In Stephen King’s The Stand, the author once again
takes on the theme of good battling evil. Produced as a
four-part television mini-series, the movie is conveniently
broken down into four bloated segments with separate titles. The
Plague is the opening and can be comfortably referred to as
“the set-up.” An accident at a military bio warfare
research center spreads a deadly virus into the atmosphere. The
incident is poorly depicted, making the most unlikely pathway
through the country. The set-up is so crucial, yet so sloppily
handled, a sure sign that this production will travel any road
it wants with little concern for the direction. As the virus
travels, we meet the survivors as the epidemic and script skip
around the country with merry abandon. Who are
these guys anyway and why in God’s name are they the chosen
ones to fight the devil. There is certainly no case for any of
them surviving the plague. Again, the players are sad
caricatures, especially the military and government personnel
depicted in The Plague.
Millennium party of apocalypse
King’s apocalyptic material was given outstanding film
interpretation by director Fraser Heston in Needful Things. The
focus, unlike in The Stand, was compact, executed without
blubber to prop up the story. The Stand suffers from lack
of focus and a roaming, flaccid style of storytelling. If
you choose to evaluate The Stand by lesser standards often
connoted by calling something a TV movie, it’s simply making
excuses for a poorly scripted and bloated production.
Stand breaks down firstly from the boring script. Stephen
King has nobody to blame but himself, as he is the screenwriter
of I. Mick Garris adds nothing to the production with bland and
formulaic direction. Actors like Gary Sinese seem stranded in a
wasteland of banal scripting. Laura San Giacomo, Molly
Ringwald and Rob Lowe are likewise infected by the
The Stand is
presented as a special edition. Audio commentary from director
Mick Garris, Stephen King, Rob Lowe, Ruby Dee, Miguel Ferrer,
Jamey Sheridan, and editor Pat McMahon is included. There’s
also storyboard comparisons with the actual scenes and a
“making of” featurette. The DVD is presented in its native
1.33 aspect ratio. Image sharpness is inconsistent. Sometimes it
so clear it appears that no transfer was necessary to video and
at other times I had to wonder if the cinematographer was able
to keep the composition in focus. The colors are fine and
shadow detail is adequate. Light output is ample for any system.
The Dolby 2-channel surround is adequate.
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