The Langoliers

1995, Movie, NR, 180 mins

Review

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In the plentiful field of bad Stephen King adaptations, THE LANGOLIERS surpasses even MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE for sheer awfulness. Dully scripted and spun out to the length of a TV mini-series (which is how it was originally shown), this most tedious of all King-flicks deals with a crack in the sphere of time. By the time the movie's over, you'll feel as if you've fallen through it.

At some point on a cross-country flight headed for Boston, all of the passengers except those who are sleeping disappear without a trace. Seeking an explanation, the terrified remaining travelers spot a blackout over Denver and debate their next move. Although Craig Toomy (Bronson Pinchot), a vituperative tycoon on the lam after siphoning company funds, insists they stay on schedule, pilot Brian Engle (David Morse) follows majority rule and lands in Bangor, Maine. There, the survivors notice that they have lost the ability to smell and taste. Flashbacks to Toomy's abused childhood appear in the mind of Dinah Bellman (Kate Maberly), a blind child with psychic powers. These scenes clue her in to the peril ahead, as Toomy prattles on about the time-eating custodians of eternity who eat the lazily irresponsible. Although Dinah warns everyone to flee from an insidious crunching noise, the unhinged Toomy complicates refueling efforts by stabbing Dinah in the chest (she later recovers) and fatally attacking another passenger. Before take-off, Toomy is consumed by the time-eating Langoliers who then start munching the runway. Safely in the air, hitman Nick Hopewell (Mark Lindsay Chapman) volunteers to pilot the plane while the others sleep so that they can fly squarely back through the time-hole. After landing, the passengers of this ill-fated flight find their time-space equilibrium restored to normal; Hopewell's decision to sacrifice his life was not in vain.

This foolish time-travel is so padded that you'll think that you're part of a scientific experiment on the expansion of time caused by bad TV movies. And when those animated Langoliers start chomping the scenery, you'll be wishing that these big mouths were played by Joe E. Brown and Martha Raye. THE LANGOLIERS parades cardboard characters through a procession of science-fiction mumbo jumbo that gives viewers ample time to allow their own lives to flash before them. This overlong flapdoodle is irrevocably wrecked by its dishwatery cast. The sole exception is Pinchot, who rolls his eyes like an alien thespian from the Planet Ham. Plagued by ludicrous special effects and sunken with the dialogue of a technical training film, THE LANGOLIERS commits a cardinal sin against sci-fi; it makes it so thoroughly tiresome you don't even bother to question its premises; you just yearn for this dentist drill of a movie to stop boring you. (Violence, adult situations.) leave a comment

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