After a government-spawned "superflu" wipes out more than 90 percent of the earth's population, the devastated survivors must decide whether to support or resist the advances of a mysterious stranger from way down South (h... more »eh-heh) who wishes to claim this new world order for himself. Although the six-hour length makes it nigh-impossible to digest in one sitting, this well-paced adaptation of Stephen King's apocalyptic magnum opus ranks among the best adaptations of the author's work, with strong performances from Gary Sinise, Miguel Ferrer, and especially Jamey Sheridan as a good-old-boy version of Old Scratch. The opening scene, set to the strains of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper," is one of the most chilling things ever shot for television. Director Mick Garris is no stranger to King's world, having also helmed Sleepwalkers, the recent television remake of The Shining, and the upcoming Desperation. --Andrew Wright« less
Marilyn A. from EDGEWOOD, IL Reviewed on 2/19/2011...
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
King's "The Stand" sets up final conflict between good, evil
Alex Diaz-Granados | Miami, FL United States | 01/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hailed as one of the best fantasy/horror novels ever written, Stephen King's The Stand has been published in two different versions -- a slimmed down original edition in 1978 and a slightly updated and unabridged version in 1991. And although both stick to the same story -- a U.S. government-created strain of the flu wipes out 99% of humanity and the survivors join two opposing camps in the ultimate face-off between good and evil -- they differ somewhat, particularly at the very end.Of all of King's novels, The Stand is the one most of his readers ask about or comment on, and until 1994, when ABC commissioned a miniseries based on this sprawling opus, one question always was "Will there be a movie based on this one?" (King replied in the foreword to the "uncut and unabridged" edition that he thought there might be...) Unlike most of King's novels, the sheer scope of the novel guaranteed that The Stand would have to be a miniseries made for TV. To have compressed the 1,000-plus pages into a three-hour movie would have been impossible without deleting many characters and situations, a very risky proposition since The Stand is to King's legions of fans what The Lord of the Rings is to Tolkien's readers. And to have hired someone else to adapt it from book to teleplay would have been a risky proposition, so ABC asked King to take the writing reins.Happily, the 1994 "Stephen King's The Stand" turned out to be a marvelous miniseries, and while it did not break any Nielsen ratings as "Alex Haley's Roots" did in 1977, it did fairly well and earned many good reviews. The Artisan Home Entertainment Special Edition DVD of "Stephen King's The Stand" presents the complete miniseries on two DVDs, with The Plague and The Dreams on Disc One and The Betrayal and The Stand on Disc Two. Stripped of commercials and station identification/local news promos, the eight-hour running time is pared down to 366 minutes. Parts One and Two (The Plague, The Dreams) deal with the accidental release of a super-deadly strain of the flu from a secret military laboratory known as Project Blue. Although the base's security attempts to lock down the facility before the virus escapes, one guard and panics attempts to flee, unwittingly infecting his wife and daughter and beginning a chain reaction that will lead to the deaths of millions. Even so, a handful of people survive, and as they try to cope with the disaster and move on, they are guided by their dreams to join either the evil Randall Flagg or the good 106-year-old Mother Abigail. While Flagg sets up his police-state in Sin City itself, Las Vegas, the good guys (and gals) set up the Boulder Free Zone in Colorado...but this is only the setup for the darker conflict to come.Parts Three and Four (The Betrayal, The Stand) describe the apocalyptic conflict between good and evil as Flagg's people race to acquire weapons of mass destruction to assure their demonic master's victory over the power of the Light side represented by the Boulder Free Zone. Flagg, who was seen only in a few brief scenes in the first half, gets more airtime as the story finally focuses on the final conflict. It's an old storytelling technique but it works well here, and Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) plays the evil demon with a mixture of charm and menace.Despite the leeway allowed by the miniseries format and unusually open-mindedness from ABC's Standards and Practices division, the teleplay more closely follows the 1978 version rather the 1991 edition, particularly in the ending. King has to compress some parts here, combine some characters there to make the miniseries flow seamlessly and not go over budget (If ABC had commissioned a 12-hour teleplay, maybe the condensing would not have been necessary, but that's Monday-morning quarterbacking 10 years after the show aired). Even so, The Stand captures the spirit of the novel brilliantly.Credit is also due to director Mick Garris, who not only got great performances from such actors as Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Ray Walston and Rob Lowe, but also kept the huge storyline from dragging or getting too heavy-handed on the gross-out scale. Even though Artisan did give The Stand the Special Edition treatment by adding such features as 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, a "Making of" featurette and commentary by King, Garris, some of the major cast and Editor Pat McMahon (just to name a few of the extras), it doesn't have easily accessed subtitles. It does have closed captions, but for people with older models of TVs and non-standard players such as Xbox or Playstation 2 game systems that can also play DVDs this is not a very helpful option."
Amazing adaptation of Stephen King's apocalyptic novel
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 05/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the moment I first sat down to watch this miniseries in 1994 and heard the first few opening bars of "Don't Fear the Reaper," I have loved this movie. I have read every one of Stephen King's books and have seen most of the movies adapted from these books. Some of the adaptations have been awful, others good, and a few, such as The Shawshank Redemption, truly great; The Stand definitely belongs in this elite latter category. I have heard that some fans of King's novel were disappointed in this miniseries, but to me, what's not to like?What really makes this movie work is the exceptional--and at times unconventional--casting. The Stand was my first exposure to Gary Sinise, and I immediately fell in love with his perfect portrayal of Stu. One of my teen idols, Rob Lowe, did an absolute amazing job with the role of Nick, proving that he had true range as an actor long before The West Wing came along. I don't know why Adam Storke has not had more career success, as his personification of Larry Underwood was flawless. And the supporting cast was nothing short of stellar: terrific veteran actor Ray Walston as Glen Bateman, Bill Fagerbakke's sensitive portrayal of Tom Cullen, and Miguel Ferrar's perfectly desperate and despicable Lloyd Henried. Although I would not have pictured Jamey Sheridan as Flagg, he definitely brought the character to life, striking a deft balance between Flagg's evil and humorous sides. The one woefully miscast role was Molly Ringwald's Frannie--I don't think she was what King or anyone else had in mind for this character. However, given that most of Ringwald's scenes are with Gary Sinise, this flaw is easily overlooked.Fans of the novel will definitely notice some changes to the plot, but these modifications were obviously necessary to keep this epic story to just under 6 hours. However, the feel and flavor of the work remain unaltered, as the purity of King's classic good versus evil tale clearly shines through. Finally, the haunting musical score serves to heighten the emotion of this captivating film. I have enjoyed repeated viewings of this miniseries over the years, and it has remained one of my all-time favorite movies."
Fair Miniseries Adaptation, Excellent Behind The Scenes DVD
S. Smith | 08/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those who are looking to "experience" The Stand for the first time, I strongly recommend reading the book first. The book is the best version of this story containing scenes written with such detail, great dialogue, great character development, and it is so real that once you've read the last page you'll feel as though you woke up from a fantastic dream where you wish you could go back to sleep and continue living in Stephen King's fantasyland.With that said, the six hour TV miniseries (minus two hours of television commercials that aren't on the DVD) gets a passing grade of about a C+. The choice of actors chosen for the TV miniseries range from the excellent, to good, to the not so good. The best casting choices were Gary Sinise as Stuart Redman, Rob Lowe as Nick Andros, Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen, Jamey Sheridan as Randall Flagg, and Laura San Giacomo as Nadine Cross. Those that presented their characters in a convincing manner were Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail, Adam Storke as Larry Underwood, and Ray Walston as Glen Bateman. The worst casting mistakes were Molly Ringwald as Fran Goldsmith, Corin Nemec as Harold Lauder, and Matt Frewer as the Trashcan Man. It is true that when people read an excellent novel, like The Stand, the wonderful imagination of the mind's eye takes over, and each of us sees wonderful characters in our own way. This is something that Mr. King addressed in his author's note about being asked frequently if his book would ever be a movie. I too, agree with Mr. King's observation, as the TV miniseries has only some actors portraying characters as I pictured them when reading the book.Most of the subtle details, important dialogue and scenes between characters are omitted from the miniseries, as there just simply isn't time, even in a miniseries six hours long, one of the longest ever made for regular network television. Watching the miniseries made me wonder what The Stand would have looked like if it were a 12 hour miniseries on HBO, or if it had the attention to detail to the original story that other Stephen King movies have had, like The Green Mile.Criticisms aside, the miniseries of The Stand does have scenes that do a good job of emphasizing important scenes in the story. My favorite scenes were of Nick meeting Tom, and of their journey across several states to get to Mother Abigail's home. I also liked the opening moments of the miniseries, as it closely matches the introductory quotations, and opening moments of the book.Best of all, the commentary track of The Stand is the all time best of any DVD that I have heard -- it is a great example why DVD is now such a popular medium. If you loved the story that is The Stand, and want to know more, this DVD has it all. Some vague information of how The Stand came to be is in Stephen King's author's notes, and in his nonfiction work, Danse Macabre. It was a real treat to listen to the DVD's extensive commentary from Stephen King, who talks thoughout the miniseries about the characters, how he created them, and what issues and difficulties he faced in finishing this great novel. Also included are commentaries by director Mick Garris, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Jamey Sheridan and Ruby Dee, who all sounded like they had fun commenting on the making of the TV miniseries. Unlike lesser behind the scenes commentaries, the commentary track for The Stand is a real pleasure to listen to, which is why I strongly recommend purchasing this DVD."
A Classic Good vs. Evil Drama
S. Smith | Denver, CO | 02/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As Stephen King himself has said, The Stand is taken straight out of the Book of Revelations in the Bible, and this, in my opinion, makes the miniseries a classic tale of good versus evil. With nearly all the world's population dead due to a genetically engineered virus, the survivors begin to coalesce into two groups--one led by the benevolent Mother Abagail, and the other by the demonic Randall Flagg. It might seem through the first 3 parts of the miniseries that Flagg's group are in the ascendancy, but Mother Abagail & Co. have quite a few tricks up their sleeves.The crop of actors in Stephen King's The Stand were a great bunch as well. Gary Sinise was perfect for the part of Stu Redman, the country boy from small-town Texas, and Molly Ringwald as Fran Goldsmith was very good. Adam Storke made a very believable Larry Underwood, and the casting of Coach's Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen was an inspired choice. I especially loved the late Ray Walston as Glen Bateman, Jamey Sheridan as Flagg, Ruby Dee and her husband Ossie Davis in their respective parts of Mother Abagail and Judge Farris, Rob Lowe as Nick Andros, Just Shoot Me's Laura San Giacomo as Nadine Cross, the late Rosemary Clooney's son Miguel Ferrer as Lloyd Henreid, and Max Headroom's Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man. I had no complaints about Stargate SG-1's Corin (Corky) Nemec as Harold Lauder except for the fact that they could have plumped him out a bit for the part and had him lose weight so he'd be slender once he got to Boulder. Other than that, his acting was excellent.I'd also like to give a nod to two very wonderful actors whose parts were uncredited, but who nevertheless made a valuable contribution to the story: Apollo 13's Ed Harris as General Starkey, the commander of Blue Base (where the virus is made) and Misery's Kathy Bates as talk-radio host Rae Flowers, whose refusal to withhold the truth from the American people earns her a bullet in the head. Although you only see them in Part 1 of the miniseries, their roles were brilliantly acted and necessary to the story.The Making of Stephen King's The Stand documentary, included on both DVD and VHS, gave some good insights into the filming of this wonderfully scary miniseries. When I found out how much work had gone into making it, I was astonished, and when I discovered that hundreds of King fans had flocked to Vegas for some of the crowd scenes there, I found myself turning green with envy. I wish I had been there... The DVD also includes commentary by the principal actors and crew as well as Stephen King himself, along with a Make-Up Effects gallery, which includes Randall Flagg's transformations and the old-age makeup used on Ruby Dee as Mother Abagail.All in all, Stephen King's The Stand is a keeper. It'll scare the living daylights out of you, but you'll want to watch it over and over."
CAPTIVATING; NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU SEE IT!
gotstuff | 01/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, let me start out by saying THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL BLOOD AND GUTS/HORROR MOVIE! There's just so much more to it. In This movie, a government "super-flu" wipes out most of the population of the world, except for two small armies of people that will eventually engage in the ultimate battle between good and evil! (Which side will win? This is a question that has plaqued man-kind for centuries)! There is a little bit of EVERYTHING in this movie: drama, fear,suspense, love, friendship, craziness, sex, and yes, even THE DEVIL HIMSELF, taking the form of an obnoxious, wise-cracking cowboy! Sure this movie is long, but never, NEVER does it get boring! The plot literally sucks you in,until you practically feel yourself becoming part of the story! I never grow tired of analyzing all the character's different personalities. In addition, this movie also makes you think: If Armeggedon really did happen like this, where would you fit in? Which side would you be on? Definitely Steven King's BEST work-to-date! (After watching, you'll never be able to look at a plain old black crow in the same way)!"