Until just this afternoon, I had never seen this in it's entirety. No idea why. Partially, perhaps, that I have yet to read it and prison stuff turns me off. But this...this is Frank Darabont working his magic and visual poetry with close friend Stephen King's verbal mojo (again). An impressive cast (big shout-out to the late Michael Clarke Duncan, Tom Hanks and Harry Dean Stanton especially) aim for the rafters on this one and succeed. Nevermind the religious under/overtones and trumpeting the evils of capitol punishment - to focus on these items alone would belittle the bigger message on hand. And to find that, you need to watch. At this point I formally ask Mr. Darabont to do ALL Stephen King films from this point forward. And if he could go back and fix "It", "The Stand", "Pet Semetary", "Christine", "Firestarter", "'Salem's Lot" and "Tommyknockers" I'd take it as a personal favor. And artistic justice realised at last.
Captures a thin sliver of the psychological pathos of the tome. This is a shameful pale shadow of King's masterful blood, sweat and fear overload with huge chunks missing, a severely wonky cast with little or zero chemistry and just about everything awful about TV-14 horror/drama from the late '90's/early 2000's. This desperately needs an HBO or AMC re-do, a hard TV-MA, a solid visual effects budget & cast and a minimum of 8 sixty minute episodes.
Nowhere close to the book in conveying the gut-wrenching Lovecraftian dread that permeates the story from end to end, but this was a hearty effort and worthy of a revisitation. Just barely an "R", they chose to go with the strength of the material rather than indulge in gore and bedroom athletics. Respectable, but it robs the picture of having a deeper visceral impact. Still, the cast (Fred Gwynne is especially brilliant) rise to the occasion mostly and a more disturbing little kid (Miko Hughes) doesn't readily come to mind. The third act has problems but, like a wounded aircraft, does an effective bellylanding with maximum collateral damage.
For something I absolutely hated when it was first on television, time has softened me up a bit and this wasn't bad at all. Done on the cheap, the effects and production are a bit sparse, but King fans can find quite a lot to dig on here. But, of course, the book is an NC-17 atomic weapon compared to this darling little TV-14 cherrybomb.
Fantastic direction, beautifully shot, loads of humor and a superbly constructed Swiss Army knife cast. Chris Pratt easily carries the picture with a heartfelt smart-ass approach, but there are no weak links across the board. Marvel wins again by letting a writer/director who truly understands the characters and the storyverse and plays gleefully, yet deftly in & with it. And we're all invited. While it wasn't shot in true IMAX ratios, I still highly recommend spending the extra cabbage for an IMAX 3D ticket - one of the better post-2D conversions I've seen recently and the visuals from start to finish are mesmerizing.