WHO DID THEY MAKE THE DARK TOWER FOR?
Before I begin, I’ve run into several fans of the series that have obviously read reviews which have put them off seeing the film. One has even walked out of the theater before it was finished. Yet, they feel they can comment on the film. So see the film and then let us know.
I did see the film. We made plans with a group of us to get together in downtown Atlanta and made an event out of it. I liked it but I just don't understand who these filmmakers made The Dark Tower for. When I say “I liked it” I say it with trepidation. On one side I tried to look at it as a person who knows the story, and from the flip side I just left my brain at the door to soak in what they’ve delivered. Not an easy task with this epic, but I kept an open mind.
A quick visit of the film story… We’re introduced to Jake Chambers, a young man living in Manhattan, who dreams of gunslingers, a foreboding dark figure, and a tall tower that juts through the clouds, which he also makes into drawings which cover his bedroom wall. Through a series of events Jake is transported to another world. He meets up with the Gunslinger, the man from his dreams, where together they become a force to defeat the Man in Black, a very dark man – the devil if you will – that can tell you to “stop breathing,” and with that, dead is dead. The good guys are pitted against a bevy of bad guys who are led by one very-bad-guy. That’s the quick of it of this 95 minute tale without giving anything else away.
The beginning or the first half of the film felt rushed to me, with not much time to relate to the characters and given the situations they found themselves in (I already knew the characters and I still wasn’t feeling them). Eventually I saw Jake and the Gunslinger come together as a force, and that was invigorating, the first signs of a story finally coming to life over halfway into the film. The battle scene between Roland and the Man in Black was a high point. Matthew McConaughey is an excellent Man in Black. He exuded confidence in his evil doings. I believed him. Idris Elba, who is a phenomenal actor, wasn’t utilized as well in this movie. His presence should have been stronger. Did this have something to do with directing? Editing or was it just the story? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m hoping if they make the TV series, that they’ll bring more of his acting strength forward (he’s agreed to do the possible TV series). The bottom line is the producers naturally want to make a profit. Stephen King signed off on this story and I want to say that he did the best he could because even though he had the final say so I'm sure he felt like he had to help the producers make their film. In any event it's a bit of a thrown together mess. Thrown together in the sense that even though the people who liked it in our group, who knew nothing about the Dark Tower story, were still a bit confused about a lot of what was offered. The ending? I’ll let you decide about the ending. This is coming from a reader who wants to like it, so why did I have to work so hard to do so?
The main question is what was the purpose of making The Dark Tower into this, when they had a perfectly good series to begin with? Both readers, and those unfamiliar with the story, are having trouble with the story. I believe there was too much of trying to satisfy the general public, and the readers, that this is where some of the story gets lost in the mix.
I think Ron Howard’s Imagine entertainment had the right idea to originally have several films interspersed with a TV series. That would have told the story, and King Readers would have rushed to the theaters and signed up for any streaming service to get their hands on this, and they would have gained a following. They still might. This is a great epic, and I’m hoping they do work on the TV series. I read that it was originally 2 1/2 hours, so I'm not sure what we missed, but maybe a director's cut is in order for the DVD? At this point I don't think it would hurt for us to see it.
I’m also hoping that the powers that control these rights read some of the reviews that are being posted left and right out on the web. These reviews from the readers could make a big difference in the future of reaching The Dark Tower on any screen.
I took a tally from our group outing this weekend on what they thought of the film:
FOUR thumbs up: One person read the first two books, the others had not read the books.
TWO thumbs down (both despised it): One person read the whole series, the other person had not read any of the books.
THREE thumbs mid-way: They had not read the books. The movie left them with too many questions to completely enjoy the film.
I thought it was ironic when one of our viewers said “well, I don’t need my hour and a half back” like she had with some films, but just the fact that she had to clarify that was interesting unto itself.
Whenever you see it, in the theater or at home, I’d be interested in your thoughts.
Owner, The Overlook Connection, StephenKingCatalog.com