Sunday, April 24, 2016

Movie review: Under the Dome

Based on the Stephen King novel, the small town Chester's Mill in Maine becomes cut off from the rest of the world when a transparent dome descends. Covering the town completely the residents, and others unlucky enough to be in town when the dome descended, struggle to discover the dome's secrets while learning to rely on one another.

Mike Vogel (Dale 'Barbie' Barbara), Rachelle Lefevre (Julia), Alexander Koch (Junior), Colin Ford (Joe), Mackenzie Lintz (Norrie), Dean Norris (Big Jim), Eddie Cahill (Sam), Marg Helgenberger (Christine).

Under the Dome launches nicely with some good sci-fi as the dome descends upon Chester's Mill. Much of season 1 is spent dealing with the dome and the resulting isolation. Season 2 brings parallel plot lines to the story and a slight shift away from the sci-fi aspect toward a conspiracy aspect. Season 3 feels like a rush to tie up loose ends as the series finishes due to cancellation.
While the series is interesting, it also feels very disjointed and contrived at times. Having not read the book yet I can't make a comparison but if the reviews are any indication this went off the rails when it was picked up and extended as a series, then again when it was discontinued. The result is a series that starts well with much promise before changing direction and leaving us with an unresolved mess.

Acting was enjoyable in this series with a consistent cast of characters and some good experience. Vogel was entertaining and somehow managed to fit even when it didn't feel like he should. Lefevre was okay and worked well with Vogel and others. Koch was appropriately creepy at first but felt out of place when his character changed toward the end. Norris fit his role nicely and did well, as did the remainder of the supporting cast which seemed to benefit from some of the more experienced actors.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were enjoyable with good diversity, a solid feel, and nice support of the sci-fi aspect. CGI and effects were well done, particularly around the dome itself. Action scenes were solid and consistent. Dialogue was well done with nice depth. Sound and soundtrack were mild but fitting.

Under the Dome is an interesting concept, made even more interesting with sub-plots and parallel story lines. Technical work is decent, and acting is enjoyable. It is also a mess of reactions to production company uncertainty. Die-hard King or sci-fi fans may enjoy parts of this one.

With some violence and possibly disturbing concepts, this should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2015
Reviewed: 4.19.16
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: TV Sci-Fi Fantasy, TV Mystery, TV Drama, Series based on a book, TV Series

copyright ©2016 Dave Riedel

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