‘The Stand’: Everything could be even worse

Selon un article publié sur le site web directinfo.webmanagercenter.com le January 14, 2021 par Explica.co ,

In the late 1970s, Stephen King and his already small family lived in Boulder, Colorado. He had just published The Shining and was trying to write a novel about the abduction and brainwashing of actress Patty Hearst. But there was no way it would work. He would stay up late, listening to a Bible station just for voices in the background. One night he heard a preacher say, « Once in every generation the plague will come down on them. » He liked it so much that he wrote it down and pasted it on his typewriter. Imagine a super flu, he thought next. Something that ends in a matter of days with 99% of the population. It is hypercontagious. But there are those who are not contagious. A select few. Guys like the Patty Hearst cult, he told himself.

Apocalypse had just been born, his most ambitious novel to date, whose timely readaptation – King himself signed one in 1994 – in the midst of a global pandemic places the viewer for the first time before an apocalyptic fiction that has nothing supernatural. Although it actually does, of course. Because King imagined a fight between Good and Evil, with nods to everything he is passionate about in the background – starting with The Wizard of Oz – and created for the occasion the great villain of his fiction: Randall Flagg, a guy in jeans , a sorcerer who, apparently, was involved in the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, among hundreds of thousands of horrible things. That alone allows The Stand (Starzplay) not to terrify as much as it inevitably does.

Because the premise is so reminiscent of what the planet has been experiencing since the end of 2019, even though our virus does not have the degree of virulence of the so-called Captain Globetrotter, or Captain Trips – King himself was in charge of making it clear as soon as the pandemic was unleashed that « Things could have been much worse » – which even illuminates a new way of consuming global apocalyptic terror, and is one in which the enemy is already here. That makes, at least, the series, of limited invoice – like almost any adaptation of King’s work on television, with the exception of the powerful The Visitor -, a more than efficient antidote to unconcern. It reinforces the fear of the pandemic, yes, but it does it, like all horror fiction, for a good cause.

Since terror asks us again and again to be careful, to think about the consequences of every last act, but also every last wish, here the message is amplified by placing a distorting mirror before a world that he has been mired in what could be considered, for any speculative fiction, the beginning of the end for more than a year. In the same way that Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion went from being labeled a sci-fi movie to plain drama, the week the pandemic was officially declared, if there were a quantifier of realism, The Stand’s would undoubtedly have risen. , and the fantastic element would play the necessary role of degreasing an unbearable terror, as it does.

And that is the main virtue of a series with countless characters and time jumps – as in the endless original – in which the cast – which includes Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgård and an overactive James Marsden in the skin of the mythical Stu Redman— is correct, except for Harold Lauder’s character, a very successful Owen Teague. Lauder, a sort of adolescent Jack Torrance — and King — accumulates rejection letters from publishers and indiscriminate bullying until the pandemic hits and it all doesn’t matter. Or not. Because, although the girl he likes, Frannie, is like him, among the very few survivors, she does not plan to go out with him. And he keeps accumulating hatred.

Teague typing a maleficent novel on an Adler – like Jack Nicholson in The Shining – is more than just a nod to the past, and certainly the least imposing character in an action drama directed and written by a fan, Josh Boone, who He had been trying to lift the project for seven years and he saw at the beginning of last year how, thanks to the pandemic, everything was unlocked. Boone, who read King’s novel when he was 12 and who says his parents, strict Baptists, burned it in the fireplace when they discovered it, intended it to be a four-part film. Before him, none other than George A. Romero, Scott Cooper, and Ben Affleck had tried to do the same, without success. Back then, a dry cough wasn’t scary.

Although if there is something that can reconcile the fan with such a lackluster adaptation, it is the epilogue written by Stephen King himself. The author is in charge of episode ten, the last, and closes with him the story of Frannie Goldsmith, the most beloved and unjustly abandoned character in the original plot, as King himself has confessed. Because everything else, starting with the attempt to update the time —completely unnecessary: ​​they talk about the Internet and mobile phones and, a second later, say that everything has been disconnected— that misses the opportunity to build a fiction set in the forgotten nineties. , the decade in which the original is set, marked by the end of the Cold War, and a certain political tone completely blurred here.

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