling, none more so than for the “Lord of the Flies”. The opening for Mr Brook’s begins with a jump cut of still pictures of an a typical 1960s English school; of orderly uniformed children in class and teachers wearing old fashioned square hats, of singing choir boys and cricket, but replacing the angelic sound of the choir are drum beats and the images of war and mayhem.

Though nearly twenty years since its ending, many people who were there to bear witness to the events of the Second World War will instantly recognise these images; of boys being evacuated from cities and flying fighter planes. Such haunting images will instantly sear themselves into the minds of the movie’s audience, be it an old veteran of World War 2, or the young man of the Cold War; the images of missiles and nuclear bombs all to familiar, with the too recent events that took place the summer prior to the film’s release on Cuba. The hidden anti-Cold War message has clearly made its presence known.

Enter our film’s hero, Ralph, and his would-be sidekick Piggy. Authenticity and impact are crucial to this scene, for without the believability and care for our characters, the turmoil that will later occur will be as hollow and soulless, but James Aubrey (Ralph) and Hugh Edwards (Piggy) delivers a performance that is as natural as it is real. In this cherished moment, we as the third unseen bystander watches as our affections for the two become established, allowing us to become sympathetic to them for what follows later.

The second film, however, engages its audiences with an entirely different approach. Colourised for its modern 1990 audience, the “Lord of the Flies” by Harry Hook grabs our attentions from the word go, displaying dead bodies, lost children cast adrift in torrent seas, and the approach of an ominous tropical island. The colour does many wonders, enriching our sights with a great deal of colours, shades, and sounds, but the mood and atmosphere is stifled by the rude arrival by which our characters have come.

Instead of a duo, we are bombarded by more than a dozen boys as they scramble onto the beach, dragging with them the injured form an adult. Death, disease, and to a point, famine run rife through our motley group of boys.

With so much anarchy and chaos, the innocence that the first film exuded at the start is lost. This has an enormous impact on our views of the children for what is to come later. There is less appreciation for the children for when they turn, as the goodness and civility at the beginning lends itself as a counterweight to the evil that grows in their hearts. Drawing comparison to another film, we appreciate the evil of Darth Vader in George Lucas’ Star Wars films when we were allowed to watch him grow and evolve, following his footsteps towards the path of darkness. We also develop connection with Darth Vader, but that isn’t allowed in the Mr Hook’s feature, leaving us to dislike, or even despise the characters we have come to love in the first film, especially for Ralph who has developed into a complete snob. The characters simply go from bad to worst, rather than good to bad.

When watching the first film, the low budget really shows through in its simplistic, and somewhat, amateurish style prologue, but that fault is easily overlooked once the story commences, and our young actors make their appearances. Peter Brook’s, the film’s director, makes a point of making the children as genuine as possible. Other than giving them simple directions, Mr Brook’s allows the children to be what comes natural to them; being a child, frolicking and playing on the scenic beaches and jungle.

Besides giving us the ability to foster some care for the children, it also helps us breed a somewhat a feeling of dismay for when they finally turn in savage monsters. But I am unable to offer the same token of recognition, or care for the little tykes in Harry Hook’s production, the dialogue is as grating to my ears as to the screeching sound of someone running their long nailed hands on a blackboard, but I would happily call that sound a harmony in comparison to what I hear on the film.

The acting, worst still, is something to be desired. Hostile, angry, and dripping with feral violence, I scarcely knew when the children had changed into the monsters we were expecting, or when they were simply being themselves from the start. In a bizarre twist, while Jack may hold the title of dictator and bully, I am unable to leap to anyone else’s defence when they are charged with the same judgments, but they are worsen by the irrational behaviour they possess, the question as who is the bad guy is left hanging, even after the film’s conclusion.

Another pivotal moment in the film is the discovery of the conch. Near the beginning of the story, Piggy discovers a conch, and upon blowing into it, a noise reverberated across the area. Reacting to the sound, the other lost boys on the island converge to the source of the noise, and a meeting takes place. Between each film there are two defining differences.

In Mr Brook’s film there is only Ralph and Piggy, but once used, the lost unseen boys on the island arrive out of the brush and gather together. Once assembled, the conch is used as a means of given free speech; allowing each boy who holds it a turn to speak. After much debate and talk, a brief election was held to decide who should be leader, which was Ralph. But beneath the adult conduct being performed by the children, or at least, what Ralph tries to instil in the children, they’re still kids at heart, with displays of naivety, betrayal, and other juvenile activities that is the norm for children of their age. The scene adds more layers of authenticity and humanity to the cast, for there is believability to their actions, but the conch adds an extra dimension to when the children finally turn evil, the transition from civilised order and democracy making it a stark contrast to when they turn savage. It also sets the tone for the characters and their interaction with each other, also drawing the thin drawn lines between Ralph, and his soon to be nemesis, Jack.

The second film follows the same pattern, a gathering, a talk, an election and Ralph becoming the leader, but having coming to ashore in a party rather than a pair, the attentions are split between the lot of them. No longer is there a special bond between the viewer and Ralph and Piggy, for they are but two faces amongst a pack of lost boys. The brutal arrival, having already cast a shadow over the mood and tone of the film, makes the conch meeting less potent to the transition; the stark contrast less evident.

The denotation of the conch is simple; it is a tool by which the boys use to conduct a cordial meeting, and to allow a civil debate between each other, but the connotation of the conch is its power, and how it wanes throughout the film. In comparison, a conch can be likened to that of a royal sceptre; physically displaying and empowering its wielder with power and authority, a right to rule and exact his edicts and laws, but when the kingdom by which he rules rebels, the sceptre’s power and usability is but nought.

Try as I might, however, I am unable to completely condemn Mr Hook’s attempt at remaking this classic. The characters might be somewhat wooden, and uninteresting, but Harry Hook is able to seamlessly capture the thought provoking scenery of the island his film takes place on, the usage of long-shots truly captures the island’s solitude and the silent menace it exudes. And as we travel further into this island, using mid and close-up shots, the island really starts to come to life; of an overgrown tropical rainforest that the boys fast comes to call home.

Peter Brook’s setting isn’t as awe-inspiring as Harry Hook’s, the island mostly a flat stretch of sand with the additions of a jungle and a few rock formations, such as the castle, but the advantage of having a less imposing land is that it focuses the attentions mainly on the children and their drama, for splendid scenery; while pleasing to the eyes, may garner more attention than what is occurring on the screen in front of us.

Death plays a prominent role in both the novel, and in the films. In Peter Brook’s adaptation, the deaths that transpire act as milestones, the slaying of Simon underlines the decline of the boys fall into savagery and loss of civility. It was an accident, the boys, hyped up by the ritual dancing that took place, slain him in the mistaken belief that the boy was the beast. But when Roger murdered Piggy there were no excuses. In broad daylight, and pushing a boulder, the act was deliberate, and Piggy’s murder, the last voice of reason on the island, dies. This act of murder shocks all, even Jack is shaken by it, but the following act of whipping a boy as punishment lies to rest any doubts that these boys have changed. They are evil.

The deaths in Harry Hook’s films act as milestones as well, but they lack the same delivered potency and shock, the boys reacting to such happenings as though it was both expected and normal. This underlines the autonomous inhuman behaviour that the cast of this version have; they are not children, but plain killers. It begs to question whether these children harboured these feelings prior to their arrival to this island.

The beast; a fable creature that lurks on the island, ready to pounce at a moments notice, becomes the fixation for the boys after the Littluns, the smaller children, report of its sighting in the forest. The beast is the catalyst for Jack to acquire the allegiance of the boys, his strong warlike leadership a stronger preference to Ralph’s much feebler, if not dull approach to things. Offerings of the pig’s head to the beast demonstrate clearly the boys’ descent, using the pagan rituals of animal sacrifices to sate the beast’s hunger. The lack of logic and imagination, born from naivety and child ignorance, also compounds the matter. The boys in Peter

In conclusion to my reviewing of the two “Lord of the Flies” films, while Harry Hook’s production may enjoy the benefit of a much larger budget and modern technology, his film dark beginning and characters had doomed the film from the start, the morale message of the story made by Sir William Golding becoming a forgotten lost cause as the film fast becomes what can only be said as B-Horror movie, with poor casts, dialogue, and story telling.

Peter Brook’s, though obviously limited even for its own time, demonstrates a much greater depth of acting and directing, with each character standing his own while he delivers emotive and believable lines. Also, it must be said that out of the two, Peter Brook’s is more like the book in spirit than that of Harry Hook’s.
Last edited by Stuart000X on Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:24 pm

I haven't watched a strange film for a while. To be honest, I'd thought 'they'd' stopped making them. Well I watched one today, and you probably won't be surprised to learn it wasn't an English-speaking example.

Eden Log starts off in classic fashion - a guy wakes up in darkness and cold mud with no idea of who or where he is. Gradually, on his way up through a strange complex of tree roots, caves, and concrete corridors, he learns things... none of them good.

It's French, well acted, very dark (almost black and white, in fact), low budget, and provokes thought for hours after it has finished. The main reason for this last point is the ending, and that -for me- is because I cannot figure out if what takes place during it was explained during the course of the film, or was tacked on for mainly visual effect. There are other unclear issues throughout (how did our protagonist get the power he has? What's the deal with the insubstantial cages with people in them? Why was the botanist on strings? Why does the tree fruit when the protagonist transfuses blood into it?), to almost Lynchian standards.

But all these questions did not leave me unsatisfied. Like Inception, they just left me wanting to watch Eden Log again (though this time I might view the dubbed version so I can concentrate on what's happening). I don't know if a second viewing will answer my questions or just leave me filling blanks in with my imagination... but I rather think I'll enjoy whichever process it turns out to be.

You might, too.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Insomniac » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:28 pm

Sounds like a good film there Chun.

I haven't watched too many films recently except "Pearls Before Swine", which is a glorified Sci-Fi channel film with heavy fascist leanings.

I think tonight be a film marathon; I found all my DVDs again.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:22 pm

Ah, well, something must distract me whilst I'm waiting for the slowest machine in the world to finish doing what I asked of it.

Kickass
This was, in my opinion, one of the best films to come out 'recently'(given my slow catchup to these things). I have only good things to say. The suspension of disbelief was absolutely perfectly crafted, and the combination of humour and hard-knocks reality was superb. The concept could very easily have been made into a pants film, but the writers did an exceptional job with it. The 'mob' in particular were very well portrayed, and the pseudo-psychosis we expect to see in 'superheroes' very much came across.

Spoiler: Both my most and least favourite moments came right towards the end. The scene where the heavily-armed gangsters are urging each other to go in and confront a little girl is hilarious mostly because that's the point where I realised that the story had taken me along with it so much that that terror made sense .

The ending itself, however, with Kickass jetpacking around, I found rather cheesy. It seemed tacked -on and didn't really fit with what I'd been seeing in the rest of the film. A 2-minute glip, but one at a critical juncture. Still, an excellent film



Scott Pilgrim VS The World

This film surprised me. I'd heard the hype, but was sceptical that I'd find it as enjoyable as everyone made out. I was wrong - it is surprisingly funny, full of accessible gamer jokes and a me-shaped humour and dialogue that ran throughout. Whilst it didn't grab me as brilliant in the same way as Kickass, I still found it definitely above-par and would happily recommend it.


Watchmen

What can I say? This film was, frankly, brilliant. I've never read the comics (graphic novels are not my thing), which prevented me being picky about any of the backstory as I probably would have been if I had. The carriage all the way through was very good - superheroes being flawed, dangerous people. Very dark, and, well, beautifully written. I liked the shady morality of everyone on-screen. Very very good.

Spoiler: I especially loved the ending. The most brilliant man on earth, outwitting the god-like human and everyone else in a darkly benevolent, cold, and - importantly - fully executed plan to save humanity from itself. Humanity only uniting against a common foe makes the ending much more acceptable - for once I didn't feel cheated by a soppy climax.

And the other thing we learned from the ending - that the two most morally dubious-seeming superheroes were actually the only ones who wouldn't allow the planned horror in the end - that was brilliant. I was full of admiration for what was being conveyed in this film.



Grave of the Fireflies

I noticed a mention of these sort of films above, so I thought I'd bring up Grave of the Fireflies. I'll warn anyone who hasn't watched it: This film is horrifically, almost tortuously depressing to watch. I don't consider myself easily affected, but I found it really throws you down. That said, I think it's a must-see. The detail of the plot and the beauty of the writing are something to behold. I can't explain it better than suggesting you watch it.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Stuart000X » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:12 pm

Ghurlag wrote:Grave of the Fireflies

I noticed a mention of these sort of films above, so I thought I'd bring up Grave of the Fireflies. I'll warn anyone who hasn't watched it: This film is horrifically, almost tortuously depressing to watch. I don't consider myself easily affected, but I found it really throws you down. That said, I think it's a must-see. The detail of the plot and the beauty of the writing are something to behold. I can't explain it better than suggesting you watch it.


I watched that film once. Not a fan of anime, i thought this film was quite good. I like how touchy it was, perhaps one of the few films that doesn't cast the Japanese people in such a dark light during the 1940s. There is actual humanity in the Japanese.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Stuart000X » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:14 pm

I've taken the spoiler alert off my review of "Lord of the Flies". I don't think their is much to spoil if i'm honest.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:22 am

Review, Stu?!?

That's an essay :D And a damn good one too.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Stuart000X » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:38 am

greywulf wrote:Review, Stu?!?

That's an essay :D And a damn good one too.


lol i just did it for my English course, and thought it appropriate to post it on here.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:10 pm

Anyone seen Cabin Fever? DO NOT watch the sequel! Review of Cabin Fever 2 : Spring Feverhere.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:37 pm

A short article on one of the great Gary Oldman's often overlooked roles!

WARNING - The youtube clip at the end of the article is from an 18 rated film.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby flick » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:41 pm

greywulf wrote:A short article on one of the great Gary Oldman's often overlooked roles!

WARNING - The youtube clip at the end of the article is from an 18 rated film.


Does it look like white-boy day to you?

That film has so many cool actors in it, Oldman AND Walken??
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Bane Of Kings » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:48 pm

I've recently watched the following:

Inception - fantastic movie, had to watch it twice to understand what was going on though. But, any excuse to watch a great film.

Favourite Line: Eames: [Shows up while Arthur is in a gunfight] You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
[Pulls out a grenade launcher]

Rating: 9.5/10

And,

Robin Hood 2010 - having watched the BBC version and thoroughly enjoyed it, I wondered if anything could match up to it. And, this movie has, which was what I was kind of expecting it to do. Seeing as they had a much bigger budget.

The only thing that I didn't like about this was the stupid way that

Spoiler: Richard the Lionheart is killed at the beginning by an arrow. He should've died herorically, I reckon.



Favourite Line: Nothing that I can particulary remember, unlike Inception.

Rating: 8/10


Both good films, Inception better though.

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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Xisor » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:47 pm

Bane Of Kings wrote:The only thing that I didn't like about this was the stupid way that

Spoiler: Richard the Lionheart is killed at the beginning by an arrow. He should've died herorically, I reckon.



Spoiler if you don't know/like history:

Spoiler: Historically, that is how it happened. I.e. died by a mistreated arrow wound.

Also humanity lived on for another 812 years at least.

"When my housemate puts his bike in the middle of the living room floor, I find that inordinately jarring, annoying and rude, but for me to refer to it as "genocide" would be incorrect." -Ath
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Falkenhayn » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:06 am

Still, he should have died fighting a steroid-abusing chimera or something. ;)
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:05 am

Thre were a few things I had a problem with after watching Robin Hood, though I enjoyed it for what it was.

One of the larger things was

Spoiler: how Marion turns up with J M Barrie's Lost Boys riding shetland ponies to help repel a french invasion and Robin Longstride, wise in the ways of war and a veteran solider for hire, allows a woman and a bunch of children to join a charge upon french forces.



I wasn't going to do a review on my blog, but I think I might now, you've got my reviewing fires burning :D
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:07 am

Bane Of Kings wrote:Favourite Line: Nothing that I can particulary remember, unlike Inception


Really?

I liked -

Why do they call you Little John?

I'm not little! I'm in proportion!
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:56 pm

I admit that I enjoy Roland Emmerich's disaster films.....
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby The Hillock » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:56 pm

The films of the weekend just gone (cheezy action tastic!)

GI Joe: Rise of Cobra - you know what, this wasn't as bad as I'd expected. Entertaining fluff. Plus I'm a bit of a fanboy from back in the day. 6/10.

Predators - Disappointing ending. In fact, generally disappointing. 5/10.

Law Abiding Citizen - clever premise, poorly executed. Jamie Foxx sucks. 4/10.

God I need to watch better films.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Falkenhayn » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:33 pm

That does seem like a rather poor selection The Wrath.

I watched Idiocracy. The initial premise is interesting, but I felt cheated because the movie doesn't explore it enough. Not to mention that the future society is entirely unfeasible.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Ghurlag » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:42 pm

That was my impression of Idiocracy as well, Falkenhayn. Good idea, but not very good execution.

Inception I find myself hard-pressed to pass judgement on. On the one hand, I felt it was an okay film. Interesting topic, nice pretty CGI. On the other hand, everyone seems inclined to treat it like it was some intellectual marvel, which I think it wasn't. It basically did what the Matrix had already done, with a slightly different flavour, and having done a first-year philosophy course, this was nothing new to me.

Also, the rules describing dreaming didn't seem to fit with what we actually observe from dreams - how often are your dreams internally consistent, with proper narratives that don't just merge and flow? I understand why this happened - you'd get bored of 2 hours of drifting nonsense - but I think it slightly undermined the premise.

Law Abiding Citizen I really liked until it reached the point where

Spoiler: the prisoner was revealed to be super-humanly smart, well-equipped, and had dug into prison already. Got dull then.

.

Cabin Fever confused the hell out of me. Is it a spoof of something (itself?) or was that seriously the pitch? It seemed to be mocking something, but I may be over-analysing it.

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