As their stay on the island lengthens, the group is divided into conflicting factions - one determined to preserve civilized values, one degenerating into a violent, primitive cabal.
The devolving Jack (Chris Furrh), leader of the primitives, is the only character effectively sketched in this movie. He convincingly intimidates and charms the other boys in the group into joining his fraternal mob, a band held together by superstition, ritual and fear.
Perhaps Jack succeeds because he doesn't have much competition. The boys Piggy and Ralph don't make civilization seem very enticing.
Piggy (Danuel Pipoly), the fat kid with the spectacles, is supposed to supply the voice of reason. Instead, he comes off as a drooling, sobbing complainer who engenders virtually no sympathy for his arguments.
Ralph (Balthazar Getty), who embodies the principles of basic human decency, lacks the charisma and forcefulness that would make him a worthy opponent for the lawless Jack.
The movie takes too long to establish the conflict between the animalistic Jack and the humanistic Ralph. "Lord of the Flies" does gather momentum toward the end thanks to some chilling chase scenes, but they only underscore the movie's failure as an allegory.
So, "Lord of the Flies" becomes just another exercise in movie violence, far less thoughtful than either the novel or the earlier film version.
Incidentally, the violence and profanity added to make the story more contemporary have won "Lord of the Flies" an R rating, making it tougher for teens to see the picture.
Avoid the hassle - stay at home and read the book.
LORD OF THE FLIES * *
Produced by Ross Milloy, directed by Harry Hook, music by Philippe Sarde, written by Sara Schiff, distributed by Castle Rock Entertainment.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Ralph - Balthazar Getty
Jack - Chris Furrh
Piggy - Danuel Pipoly
Simon - Badgett Dale
The twins - Edward and Andrew Taft
Roger - Gary Rule
Andy - Terry Wells
Larry - Braden MacDonald
Parents Guide: R
Showing at: Area theaters