Summer movie season is quickly coming and while there is a lot to be excited about, The Dark Tower is really making it hard to wait. Already the film has been pushed back from a July 28th opening (which would’ve been SO happy birthday to me) to August 4th (A little less HBD to me). As many know the origin of this is the Stephen King book series named The Dark Tower. An old Stephen King series it took him three decades to finish. Don’t get me started on that rant.
Quick recap for those outside of the know. This is a series about the last gunslinger in a
totally meta universe that is removed from ours. He is on a quest and has been all of his existence. Along the way he meets some friends and enemies. They either help or hinder in the quest to find, yes, The Dark Tower. Which in some ways is both physical and metaphoric. Its a genre bender that calls on elements found in such classics as The Lord of the Rings, Camelot King Arthur tales and spaghetti westerns.
While there are a long list of not so great book to film adaptations, especially for King books, this one feels different. When the announcement was made that Idris Elba was in the lead role I got excited. Not for the wrong reasons mind you. Ok ok well maybe some, could be, the wrong reasons. I mean look at him.
Artistically speaking, it was more about the fact that Idris Elba is a very talented actor and more than capable of capturing the essence of Roland Deschain. Beyond that Akiva Goldsman (The Da Vinci Code) is an adapted script king with work under his belt such as A Beautiful Mind and I Am Legend. He is the screenwriter for my guilty pleasure movie Practical Magic. Which forces me to forgive him for Batman Forever.
Furthermore director Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) stunned with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo proving he can be trusted with gritty starkness when it’s needed. There is always the fear of a beloved story being Michael Bay’d so to have a relatively fresh director feels like a great start. He has everything to prove and nearly nothing to lose. That feels like a formula for success.
Popular Subject Matter
Over the years The Dark Tower story has been given some great treatments. Usually done by King himself. This has branched into graphic novels and online apps. It’s a fully lived in fleshed out universe now. The exciting aspects of the film come from it having something to offer to both old fans and new ones. King himself has given away spoilers from the script and how this can almost be perceived as another chapter in the universe.
Reasons to be Excited
Art is best when lived in real time. Sometimes adaptations and remakes lose what makes them special in transition. That being the ability to tell the story in another way with different aspects. Some of the fan base was disappointed by certain choices in casting based on racial perceptions inferred in the books. A valid point if this was a strict remake. This is an adaptation. Meaning do not take away the best parts of adapting things, which is how they can mutate and change into a better work over all.
While that may be off putting for some, it feels like an opportunity to create great art developed specifically for film. The issue with adapting written words to visual mediums is the loss of context created by framing in written narratives. Trying to capture the story as the book portrays it is already a losing battle. Knowing that this will have a fresh take specifically for the big screen is more appealing than all other aspects of this.
What are your thoughts on The Dark Tower movie? Comment below!