31 Days of Horror! – Day 14

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Hey guys. Again, sorry I’m late. This was a long one and I have a lot of stuff to do. This one is going to be kind of short because I don’t have a WHOLE lot to say about it. So here it goes.
The Stand (1994)
Directed by Mick Garris
Written by Stephen King

So, in case you aren’t aware, The Stand is based on a book by Stephen King about two groups of people in post-apocalypse America. It has been compared to Lord of the Rings in its concept, but with a different setting. I can see why. It’s almost as long.

So, I love this book. The book is a fantastic study of multiple characters, and they all have unique voices and perspectives. It’s really a phenomenal read that I highly recommend. Now, the miniseries, I don’t recommend as highly. If you read the book, it’s a fun little bit of mostly fan-service. It’s generally entertaining, but has some problems when compared to the book that I can’t entirely get over, which is why I think the movie is only OK when it COULD have been a fun, aggressively 90s post-apocalyptic adventure.

But forget that for a moment. I’m not the adaptation police, and I generally try to avoid talking about how “accurate” things are to the source material. I like to talk about how good it is by itself. How does it stand up? The answer, is still a resounding “OK.”

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The problem here is that a lot of characters are terribly miscast. And that’s not just coming from the perspective of someone who read the book. Some characters just feel wrong saying and doing the things they’re saying and doing. The man playing Randall Flagg, which should be the best part of the miniseries, feels hollow and cartoony. I’m not the least bit intimidated by him. He has no real presence. Molly Ringwald is just not giving a good performance either. Gary Sinise is great as Stu, Rob Lowe is a solid Nick (although I don’t know about the vocalizations. I don’t think he even can vocalize in the book), and Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick from SpongeBob!) is good as Tom Cullen. Most of the rest of the cast ranges from mediocre to bad. Mostly mediocre. And that’s exactly how I’d describe this miniseries. Mediocre, but entertaining nonetheless, probably because King himself wrote the screenplay.

It’s a pleasant melodrama that suffers mostly due to the fact that the cast was mostly wrong. So, to reiterate, if you like the books, it can be a pleasant diversion. Just don’t analyze it too deeply. If you haven’t read the book, I don’t know. I feel like it jumps too much for everything to make much sense. The book is 1400 pages long. The miniseries is 6 hours. You definitely don’t have time to get to know the characters and their feelings and motivations in 6 hours. So it suffers for that. If I made an adaptation of The Stand, I’d make it on a premium channel, give it 3 seasons each containing 10, 1-hour-long episodes. That, I feel, would be the best way to do the source material justice.

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