Directed and Written by
Based on the novella by Stephen King
IMDb 6.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes 50% Metacritic NO DATA
Okay guys, this is a three-hour flick. If you can get through it, it’s a good movie. Most Stephen King stories make good movies. But, it IS long and it DOES take some time to develop. They ask the same questions of each other over and over again when the audience has it figured out in a matter of seconds. If you can stomach that, you’ll be fine.
The story is about eleven people. Eleven people on a red-eye American Pride flight. Flight #29, destination…Boston. But they soon have to make a detour into…The Twilight Zone. No, I’m kidding, I couldn’t resist. They experience issues in flight that make them have to land in Bangor, Maine. And here’s why.
During the flight, they hit something “like” turbulence but NOT turbulence and all the passengers, except those sleeping, disappear. I’m talking the passengers, the flight attendants (back then they were called stewardesses), the pilots, everyone not sleeping. When they disappeared, anything not biological remained either in their seat on the plane or on the floor near where they were sitting. It’s an eerie sight.
And then there’s the sound when they land in Bangor. It’s very faint at first but, it grows closer and louder as time goes on. Dinah is the first to hear it. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, they find the airport they land at, a usually bustling place, to be completely bare and deserted. The whole place is without a soul to be found. It looks like a ghost town. There’s also no power. When they get to a food vendor and taste the food, it’s flavorless and awful to eat. They also discover that they can’t light matches that they find in the airport and that the soda (or pop, if you prefer, depending on where you’re from) doesn’t have any carbonation and is flat. (We ALL know THAT tastes horrible.)
Oh, then there’s Mr. Craig Toomy. Narcissistic, in a hurry and delusional. What a perfect freakin’ combination!!!! Toomy, getting more and more unstable the longer he is forced to wait in the empty airport, finds a gun there and takes a hostage, trying to force take off. Now, Captain Brian has theorized that since the matches and all that are “lifeless”, the fuel there will be too. He believes that the turbulence they experienced was caused by passing through an aurora borealis, entering a time rift that sent them a few minutes into the past, thus making them out of sync with everything and everyone else.
So, when Toomy tries to shoot Albert, who chooses to play hero, the bullet merely bounces off of him and falls to the floor. This allows the capture of Toomy and Nick ties him up.
Meanwhile, they also discover that inside the plane is the present. So, it’s like the plane is a jar and everything inside the jar is “the present” and everything outside the jar is “the past’. Inside the plane all the food is delicious, the matches from the plane work (See how long ago this was made people? They used to give out matches on planes and in airports). Because the plane is still “the present” anything brought on the plane, like matches from the airport, will “catch up” to them and then be in great condition. SO, the matches from the airport WILL work, it just takes a little time. Brian suspects the same will be true about the fuel.
While they are preparing to take off, Toomy escapes and kills Don and fatally wounds Dinah in the process. Still, they refuel the plane and Dinah warns them against hurting Toomy, claiming he is needed.
As they board the plane, the sound they were hearing is loud and very near. It soon breaches the horizon and these creatures appear. Mr. Jenkins refers to them as Langoliers, creatures that feed on the time that has past. Mr. Craig Toomy believes they are creatures that have come to eat him because he’s been bad and has been a lazy worker and person. (Interesting theory. It’s what he was told growing up by his father. Nice bedtime story huh?)
Finally, as they get ready to take off, Toomy comes running out of the airport in a panicked stupor. As the Langoliers get closer, they target Toomy, allowing the rest of the passengers on the plane to escape and take off.
Once in flight, however, it occurs to Jenkins that the only reason they survived the first pass through the time rift was because they were all asleep. Quickly they have to figure out a plan to knock themselves out in a safe way in order to sleep through passing through the rift but still be able to wake afterward.
Captain Engle suggests that they lower the air pressure in the cabin to where they pass out. The only drawback is that one person has to stay awake to up the pressure right before they enter the time rift…or they’ll all die.
So, because of his history, Nick decides that he’s going to do one good thing with his miserable life and he’s the one that stays awake, flips the switch and saves the day. And it works.
Like I said, I like this film. It was originally a TV mini-series that played over a two-night span, I believe. I don’t remember for sure. I’d have to look it up. But, it’s a fun story of Stephen King’s. I mean, creatures that chomp away at time just a few minutes after it’s passed us by? What kind of a crazy idea is that?! What’s even crazier is they do a fantastic job putting that into perspective in the movie particularly when they are leaving the Bangor airport. You actually see, well, what’s left of the past get eaten away. It’s almost surreal.
Each character seems to play a part also. Although each may not be as influential or as important as another. For instance, Bob Jenkins is very influential in putting all the pieces together however Albert, who seems like a nobody and frankly, a weakling, saves Bethany from Toomy. So everybody seems to do their part. King has a way of intertwining characters so that they are needed for the story, no matter how insignificant they may be at the time. Laurel becomes Dinah’s caretaker after her aunt disappears in the flight. See what I mean?
So, if you get the chance, this movie may be what many of you might consider old (I laugh and assure you it’s not, movies from the 30s are old, this is mid 90s so, cut us some slack) but it is definitely worth watching. Who knows, you may even like it enough to want to watch it again. The thing about King stories, you almost never catch EVERYTHING the FIRST time you watch.