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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stephen King's The Mist

I went with my good friends to see The Mist tonight, and well... I thought it was far below average. There was a couple of times where I would have walked out if I were not with a group of people. To sum up the movie in a single word, it was "unconvincing".

O.K. it's a movie based on a Steven King book, it's a monster survival-horror movie, I understand all that. But in order to suspend disbelief when it comes to spiders that shoot a silk capable of burning straight through human flesh and a gigantic 100' tall five-legged, tentacled -clad AT-AT that is somehow incapable of breaking glass or knocking down an aluminum loading dock door, the rest of the plot has to be rock solid. For instance, I highly doubt that in less than 36 hours, a group of modern Americans could be turned in to a 16th century fanatical mob of fundamentalist Christians due to the maniacal rantings of the town kook. Also, the token black dude wasn't the first to die. That honor was left to the bag-boy, played by Chris Owen, who you might remember as the "freckled faced cartoon" in Major Payne (props to the MoD for recognizing him).

Now the most interesting thing about this film is how the mist and the monsters arrived at this sleepy Maine town. It is revealed about 3/4 the way through that the military was conducting experiments in a nearby secrete research facility using sub-atomic particles to punch windows to other dimensions to see what was there. Apparently, an experiment went haywire and ripped open a portal that allowed these fantastic extra-dimensional monsters to move from their world in to ours. Sound a bit familiar?

After that scene, I halfway expected Gordon Freeman to appear out of the mist in his HEV suit to save the day.

We made several Half-Life jokes back and forth until the ending, which was about as unpredictable as the date of Christmas. When we left the theater, I joked that Valve should sue the makes of this movie for appropriating the architecture of Half-Life. I was wrong; it should be the other way around. From Wikipedia:
The original code name for Half-Life was Quiver, after the Arrowhead military base from Stephen King's novella The Mist, which served as early inspiration for the game. Gabe Newell explained that the name Half-Life was chosen because it was evocative of the theme, not clichéd, and had a corresponding visual symbol: the Greek letter λ (lower-case lambda), which represents the decay constant in the half-life equation.
I don't think it was worth the $18 I spent at the theater, but I'm sure others will like it. I give it 1 1/2 hammer and sickles.



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