The Stand (1994)
Directed By: Mick Garris
Starring: Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Miguel Ferrer, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Jamey Sheridan, Matt Frewer, Ray Walston, Laura San Giacomo, Shawnee Smith
Subgenre: Supernatural, Apocalyptic
Synopsis: The accidental release of a super flu virus from a government facility triggers a global pandemic that kills the majority of the population. The survivors find themselves either courted by the devil himself or compelled to follow a higher power.
Thoughts: In my mind, The Stand is one of Stephen King’s greatest books, but we are talking about the film adaptation here. King wrote the teleplay for The Stand, choosing to deliver it as a four part mini-series in lieu of the big screen. I think that was a great idea as The Stand was such a massive story that it would have been impossible to tell the story of all the integral characters in the space of a standard length film. As it is, it does a pretty effective job of conveying the massiveness of the book onto the small screen.
Mick Garris did a fine job pulling everything together and telling King’s story. While Garris isn’t flashy, he seems to get the job done more often than not. The cast for The Stand is great. The only role I had a problem with was Molly Ringwold. Her acting is so wooden that it is distracting. Other than that, there are some great roles and characters throughout.
Much like the book, the miniseries can be a bit of a task to get through. It sits at about 360 minutes, so it is going to take some time to get through. It can seem slow at times, but the strength of the story lies within the development of the characters. This is not a movie for action junkies. It takes time to develop so many characters, but it is worth it in the end.
Speaking of the end, I think that may be one of the weakest parts of the entire story. It is pretty easy to see coming, and seems a little cheap for a battle between Good and Evil. I guess it had to end somewhere, and what better way than to go out with a bang in the City of Sin. I loved the fact that the “bad guys” chose to take up residence in Las Vegas.
Overall, I enjoyed The Stand. I do think there are better King adaptations out there, but Mick Garris and the cast did a good job here. This is worth checking out, especially for King fans.