ted a vit by a traveling carnival. However, this is in all actuality, no t at all. Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway are two fun-loving, but quickly maturing 13 year old buddies who immediately discover that this specific carnival emits an evil that this quaint community is dreadfully foreign to.
As I said, it all sounds extremely mple, but Bradbury works his prose with hypnotizing effect, and draws from a union of deeply personal emotions. The connection between Jim and Will is intoxicating in the ability to lure readers from reality and place them in the midst of two teenage boys who live a life that revolves around brotherhood, liberation, exploration and a believable love.
When danger besets the boys and the town as a whole, both Jim and Will must find a way to alter the course of their doomed future, and prevent this ominous group of traveling freaks from claiming more souls, with which they feed the diabolical machinery that constitutes their gloomy carnival.
There are so many amazing moments in this novel it’s tough to choose favorites. The evil that seeps from the novels focal villain, Mr. Dark is captivating. Not only that, it’s genuinely frightening. His partner is the soul-stealing, menacing Mr. Cooger, who plays center stage to some of the story's most memorable conflicts. But, what makes my heart still race, knot up, and hurt, even after reading this book on at least x different occaons, is the deep melancholic burden that Charles Halloway, Will’s father, battles on a nightly bas.
As a father, I often question how good I am at my job. I mean really, am I a good father? Have I done everything I can for my child? Can I not run more, laugh more? Bask in the wondrous beauty that she possesses (which certainly didn’t come from me)? Can I not offer a finely tuned ear on a far more constent bas? Have I gotten too old to appreciate and relate to the marvels she experiences on a day to day bas?
Charles Halloway brings these questions to my mind, because Mr. Bradbury was masterful enough to create a character that demands that of fathers. Something Wicked This Way Comes isn’t just a novel, it’s a brief escape from reality, and a new adventure that ensures viewers figuratively look in the mirror, and ultimately ask themselves: Do I even want to escape the inebriating brilliance of this tale, or would I rather match Jim and Will, stride for stride in their race for everything, and nothing at all, while an amazingly self-aware, but internally heroic Charles Halloway over-sees our rapid search for understanding and freedom?
And, that’s what the novel is really all about: humanity, the many challenges and emotions we juggle on a regular bas, and the courage to overcome obstacles and remain faithful to our inner cores. What makes the story further amazing is the palpable tenon that builds in this tale of the conflicting natures of good and evil.
I have absolutely zero qualms with this novel. I’ve been a fan of Bradbury for over 20 years, and to this day, Something Wicked This Way Comes remains my favorite piece of art to arrive in the literary world; there is, in my opinion no contemporary author who can so much as pretend to rival the sublime skills of Ray Bradbury.
Score: ABSOLUTELY PERFECT
Jack Clayton’s 1983 film adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes is a pretty damn faithful transfer. Bradbury stepped in to write the screenplay, and it worked wonders in enabling Clayton to bring some authenticity to the film.
While it’s a fun feature that definitely leans further toward the horror elements of the story (versus the fantasy), there are some monumental plot points that are sadly omitted from the film. I understand that time restrictions make for a challenge, especially with a story as heavily layered as SWTWC, but there are still a few scenes I found completely necessary to remain completely faithful to the source material.
I won’t get into too many specifics, but there are some adjustments made to key characters and specific sequences (more than likely due to special effects limitations) that leave me a tad disappointed. A couple fantastic and tenon filled moments featuring the Dust Witch (played by the stunning Pam Grier, who I am in awe of, despite the fact that she wasn’t portrayed as the haunting entity that Bradbury introduced in his novel) and Mr. Cooger are sorely missed, and the evil carousel doesn’t earn quite the emphas that the novel endowed.
In terms of overall technical execution, the picture is sound. You won’t spot too many plot holes, the cinematography is superb and while Jonathan Pryce is chilling as Mr. Dark (is that a young Lucas Haas, as the now childlike Ed wandering about in Dark's parade?) it’s actually Jason Robards who steals the show as Charles Halloway. If I can point to one glaring issue: the special effects haven’t held up too well over the years.
Ade from some of these adjustments, the film is a very atmospheric showcase that manages an adequate depiction of what the original story offered.
It’s not a flawless film, but it’s a fun watch, and if you’ve got children, don’t be too leery, this one is suited for young and old(er) viewers alike.
If you'd like to actually feel something from a novel, track this one down and read it, again and again, as it's truly a heart warming tale that manages to provide a brief vacation from the challenges of our everyday lives. The film may not rival the profound sentiment the book offers, but it's an enjoyable picture that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoyed such films as The Goonies or The Monster Squad (though they both differ, drastically).