Wow, Stephen King’s 11.22.63 eight-part mini-series on Hulu, now that was an adaptation!
There have been some great adaptations of the legendary author’s works, The Green Mile, The Mist, and Shawshank Redemption to name a few, and some blunders (I’ll keep these to myself), but 11.22.63 is one of the best emanations of his books onto the film medium.
This is a spoiler free spout of words, though I delve into the overall plot that you would read on the inside cover of the book.
This J.J. Abrams produced mini-series was made to accurately portray an amazing tale of mystery, visually.
11/22/63, the novel, was one of King’s most ambitious pieces and is, in this author’s humble opinion, one of his greatest works.
Mr. King came up with the idea in 1971, less than a decade removed from President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald (with help . . . possibly).
The idea required years of research and due diligence to sift through the many yarns told on that day, the myriad conspiracy theories, and the records of the very very strange FBI, CIA, and other US government agencies’ involvement with the one man we do know shot the President on that horrific day.
King, being very wise, felt he could not run with the idea at that point, because he did not have the time or wherewithal to invest himself fully into what he knew would consume his brain, his researching skills, and his skills as the most gifted of writers taking on a steep task of historical fiction with a time traveling twist.
Did Oswald act alone?
Did the CIA put him up to it?
Was there a second shooter?
These age-old questions have loomed for over fifty years and though we are no closer to finding the truth in our own timeline, King imagines answers to all of these questions and more in his epic story.
There is so much research, not just into how the 1950’s and 1960’s were in the US, but also into the lives of the Oswald’s and the crazy events that happened in history, from General Walker’s failed assassination attempt, to the hand written letter Lee wrote to a federal agent. There are so many documented details from numerous sources about that day and the days leading up to it.
The book 11/22/63 was a huge success in both a long stay on the best seller list, and the tremendously emotional and epic journey of Jake Epping.
And the TV mini-series is just as impactful.
Jake learns of a secret door at Al’s Diner to September 9, 1958, at 11:58 a.m.
You go through and come back to 2011.
You go back to the same time and events in 1958.
Al has been going back to 1958 and researching the Marxist Lee Oswald to see if he acted alone to murder JFK or if he acted for a Communist or democratic agency.
You can come back to the future in the 2000’s and any changes you made in the past keep, at least until you go back in time again, which resets it all back to the start.
Al has become consumed with the idea of saving JFK on 11/22/63 and forever altering history to improve the world.
But the past does not want to change, and it fights back.
Jake takes on the quest Al bestows him, but the past quickly becomes an invisible character in the book and TV show, creepily popping light bulbs and generally ruining the divorced English teacher’s day any time he comes close to altering reality.
Jake, the man from the future, endures the up and downs of finding the love of his life in the past.
And all the while it is years before he can try and prevent the horrid result of 11.22.63 and they go by slowly in a suspenseful series of tribulations and challenges that are often word for word, scene for scene as King described them in the book.
The look and feel of the times are perfect.
The deep and serious performance of Jake Epping might be the best James Franco has ever been; it is outstanding and the performance of a lifetime.
The eerie details come through so well on film. The translation is nearly flawless.
The time traveling conundrum is fun and thrilling.
The story is an emotional gravitational force, as you are pulled so very hard.
And in the end it all comes down to one infamous day: 11.22.63.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com