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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stephen King's 'Bag Of Bones' Part 1

 Film adaptions of Stephen King's novels are in a word, a gamble. Sometimes they win and other times they bomb spectacularly. Sadly, Bag of Bones so far seems to be camping in the fail territory.

   The film and novel follow Mike Noonan, an author suffering from writer's block after the untimely death of his wife, Jo. He seeks refuge in their vacation home and soon finds himself being haunted by spirits from beyond. Mike also becomes embroiled in a custody battle between a young mother and her powerful father in law.

   Mike is played by Pierce Brosnan, he is definitely not how I pictured Mike. I am not sure who I would have cast, but Brosnan would not be on that list. Other problems I have with the casting is Melissa George playing the young mother, Maddie.

  Maddie is supposed to a 20 year old girl in over her head. Her youth and innocence are partly what drove the novel. Melissa George is 35 and no amount of suspended disbelief can change that. She comes off more like a jaded soccer mom than an innocent little flower.  Matt Frewer, one of my favorite actors also appears. However so far in the film, he is being woefully underused. Jason Priestley also appears as Mike's agent, Marty.

   The first part of the film is slow and borderline coma-inducing. I understand they are trying to set up the story but it feels more like 2 hours of filler before the good stuff happens. How many times do we have to see Brosnan cry? And the unnecessary montages featuring him jogging and writing are ludicrous. Just as the movie started to get interesting the cable decided to go out for ten minutes. God has a sense of humor.

    My main quibble with this film is how they handled Jo's death. In the book it was a brain embolism, in the movie it was one of the fakest bus crashes I had ever seen. The character was pregnant for Pete's sake, the bus seemed to be a low blow. I know filming a brain embolism would have been hard to do. They could've have easily changed it to a heart attack, a simple clutching of the chest would have been sufficient for the audience.

    Speaking of ridiculous scenes, one scene in particular demonstrated how much better a book is than a film. In the book, there is a moose head who inexplicably gets more screen time than Matt Frewer. His name is Bunter and he wears a little bell. Mike and Jo apparently knocked boots soon after buying Mr. Moose. After that they refer to sex as ringing Bunter's bell.

   Now when a book character silently reminisces on this, it's sweet and tender story. When a movie character blurts it out to an elderly caretaker that he just met, it's creepy and more than a little awkward. And Pierce Brosnan is officially never allowed to utter the word frisky ever again.

  I will be tuning into part 2, because I am a masochist who hates myself. But this movie better step up it's game and become interesting.


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