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The Dark Tower Movie

The Dark Tower Movie

I was determined to see The Dark Tower before too many critic reviews and comments could come in, before I could let other people's opinions color my own. That's why when Thursday night tickets were available for a showing at 7:19 at my favorite theater, I jumped at the chance to go.

A little context for what I’m bringing to this viewing experience.
I read my first Stephen King book in fourth grade. My mom handed me Cycle of the Werewolf and from there it was an addiction. Other than a few odd books I’ve skipped (sorry The Tommyknockers) I’ve read all of King’s books, and for those that came out after about 2000, within the week that they first came out.

When I lived in Chicago and was often struggling to make sure the rent got paid each month, I remember buying Duma Key from Borders the day it came out. (I feel so old reading that statement) That’s the way things were in the home I grew up in. We might scrimp on somethings, but new Stephen King hardcovers are up there with food and shelter.

I introduced my college boyfriend to the Dark Tower series and when he loved it I married him.
Well, okay, I would have married him anyway, but his appreciation for the series didn’t hurt, and I was happy to have him by my side to watch the movie tonight.

It feels like everyone on the final production team responsible for bringing the Dark Tower books to any kind of screen, big or small, decided that they only have one shot to make it happen and they needed to take that shot even if it meant it fizzling out at the end.

I say they should have waited, there were other, better ways to share this story cinematically.
There was too much pressure for them to make something, and something is what we got.
However, I am holding out hope that this (possibly spoilery) theory turns out to be true about a possible long game for the movies/series, thought further development that feels unlikely given how this first movie will be received. 

The Pros
Idris Elba is great in essentially any role, but he brings a nice balance to the role of Roland and he has the kind of fight choreography skills required for this character. I would have liked to see him inhabit that role for season after season, or multiple movies.

Tom Taylor is one of those wunderkinds who does a lot of emotional heavy lifting but never lets it feel like acting. I never watched the screen thinking “Here’s a kid doing his best acting” I thought “Here’s Jake.” To be fair I had also already enjoyed his subtle skill on Dr. Foster.

Some cool bullet loading moments, but nothing you don’t already see in the trailer.

Service is paid to fans with little easter eggs here and there, I’m sure a second viewing (that won’t happen) would be required to catch them all but it was cool to see a glimpse of Charlie the Choo Choo, a nod to Pennywise, paintings of roses, and the fact that they obviously couldn’t keep the phrase “long tall and ugly” when it comes to Idris Elba.

 

The Cons
If you read the books, this movie doesn’t do them justice. There is no Ka, no ka-tet, no explanation of the beams, no real history of the Gunslingers, no billy-bumblers! The list goes on and on.

If you didn’t read the books, I can not even imagine how little sense this movie makes. Seriously, I’m curious how this movie was interpreted by someone who never read the books.

The ending. I won’t spoil it for those who want to experience the disappointment for themselves, but blurg.

The editing that made it feel like there was once a greater inclusion of details and maybe even explanations, that then got chopped down leaving some loose and incomplete bits. 

Walter did a little bit of villain-explaning from time to time that I could have done without.

THE ENDING.

I will say this for the movie, watching this movie made me yearn for the vast and intricate worlds that Stephen King has tapped into and brought home to us, it made me anxious to go back and read The Dark Tower series from the beginning especially as I haven’t read the last book since the week that it originally came out. At the time I was destroyed by the ending, but with time and King’s stance that it’s the only way it could have possibly ended, I’m come to accept all the ways in which Ka is a wheel, and I’m ready to return to the beginning again.

 

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