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Two Minute Reviews (Read 33 times)
Webbie
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Two Minute Reviews
Aug 15th, 2017, 9:31pm
 
TWO MINUTE REVIEWS: 11/22/63--THE SERIAL
  I spent this weekend binge watching the Hulu serialization of Stephen King's 11/22/63. I did so with some trepidation because Hollywood frequently botches King's work (Cujo; Christine; and--most recently and unforgivably--The Gunslinger). My trepidation persisted as the lengthy serial progressed and screen writers--infinitely less talented than King--apparently made changes to one of the Master's best stories.

  Now, before I go on, I must say that I think 11/22/63 King's 2nd best, stand-alone, long work. It trails only The Stand and that by less than a whisker. It is one of the few--the very few--stories that have moved me to tears. I've read the text often, listened to the audio book three times, and, now, have watched the broadcast on DVD. My verdict: despite the differences, good bordering on very good.

  Anyone who's read the book will spot the differences almost at once. Several subplots have been altered and a few jettisoned entirely. Many of the subtle touches that King uses to humanize his characters and touchstone his episodes have vanished. I'm sure that much of that meddling stemmed from the need to keep length manageable. I would have preferred it if the producers had used trilogy, Lord of the Rings treatment for this piece, but the serialization approach was, I guess, more cost effective.

  I grouse and wish it were different, but when I consider the piece without direct comparison to the book, I must give it fairly high marks. James Franco is likable and convincing as Jake Epping/Amberson. Sarah Gadon brings her fresh beauty and surprising acting chops to her turn as Jake's beloved Sadie. George MacKay performance is strong--if totally non-book--as Bill Turcotte and Daniel Webber is appropriately creepy and surprisingly sympathetic in his role of Lee Harvey Oswald. Supporting players are more than adequate and, despite several unexplained holes in the screenplay, the piece plays well. It holds the viewer's attention throughout its several hour length and rarely fails to engage.

  The book's better--much better--but this serialization ain't bad. It certainly surpasses the cinematic crud of The Tommyknockers or (G_d forbid) Maximum Overdrive. If you've read the book, watch this with an open mind. For that approach, I rate it 2 1/2 smiles Smiley Smiley :-. If you haven't read the book, watch this first. For that approach, I give it 3  :-) Smiley Smiley.



Gary A. Markette
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