“Man has come to dominate the planet thanks to two essential traits. One is intelligence. The other has been the absolute willingness to kill anyone and anything that gets in his way.”
In the Stephen King book Cell, which was first published in Jan 2006, the author takes another look at an apocalyptic world and this time many of those that are left alive have been turned into zombie like crazed killers.
We hesitate to use the zombie word, because that smacks of the thousands of trashy zombie novels that have been written by other authors and Cell is neither trashy nor a moronic zombie novel.
Cell was adapted into a movie, which was released in June 2016. Stephen King co-wrote the screenplay. The film was directed by Tod Williams and starred John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson and Isabelle Fuhrman.
Cell the novel fared well with the critics, the movie did not. The movie is not awful, far from it, but even with Stephen King writing the screenplay; you just can’t get the depth of a Stephen King novel into a 90 minute film.
Sadly, any film that has been based on a Stephen King novel is going to suffer when it is invariably compared to the original work. It does make you wonder, however; if no one had ever read a Stephen King book, would the movies based on his work get a better reception?
Cell the Novel
When artist Clayton Riddell makes the big time and wins a deal for his new comic book project, he’s on cloud nine as he travels to Boston to negotiate the deal. His joy is short lived, though, as what becomes known as the pulse surges through cell phones and turns people into mindless zombies who are hell bent on killing anyone they see.
Riddle is one of the few people who doesn’t have a cell phone and who escapes the effects of the pulse. Caught in the middle of the mayhem, the artist and a handful of survivors begin to make their way to, where else, Maine, where signs have been pointing them.
As time goes on, the “crazies” begin to flock and they find a leader in the one known as the “Raggedy Man” and they begin to show signs that they are evolving. Even some of the “normals” are a danger as the group travel northwards towards the supposedly cell phone free Kashwak in the hope of finding salvation. Yes, you could well make comparisons with The Stand here.
Cell, like quite a few of Stephen King’s Books, passes comment on current affairs. This time, it’s the turn of all these people who appear to be unable to disconnect themselves from their phones, even for a minute or two, who are on the receiving end of a King social comment.
Cell also poses a chilling “what if?” question about cell phones. After all, there are now more mobile devices in the world than there are people.
The e-bay Auction of a Character in Cell
Stephen King gave his fans the opportunity to name of the characters in Cell. A charity auction was held on eBay that invited people to bid for the honour of being named in a Stephen King book. Funds raised by the online auction went to the First Amendment Project, which is a not-for-profit organisation that defends the right of free speech for artists and waters.
The winner of the auction, Pam Alexander of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, paid $25,100 to name a character in Cell and she the opportunity of being immortalised in a Stephen King book to her brother Ray Huizenga, who is a big King fan.
Cell the Movie
The film adaptation Cell follows pretty much the same story as the novel. Apart, that is, from the ending, which Stephen King said he changed because many fans didn’t like the way that the book ended.
The movie took some time to come to screen. Originally, it was announced in 2006 that Eli Roth, director of The Hostel, would direct Cell, but he pulled out due to differences of opinion on how the film should be made. The film was eventually released in June 2016.
The movie was criticised for rehashing zombie clichés and for being “dull and grim” and it hasn’t done too well on Rotten Tomatoes either, where it gets an approval rating of 8%.
So, it would appear that the movie adaptation of Stephen king’s Cell serves as yet another reminder that, even with the author himself writing the screenplay, you just can’t do justice to a Stephen King novel in the short space of 90 minutes.
If we were to rate the movie, we’d give it a “worth a watch”, but not one we’d go crazy about!