A 1990 adaptation of William Golding's story that was met with mixed critical and audience reception, this is an okay viewing experience, but remains a moderately slow and rather uninvolving experience. Again here, a group of boys are marooned on a deserted island with no adult supervision (well, there is one adult, but he's so injured that he really can't do much at all). As the kids gradually come to realize that nobody's coming to rescue them, they become savages, begin to lose it and break off into two groups, one lead by Jack (Chris Furrh) and the other by Ralph (Balthazar Getty).
One group makes a rather respectable attempt to find food, while the other clings to the hope that the band of them will be rescued and believe in acting with reason and civility. It goes without saying that the two groups will eventually have a falling out. There's strangely little tension to the proceedings, as the picture-perfect scenery strangely saps any drama out of the boys attempting to do battle with one another.
There's other little oddities, as well. One of the group complains about not know what time it is (because he wants to watch "Alf", of all things) when there have been several shots of the group throughout that show them wearing watches. Performances by the cast of largely unknowns are just okay; there's no real standout in the bunch and several of the characters are only one-dimensional, as the 90 minute running time really doesn't give the film a chance to give them stronger personalities of their own.
The film's "messages" seem diluted by the slow pacing, mediocre acting and thin characters. While some of the events are shocking and saddening, it's hard to care about much else that goes on during the 90 minutes. While this adaptation is certainly beautiful, with it's gorgeous scenery, the story itself drags, as it's hard to care about much of the goings-on on the island.
VIDEO: "Lord of the Flies" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by MGM. While not without some minor problems here and there, I have to say that this was one of the better-looking MGM catalog presentations that I've run across in recent memory. Sharpness and detail are good, if not great, and the beautiful cinematography of Martin Fuhrer captures the scenery of the Jamaican locations wonderfully. There's even nice depth to the image during many scenes.
I was pleased to see few faults or blemishes during the presentation. While there were a few minor specks on the print during a couple of occasions and some light grain, the majority of the film remained crisp and free of such distractions. I didn't notice any edge enhancement or pixelation, either.
Colors appeared superb throughout the movie, as the greens of the island looked rich and beautiful, while other colors remained similarly attractive and well-presented. Black level remained solid and flesh tones accurate. Not without a few slight flaws, but still very nice, nonetheless.
SOUND: "Lord of the Flies" is presented in 2.0 audio. As one would expect from a fairly recent film, the audio is nicely produced, if still somewhat basic. Ambient sounds are distinctly heard during the island scenes, if not presented in generous amounts. An enjoyable score from
MENUS:: The bare minimum, as the disc's few options are presented on a basic, static main menu.
EXTRAS:: This is an easy section to write about. MGM's DVD doesn't even include a trailer. No insert, either.
Final Thoughts: While the lack of supplements is a definite dissapointment, I was satisfyed by the audio/video quality, which were both better than I'd expected. Some may find the film worth a look, as many stores will likely offer this DVD for as low as $9.99. I think that this disc will see the most use by kids who have to do book reports and rent it, though.