A Fan's Review: The Dark Tower
Ticket in hand!!
A Night at the Movies!!
When a popular book series is made into a movie, fans of the book series are often the first to show hostility if the movie is not up to their expectations. Some books transfer easily to a movie, while some movies are so loaded with material that there is no way to do the source material justice in a two to three-hour runtime. I feel that is the main problem with the movie "The Dark Tower".
"The Dark Tower" is based on a series of books that was written by Stephen King over several decades. The entire book series equalling 4,250 pages, is loaded with main plot, sub-plot, and tangents. The books are massive in page-length, and it is hard to see how the movie was able to squeeze what they did in the movie's ninety-minute runtime. For the fans, one positive of this movie is that they were finally able to see a movie adaptation of the book series. They were finally able to see the characters they had long dreamed about in front of them. Idris Elba portrayed the main character of the Gunslinger/Roland Deschain. He was not the main choice for many people, but he fared fairly well in this interpretation of the book series. Matthew McConaughey was the antagonist of the movie, and he played The Man in Black. I personally have not seen that many McConaughey movies, therefore, I was not as familiar with his skills and abilities, but I felt that they could have found a more sinister individual for the role. McConaughey's soothing accent seemed to clash with what I feel a villain sounds like. Tom Taylor who played the only other Dark Tower character shown in the movie, Jake Chambers, was adequate for the role. I felt that he was the only actor in the movie that actually fit the role. On the plus side, the visuals and fight scenes were rather good. They were short, but they allowed you to momentarily feel a glimmer of what the movie could have been. My favorite scene was located near the end of the movie, where Roland and Jake were in a warehouse, and Roland was teaching Jake the Gunslinger's Oath. I felt that this scene was a very powerful scene, that showed the forming of the bond between Roland and Jake.
Considering the books are so massive, and the writers of the movie only limited themselves to ninety minutes of runtime, I feel that the story was greatly weakened. My first issue is with the fact that the movie's title. I think they should have called this first movie, "The Dark Tower: Jake's Drawing." I feel that because, in the books, each of the other characters: Eddie, Susan, and Jake are "drawn" into this Mid-World. If they had advertised this movie as just how Jake is drawn into the world of Roland and the Man in Black, I feel that the press would have been better. Also, that would make the ninety-minute runtime more understandable. That way they could have a movie for the drawing of Eddie Dean and Susan. That would have been three movies, and then they could make a movie with all of the ka-tet (what the group calls themselves) working their way to the dark tower, and following the books closer. My second issue with this movie was the fact that (SPOILER) at the end of the movie, they kill The Man In Black. If they are trying to create a series of movies, I feel that it was too early to kill off the main focus of the antagonism. Another issue with the movie was the fact that several people have said that this is a new interpretation or telling of the stories. In fact, several points in the movie, the characters stated that this was a different version of the story than the books. If that is so, then perhaps in other movies they could try to explain how this world is different than the books, and if we will ever get to see the story from the books.
I feel that with the wealth of information in the book series that Stephen King put into the books, it is nearly impossible to do justice to it unless you give the job to someone like Peter Jackson, who has a talent for making great movies based on books. I feel that there is enough information in these books to probably make 20 seasons on HBO. With Game of Thrones ending soon, it is a perfect time for people to start working on a "Dark Tower" television show on HBO. While it is nice, for fans to finally see a movie adaptation of the book series, I feel they used the wrong medium. I actually feel that anyone who has not read the books would actually enjoy the movie more because they would not be trying to figure out where this stands in the chain of the books. They would merely see it as a tiny sample of what the books contain. For that, I give this movie a B-. The movies have enough fun action and small amounts of the story to keep fans and non-fans watching, but the writers need to focus more on making the television version of the book series. Cable television would be a better home for this series. HBO, I am talking to you!!