Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. The below review fills me with light and sunshine and happiness and wagging puppy dog tails. But it could be from a notorious plant. heh Can't wait to see this! Frank Darabont is the man, The Mist is the shit, so mix them together and... well, that doesn't work, but you know what I am getting at. Enjoy the review... it's fairly spoiler-free, but there are some hints at where this all goes, so be warned!
Greetings Quint, Moriarity and Head Geek! This is Randy of AFTimes (www.aftimes.com/ask.ran.shtml); when last we spoke I sent in an advanced review for 300 around last November (and Quint thought I was a plant!) Thanks to one of the ever-present hawkers of “Would like to see a free movie?” at local movie theaters, I got to see one my most anticipated movies of the year: The Mist. I’ve been following the progress for months now, from casting to the series of behind-the-scenes stores posted by Quint this past spring (nicely done). And it was looking as good as I could’ve hoped. The idea of one of Stephen King’s coolest novellas being turned into a movie by writer/director Frank Darabont just filled me with glee. A good ol’ fashioned monster movie! And since the film is due for release in just about a month (Nov. 21), I figured most of the F/X would be done. I rumble into the AMC Burbank 16 Tuesday night after work and meet with she who is METAMORPHI. Longish line, not too bad of a wait to get in and we’re in the theater. We get the usual “first audience, temp music, unfinished F/X”, thought after watching it, I’d say the film’s around 95% completed, with some finalized digital F/X and possible music changes to be done. It ran around 2 hours with finished credits. Story: After a storm rolls through part of Maine, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his son Billy (Nathan Campbell) and neighbor Brent Norton (Andrew Braugher) go into town to get supplies at the local supermarket, leaving his wife behind. There at the market they meet with several of the locals including Ollie the meek Asst. Manager (Toby Jones), Jim the mechanic (William Sadler), stern school teacher Irene (Frances Sternhagen) and local “crazy” Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden). Together, they are trapped by a strange mist which surrounds them and is filled with abominations of unknown origin. The group struggles to survive not only the monsters outside the store, but the dark fears that are turning the people into “monsters”. It has been years since I’ve read the novella by Stephen King. But I remember it as a fun and fast tale of a last stand in a supermarket, which reminded me of one of my favorites- Dawn of the Dead So I went in expect a good, rollicking sci-fi monster romp. This movie was no romp. The Mist is a hard, dark, apocalyptic tale of ordinary people forced to face creatures without & within and everyone will pay a price to survive. Directed and written for the screen by Frank Darabont, this movie doesn’t pull its punches. Everyone’s in jeopardy, no one is safe no matter age, race or gender and not everyone is making it out of this film alive. It almost comes off as writer/director exercising some demons, forcing the audience to see just what people really are made of when faced with true danger and how far he’ll go to show it. I know the camera work was inspired by his time directing on “The Shield”, but that show’s dark vision has also seeped into this film. Both King’s novella and this adaptation have the fingerprints of Rod Serling and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” but pushed even farther into depravity. While I had fun and whooped at some of the creatures and gore (and there was plenty of gore), there are moments of great, taut tension that stays with you after the films has ended. It drains you by the end. The cast is top-notch and in excellent form, from Thomas Jane all the way to young Nathan Campbell. Everyone gives an air of grounded reality while trying to deal with the shocking realization that the world is now beyond their understanding. Some stand up and others just crumble. But it’s Marcia Gay Harden’s Mrs. Carmody that stands out for me. It would be easy to just slip into a ranting and raving “bible thumper” for this part. But we also see the wild charisma that transforms her from town looney to people’s prophet. This woman’s been waiting all her life for the mist to come. I actually hold out a slim hope that she be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress role next year. I think it would be well deserved. I know the effects weren’t completed, but I still thought they were excellent. There is a great mix of KNB’s practical effects and CafeFX’s digital f/x and it shows that they were working towards the same goals. And while digital effects can do a lot, there’s something so RIGHT about hearing a fantastical bug creatures land on the glass with a slight THOCK and strange reptilian albatrosses knock over shelves of groceries. These are nightmare creatures, some fantastical while others are just creatures from our world made larger and more hideous! Great work done by both companies. Some of the people in the audience thought some of the scenes went on too long, including the bug attack in the supermarket. I disagree and feel things might have been tightened but nothing cut. I would’ve liked a little earlier explanation of Mrs. Carmody’s place in the town “hierarchy” as well as why the Draytons go down in the cellar (I KNOW that it’s a Nor’easter, but others might wonder why thunder and rain would send some scrambling). Also, some of the audience didn’t like Sally the check girl’s sudden attraction to one of the soldiers, a local about to ship out. I can understand why they had a problem but I think there was enough information to justify it as well as why someone would crave affection at that time. Desperate times bring out strange feelings in people. The ending. I can’t talk about the ending. You can’t really talk about the ending in detail without having seen all that came before it. This isn’t something out of nowhere, but built on everything that came before, drawing us inevitability to the last scene. And I won’t be the guy that blows it for you I have two more things to say about the ending and while they aren’t literal spoilers, they might allude or compare to other film more than people want to know (this happened to me when a reviewer compared JACOB’S LADDER to… another film, which completely ruined the plot for me). So you are warned… -eseque. SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE 1-The ending is different from King’s novella; it is in fact MUCH DARKER. We are talking JET BLACK. 2-If you were to put this with a tonally appropriate double feature it would be JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING. SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE SPOILER-ESQUE A lot of people liked the ending. A lot of people didn’t like the ending, my friend Metamorphi being one of them. But nobody thought it uncalled for and only a few wanted it changed. Also, on the notice, it said that this wasn’t rated but likely a PG-13?!? MY ASS! PLEASE don’t cut it down to make it PG-13. If the MPAA gives it an R, then LEAVE IT THAT WAY! So come this November 21st, be prepared. Frank Darabont’s The Mist is coming… and it wants you, body and soul. I think I’m gonna have a drink now… and see when someone will show an advanced showing of I AM LEGEND. Worth Paying: Evening Prices… especially if you like dark, intelligent and suspenseful horror. Thanks guys, Randy of AFTimes (www.aftimes.com/ask.ran.shtml)