Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

07 February 2008

The Mist, dir. Frank Darabont (2008)

NIKKI says:
Our first time in the cinema together for far too long. So, the fact that we were way down the front, metres from the big read curtain was enough to make this experience fun. The fact that the movie was actually pretty good made it even better. I wasn't expecting to dislike the film, but I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did. I was worried Thomas Jane might suck, but he was actually very good. Why I thought he'd suck, I don't quite know. Possibly the amount of times I've had to return Stander into the system at work. That just makes him look like a Van Damme wannabe.

So, the movie was good. I got scared heaps. It was really tense in some places. I was disappointed that the creatures all looked way fake, even though Steve tried to explain his view of the bad CG effects, I still don't know if they really meant them to be that bad? The whole movie was so serious, and would they really spend that much money to intentionally be so NOT scary-looking? I don't know -- perhaps he can explain that better. The big ant thing at the end, though, looked good. Why that one? Ugh -- anyway. I let the effects, good or bad, go early on. After I Am Legend, I think I've finally realised that no amount my complaining will make Hollywood see just how HORRIBLE its new technology is. Besides all that, it was a good movie.

I had major issues when it finished regarding the end. I did not think such cruelty was at all necessary. But then Steve and I discussed it a bit and we realised Frank Darabont altered the ending in the only way he could. His desire was to un-Hollywoodise the ending, and he did that. I think my reaction at the end was kind of me wanting the Hollywood ending and when I thought about Darabont's reasons for taking that away from me, I couldn't help but respect him.

So, yeah. Good monster movie that proves King can be done well.


STEVE says:
What bothered me about The Mist wasn't the much-talked-about ending, but the lack of detail that King paid such attention to in the original story. The build-up to the storm; Drayton's last look at his wife as he and Norton went into town; the old couple slamming into the automatic doors; or the way the creature tore the young kid's red apron off him - "you need that like a hen needs a flag", Drayton thought. These things, though incidental to the plot, helped build the story, and they were sorely missed in Frank Darabont's movie. This is a shame because Darabont has been a stickler for such detail, where possible, in his previous King adaptations.

I understand that a lot of this was probably done in a desire to get right to the action, get us into the supermarket and have the titular mist arrive right on time at the 20 minute mark. Dawdling with Drayton's wife or starting the story much before the storm would have thrown this off. But it didn't make me miss it any less.

I wasn't as bothered as Nikki by the CGI monstrosities. It was damn good CGI, compared to some we've seen recently, and not even Lucas has been able to give us CGI that is 100% convincing. CGI monsters in a movie like this are de riguer - like seeing a zipper run up the monster's back in pre-CG times. Hell, a fake monster is going to look like a fake monster, no matter what is used to bring it to life.

And I have to say, I didn't mind the changed ending, either. In fact, I think it was exactly the ending necessary for the film. The original ending - Drayton writing his story down on Howard Johnson's stationery as he and his group of survivors head to Hartford, CT - would have translated poorly to film, leaving the audience with something of an anti-climax. And, though I don't generally like the idea of bringing the end of the world under control, it worked here in relation to what Drayton felt was the only way out for his son and the rest of the group.

Even with these arguable flaws, this is one of the best, most literal King translations to date, and that bumps it up an extra half-star for me.


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