The Mist   April 24th, 2010

Written 11/30/07

I went to see The Mist tonight. I’d heard some good things about it, so I was really interested in checking it out. It was a mixed bag, but fairly decent. Director’s have a tough time bringing Stephen King’s stories to the screen, in part because he can tell a tale in such a way that makes a silly concept believable, whereas in a movie it might not fly.

The Mist is a good mix of horror as well as atmosphere. It has some nice monsters, but also a good bit of the end-of-the-world drama where a small group of people watch society fall apart. It’s the same type of society in a microcosm setting that I like about good zombie movies. Things started out really well. The characters were arch-types but they were nuanced and played off one another well, that is except for the protagonist of the fundamentalist nut job. She was a cardboard figured who was really grating.

Unfortunately, from what I remember of the story, she was the same way in the novella. Once again Stephen Kings shows he has an axe to grind against religion, or at least a certain interpretation of it. He’s done that in several other stories as well. The character could have worked as an even-handed critique of the dangers of an over-zealous interpretation of religion, if only she’d been given some nuance like the other characters, but she was too much a caricature. It’s odd, most of the film-adaptations of King’s films fail because they didn’t translate his stories well enough, but here I think they translated it a little too well. They had the story warts and all, and I think a little bit of depth to that plot would have worked much better.

The monsters were pretty cool and the scenes with them were great fun. They were a little cartoony in their design for a couple of the beasts, such as the faces of the giant spiders, but I think it worked well. It’s not as good as that film, but I don’t think I’ve seen a monster film that’s been as fun since Pitch Black. There were lots of different beasties to enjoy here.

So the first two-thirds of the film were great, but it fell apart in the last act. There was the heavy-handed twisted-religion angle, and also the ending annoyed me. I was worried about that, since I remembered the story ended very ambiguously and I didn’t think they’d let that happen in a mainstream film.

I was impressed with the ending at first, since it was a little different but very hard-core. If they’d ended it there, that would have been fine, but then they had to tack a stupid Hollywood ending onto it. It’s not as egregious as the one in A.I., but I still wanted to slap the director for it. It got a couple of points for its irony, but lost even more for how it de-constructed and went against the whole mood of the story.

Oh well, I still liked enough of the film to find it enjoyable. It’s definitely flawed, but it’s a good ride. If you don’t see it in the theater, it’s definitely a good rental. I’d give it 3 or 3.5 stars out of 5.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 at 5:23 am and is filed under Movies and TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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