Thursday, December 10, 2009
#43 Lord of the Flies
What a difference a few years might have made. In the early 60s, filmmakers were churning out adaptations like this, although Brook's theater experience definitely makes this more unique than most of those films. But put this movie in 1967, or even better, '72, and you would have a totally different movie - perhaps one I would have loved. As it stands, the film just doesn't measure up to the book - not because Brook did anything to change the novel's story and in spite of the fact that Brook elicited fairly strong performances from the child actors and filmed the movie on location on a deserted island. Instead, it's the static cinematic vision, a sense that what is going on in front of the camera is all that matters. It makes for a movie that fails to distinguish itself from the source material.
Adapting books has always been difficult because the things you can imagine are inevitably more appealing to you than someone else's vision. It's only when that vision surpasses your own or when the material is used in a new light that a film becomes the superior, or at least equal, to its book. Here, the movie seems more a reenactment of the book. In the hands of a more experienced and confident filmmaker at a different time, when he or she would feel less restrained by the language of film available, I think this would have been a better movie.