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Blu-ray Review: Stephen King’s The Stand: Collector’s Edition

September 30, 2019

By John Corrado

Originally airing over four nights on ABC back in 1994, the mini-series The Stand has now received a new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release from Paramount to mark it’s 25th anniversary.

Adapted from Stephen King’s mammoth 1978 bestseller, which is one of his longest books at over eight hundred pages, the series unfolds in the days and months following the accidental release of a super virus from a government facility, where it was being developed as a biochemical weapon, and follows a group of survivors who are connected by their seeming immunity to the virus.

The characters also share dreams guiding them towards either the angelic Mother Abigail (Ruby Dee) in Nebraska or the demonic Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan) in Las Vegas, setting the stage for a final showdown between good and evil. The massive cast of characters includes Stu Redman (Gary Sinise), a Texan who is the first to discover his immunity; Fran Goldsmith (Molly Ringwald), a young woman who joins the others after her father (Ken Jenkins) succumbs to the sickness; as well as Nick Andros (Rob Lowe), a deaf-mute man who teams up with the developmentally disabled Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke).

All four episodes are directed by Mick Garris, and the screenplay was written by King himself, who also appears in a small supporting role. The roughly six hour series had an estimated budget of $28 million, which was huge for its time, and the show spans multiple locations across the United States, connecting tons of leading and supporting characters through multiple subplots. Elements of the series are quite dated, including some pretty cheesy special effects, and the performances can be uneven.

Parts of it also do drag, with some of the complex mythology feeling brushed over or underdeveloped, and the final showdown seems rushed and is undercut by its laughable “Hand of God” visual effects. But overall this is a decent and largely entertaining adaptation of King’s work that features enough engaging moments – as well as some solid song choices – to make it worth checking out for fans. It’s worth noting there is also a new television adaptation of the book that is being developed for the streaming platform CBS All Access, and is set to come out sometime next year.

The Blu-ray also includes an audio commentary track featuring Garris and King joined by a few special guests, as well as the short archival featurette The Making of Stephen King’s The Stand, which looks at the production of the mini-series. The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, and has been restored from the original camera negative for this release, with some newly enhanced visual effects.

Stephen King’s The Stand: Collector’s Edition is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. It’s approximately 5 hours and 59 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: September 24th, 2019

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