lord of the flies movie

Can we just talk about jalph

Jack Merridew and Ralph from Lord of the Flies who

“Smiled at each other with shy liking” 

The first time they met

And even when Jack was bossing everyone else about right from the start, he and Ralph worked together

Ralph found himself alone on a limb with Jack and they grinned at each other, sharing this burden […]
‘Almost too heavy.’
Jack grinned back, 
‘Not for the two of us.’”

Jack and Ralph who act in a flirty way around one another without even trying

His grey shorts were sticking to him with sweat. Ralph glanced at them admiringly, and when Jack saw his glance he explained.”

Jack and Ralph who even though their leadership ends up in conflict, turned to each other before anyone

Ralph and Jack looked at each other while society paused about them. The shameful knowledge grew in them and they did not know how to begin confession.”

Jack and Ralph who act like a married couple taking care of children. Jack’s out hunting and when he returns Ralph is hurt at being left alone. 

D’you see? All day I’ve been working with Simon. No one else.”

Jack who gets jealous that Ralph looks out for Piggy, 

That’s right -  favour Piggy as you always do-”

Jack and Ralph who through everything, even when Jack leaves and when he succumbs to savagery, always have something between them that never becomes malice.

They looked at each other, baffled, in love and hate. All the warm salt water of the bathing-pool and the shouting and splashing and laughing were only just sufficient to bring them together again.”

On Lord of the Flies, and why not all stories are  gender-free...

So today, my Twitter timeline was all about the planned movie of LORD OF THE FLIES, written by two men, and remade with an all-female cast. I think it’s the worst movie idea since two white men decided to rewrite ROOTS, and here are a few of the reasons why.

Wiliam Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES was originally written as a response to Ballantyne’s THE CORAL ISLAND; the quite revoltingly racist tale of “civilized” white boys stranded on a Polynesian island. It’s a piece of colonial propaganda: in it the boys are decent, honest, Christian lads: the natives are ignorant, savage cannibals. Golding’s book took that myth of white superiority and Empire and made of it a fable about toxic masculinity, colonialism and the fact that “civilization” is just a veneer.

Now the problem is not the fact of just retelling a story with an all-female cast. We’ve seen that before with GHOSTBUSTERS, and welcomed it as a step towards greater inclusivity. Some stories are gendered for no reason: stories about gender, however, are not. And in this case, the basic problem is the fact that a couple of men are aiming to retell a fable about a patriarchal society while actually cutting out the role of the patriarchy -  effectively ignoring the very society that made the story possible.

The boys (the white, British, privileged boys) in Golding’s novel have been raised with a fixed view of what it means to be a (civilized, white) man. Their descent into savagery forces them to question their view of themselves, their role in society, their colonial Empire and their assumed superiority over others. To remake that story with women (or indeed with POC) seems not only absurd, but looks like an attempt to modify and soften the role of white men in colonialism. And of course the fact that it’s actually written by men adds further insult to injury. White men have already had their say on virtually every subject imaginable for far too long: we need to hear women’s voices now - especially those of women of colour.

That doesn’t mean silencing men, or saying their voices shouldn’t be heard. But basically, the principle of an all-female LORD OF THE FLIES is a lot like the All Lives Matter movement. Yes, all lives matter. But some lives are more at risk than others. And saying that All People Are Capable of Brutality overlooks the fact that some groups are historically responsible for more brutality than others. It suggests that everyone is equal within our society. And ironically, it does so (again, again) from a position of historic privilege and entitlement: that of the straight white male.

A much more interesting take on the nature of society and violence is Naomi Alderman’s THE POWER, which suggests that if society were different and gender roles reversed, women might be as brutal as men. However, it’s fundamentally different (as well as being more relevant) because by a woman, about women. It doesn’t make claims it can’t justify; doesn’t try to whitewash the past, and doesn’t suggest that a repressive female-led society would be any better.

So let’s not pretend that this is about putting more women on the big screen. Sure, we’d all like to see more women in film, but not in any old context. After all, the porn industry is full of films starring women. What matters is listening to women’s voices talking about themselves: not listening to men telling us what women are like.

What is wrong with remaking classics with female casts (and other film blunders)

So, I have a major issue with the newest announcement that Lord of the Flies will be redone with a female cast. I’m going to start off this post by saying, yes, I’m a feminist, a woman, a film-lover, and an aspiring animator. I think more movies should have full female casts. That’s what women need. That’s what film needs. However, I’m going to tell you why remaking classics with a female cast is downright wrong and unappealing.

1. It’s been done before, and it went poorly.

Seriously. Let me just remind you of our very recent past. In 2016, a bunch of celebrities died, Trump rose to power, and Ghostbusters was remade with a female cast. All of these things sucked. The Ghostbusters remake slobbed an IMDb rating of 5.3 out of 10. Though I see the gimmick-loving audience, you can’t call yourself a real film maker if you can’t take a real risk with something new and original. Catering to an audience you know is just looking for a way to say they spread inclusivity is horrifying.

2. When they go wrong, who do critics blame?

Women. Fucking women. They blame the all-women cast. They blame the women for not being funny or capable enough. The exact thing these movies advocate is literally working against them. Big name producers won’t fund things they don’t think will be successful.

3. There’s a better way to get women involved, and for fucks sake it isn’t this.

Perfect example: Wonder Woman. We watched this film smash all competition in its way this year, a perfect testament to women inclusivity, women acting, women directors, and women writers. This is how you make a movie with women that isn’t about how they are women. She’s strong, cunning, and capable. This movie single-handedly revived DC movies and pushed Fifty Shades of Grey to the #2 spot for most revenue for a movie directed by a woman (which in itself makes a beautiful symbol for feminism and breaking away from misogyny). The issue isn’t that we need to take male dominated movies and switch them to female casts, the issue is that we need more original female movies to get chances in this industry. We need more original stories about realistic women, not just stereotypical housewives and bridesmaids.

In conclusion, we are more than this.

Right now, there are women writers with incredible fresh concepts waiting to be taken in. We need to support these women. We need to give them our love, our acceptance, and break this trend. This trend is destructive, distasteful, and horrible for women in our industry.

Why are feminists pissed off about the all female Lord of the Flies remake? I thought we needed more female leads in movies? Aren’t we reinforcing gender stereotypes by saying the story couldn’t play out in a similar way with all women?