I mean sure, “The Stand” had many biblical themes to it, and I don’t hold that against it basically because it’s my favorite television movie of all time, and my favorite King mini-series, but that’s because it never used the biblical themes so blatantly before. I have to say “Desperation” is one hell of a disappointment. It’s a cheesy, ridiculous, and utterly un-scary practice in babbling, that actually required a considerable amount of effort to sit through. After weeks of anticipation and excitement, I finally tuned in and basically zoned out by the second hour. If there’s any indication that producers have run out of material for Stephen King min-series, it’s “Desperation”.
One of the only highlights of this mini-series is Ron Perlman who from the first time he appears here, looks like he’s having a hell of a time in his role as the demonic sheriff gathering victims. Perlman, always a sheer bad ass, seems to really fit into his role and has a ball torturing his hostages, and rambling on about his ultimate power. Were it not for him, I possibly wouldn’t have made it. Well, were it not for him and the sometimes witty dialogue. This is probably one of the dumbest, most ridiculous of the King mini-series (even worse than “Rose Red”) I’ve ever seen that constantly shuffles from head-scratching idiocy, to nonsense back and forth without shame. Characters are thrown in and then thrown out, plot points are given and then taken away without grace thanks to brutally sloppy writing.
In one scene a female character declares that she’s a psychic. Why does she feel the need to tell us this? Well, who knows, because we never hear about this allusion again, because the rest of the story is reliant on a young boy who becomes the hero of the film, and she becomes a minor character. Characters make the dumbest moves even when knowing well what the powers of their villain are, Henry Thomas is introduced only to die in the first thirty minutes, and we’re never given an explanation as to why these characters are brought together. “Its god’s plan”, the young hero proclaims. But that’s truly just a mark of lazy storytelling. In “The Stand” our characters were gathered due to circumstances of the Captain Tripps plague, and became heroes fighting for heaven. They were gathered due to circumstances that became a grand plan. Here, they’re gathered by the villain for a rather ridiculous reason and escape from his prison without much trouble.
Worst of all, “Desperation” lacks tension once the story gets rolling, and then is just rambles on with meandering sub-plots, rather vapid character focus, and a second half that borders on laughable. Worst of all, the script shoves the religious overtones down our throat almost mercilessly as our young hero rambles on every five seconds about god and religion. Every minutes he goes off on a monologue about how god meant for them to stop the demon, and god did this, and god did that, to the point where I felt like kicking my damn screen in. Garris’ direction is bland enough, yet he still feels like forcing these religious themes down the viewers throats through our utterly annoying hero David. In spite of a good performance by Perlman, and sharp dialogue, “Desperation” is one of King’s worst television mini-series. It’s a vapid nonsensical experience with one of the more rambling plots and characters created. “Desperation” has potential in the beginning, but loses it once the story gets moving.