starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, John Lithgow
screenplay by Jeff Buhler, based on the novel by Stephen King
directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. The best adaptations understand the totality of an author's work, while the worst try to drag something kicking and screaming from one medium into another, largely incompatible, medium. The famous Frank Zappa quote--writing about music is like dancing about architecture--applies, except that it is possible to dance about architecture if you're a brilliant dancer and understand the essence of the architecture you're taking as inspiration. I think Zappa knew that, being Zappa. I like to believe he actually meant that it's possible, but hard. Stephen King's Pet Sematary is exceptional. I reread it for the first time in thirty-three years before watching the new adaptation from co-directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. I remember, as a child of thirteen, the visceral fear of those last twenty pages or so (and the hot sex scene); now I'll remember it for the extraordinarily observant and sensitive portrayal of grief and loneliness in the novel's first couple-hundred pages. Indeed, the first sentence, talking about how men sometimes meet the man who should have been their father in the middle of their lives, immediately reduced me to tears. Both the Lambert and the Kölsch/Widmyer adaptations focus on the twenty-page payoff, not the two-hundred pages of poetry.