After a deadly plague kills most of the world's population, the remaining survivors split into two groups - one led by a benevolent elder and the other by a maleficent being - to face each other in a final battle between good and evil.
During the midst of a brutal blizzard, residents of an off-shore village are menaced by a powerful force of darkness in the form of a sinister stranger who begins to exploit the town ... See full summary »
Becky Ann Baker,
On a red eye flight to Boston from LA 10 people wake up to a shock. All the passengers and crew have vanished. When they try to contact the ground they make no connections. They land the plane only to discover that things haven't changed. But its like the world is dead. No one is there, the air is still, sound doesn't echo, the food is tasteless. And a distant sound is heard coming closer. A race of monstrous beings bent on their destruction is heading for them, eating everything in sight. Written by
Faithful TV adaptation delivers within its boundaries
Deep within the video cabinet, my girlfriend pulled out a movie she wanted me to see. I had to watch it, and I couldn't question her choice. And so I watched Stephen King's The Langoliers. Seeing as my girlfriend is a huge mark for King's work, I wouldn't have been surprised by the choice, neither would I be surprised after watching the opening credits that I was in for a low-budget, made for TV effort. While thinking it was a late-80s, early-90s movie I still wasn't shocked it turned out to be a 1995 production. I sat there and expected ropey effects, some dodgy acting and uninspiring production, and again I wasn't surprised. When something like this gets the green light, you have to believe that at least there's a good underlining story. Thankfully that's where The Langoliers delivers. The medium expects you to suspend your disbelief, and you have to do so to get the most out of this, but the premise is strong and the characters, while clichéd which is unavoidable in this type of story, have enough depth to contribute to the plot and tackle the problems ahead.
Dean Stockwell treads water as mystery writer, Bob Jenkins, only delivering lines; a shame given the character's contribution. David Morse (Cpt. Engle) and Mark Lindsay Chapman (Nick Hopewell) do the most to carry the movie along both as characters and performers. I was most impressed with Morse's very matter of fact take of the pilot. Pinchot's Craig Toomey, the loopy head case that's always tough to get right, doesn't quite hit the mark but gets very close. The other actors are substandard TV movie fare, particularly Maberly's poorly acted blind girl, Dinah. She nails acting blind, but is otherwise terribly distracting (rather like Kimber Riddle's hippy breasts).
The plot is involving, the concept intriguing and the whole thing unravels from the characters' perspective so you're never that far ahead and waiting for the movie to catch up with you if you start sussing things out. Suspense does build and the tension with both the incoming noise (and the unknown threat it brings) plus Toomey's threatening insanity can be tangible at points, but the main set-piece is only as effective as the budget allows. The graphics certainly do the what they're meant to but don't quite pay off the build-up.
The biggest criticism is length. I sat through this in one sitting, and three hours really drag. The intended mini-series structure is all too evident and is the only way this piece works, it feels way too long for one sitting. If you can get past the trappings of a TV movie straining at the sides of its budget and you're prepared to watch with a pinch of salt, you'll get an interesting take on time travel adequately presented. If cheesy TV movies aren't your thing, then you'd be better of reading the book. It's apparently one of the truest adaptations of King's work so let's be thankful he didn't write a stinker to begin with.
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