review by Bobby Blakey
There have been many Stephen King stories brought to TV and film, but sadly more often than no they don’t always deliver. The latest to get brought to life was the mini-series 11.22.63 starring James Franco, Chris Cooper, Sarah Gadon, George MacKay, Daniel Webber, and Lucy Fry, but does it offer up anything as intriguing as the bestselling novel or should it get lost in time forever?
11.22.63 follows Jake Epping, a recently divorced English teacher from Maine who is presented with the chance to travel back in time to Dallas, Texas in 1960 by his longtime friend Al Templeton. He is convinced into going and attempts to prevent the assassination of JFK in November 1963. However, he becomes attached to the life he makes in the past and this could be his mission's undoing. While I have never read the book so cannot speak of its accuracy in transition from book to screen, I can say that this is a great mini-series all around. Anytime time travel gets involved there are so many things that tend to go wrong, but this story is so well crafted and told that it thankfully doesn’t fall into that abyss. While the primary focus is on Franco trying to stop the assassination of JFK, there is so much more here. Leading up to the actual day of the day in question there are so many other relationships and events that shape all the characters around him that you know is changing history and it will leaving you on the edge of your seat to see where it goes. It is always interesting to see iconic historical moments get interwoven into stories like this and there are plenty that will leave you smiling as you remember them and see how they make them work.
Everyone here does a great job, but in the end this is Franco’s show. He brings all the needed emotion and passion to the role needed to make you buy into this guy’s situation. There are a few issues in regards to how quickly he buys into the situation and jumps on board, but when you are trying to tell a story like this in only 8 episodes. This is an intriguing story that offers up a slow build while not wasting anytime to getting you enough information and intrigue as it builds up to the ultimate end. The ending, as expected, does offer up some dramatic effects to the timeline setting up a bit more to enjoy after that all leading up to a satisfying end that perfectly caps off this great story.
In addition to all 8 episodes of the series it also includes a featurette featuring King, Abrams, Carpenter, and Franco talking about elements of the production that brought the novel to life. Whether you are a fan of King, Franco, history time travel or just great storytelling grab your copy of 11.22.63 available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.