Monday, April 14, 2008

The Mist, Addendum

For both of you who actually care what I have to say about The Mist (beyond yesterday's already lengthy review), I have two more observations that are absolutely packed with film-shattering spoilers so for the love of god please proceed with extreme caution.



Observation The First:

I mentioned this in my review yesterday, but my god the people in this film are jaw-droppingly stupid. I can't quite stress how annoying it is to watch a two hour display of unrealistic decision making.

To wit:

Characters wrestle with alien tentacles coming through an open docking door for a good two minutes before someone decides to try closing the door.

Characters pile up bags of dog food to fortify the massive glass windows that make up the front wall of the store, despite the fact that everyone could be moved to the back docking room that is far less open and has doors that would be easy to barricade.

The protagonist's end plan involves piling everyone into his truck and driving until out of either gas or supernatural mist, whichever happens first. As opposed to, say, driving to a quarter of a tank and then siphoning gas from a stranded vehicle. As opposed to, say, trying to find enclosed suites of buildings like malls that might house other bands of survivors. As opposed to, say, any damn thing that makes sense.

Some may dismiss my complaints outright as expecting too much from a B movie, but the fact is everything hinges on the audience buying into the characters enough to experience the unfolding horror directly through them, and this illusion is shattered when characters earn loathing via a string of head-smacking decisions.


Observation the Second:

Yeah, the ending was great and all, but was it really the best ending for that particular film? The original novella had a slightly more ambiguous close featuring the protagonist heading for Hartford on vague indications of possible human activity. Darabont axes that in favor for the suicide-pact-gotcha, which completely changes the angle of the film by justifying the religious zealot's actions. She spilled the blood necessary to appease her god, and in the end her people are rescued while the disbelievers are damned to the darkest level of personal hell.

Far more satisfying, for me, would have been a compromise between the two, a vague ending that still suggests a bleak future for mankind. End directly after the protagonist and co. witness the massive, mountain-like alien crossing the highway, albeit punch it up slightly:

They near a major city in the search for civilization, truck suddenly sputtering on empty. Then the giant beast wanders over, the awed passengers visually following its path as it passes and--here's the money shot--the fog parts enough to reveal the first shots of the obviously empty city, another distant alien behemoth--this one even larger--carelessly knocking over a dark and dead skyscraper as it lumbers across the landscape.

The new management has arrived.



This, for the record, is probably the most I've ever written about a movie I couldn't stand.

1 comment:

Webmaster said...

For the record, there is no evidence that the people who stayed in the super market survived. The only recognizable survivor on the trucks was the lady who left very early on to get her kids.

My take on the movie requires a lot less processing and thought, and lines up with Roger Eberts review pretty well:

"If you have seen ads or trailers suggesting that horrible things pounce on people, and they make you think you want to see this movie, you will be correct. It is a competently made Horrible Things Pouncing on People Movie. If you think Frank Darabont has equaled the "Shawshank" and "Green Mile" track record, you will be sadly mistaken."

I was in camp A, and was entertained.

That being said, I mostly agree with your take on it. I just enjoyed in none-the-less.