The Dark Tower movie rears its head again


#301

Damn.

This final product reminds me a lot of the GOP healthcare plan: You’ve had all this time and THIS is what you come up with? I can already picture John McCain strolling into a theater this weekend, giving a dramatic thumbs down, killing The Dark Tower forever.


#302

Having read the first two books for the first time recently, I was ready to boycott the film purely based on the fact that Roland is played by (otherwise awesome) Idris Elba. White characters, whose whiteness even has an actual story point, should be played by white actors, and vice versa. What’s next, Geralt is going to be played by Jamie Foxx? Ridiculous. And again, I love Elba on Wire and Luther, but as Roland, no. McConaughey as Walter also never really fit. Plus I saw trailer before Valerian (god, what a failure of a movie) and the trailer made me disgusted as well, not because of Elba, but because of how actiony and try hardy it looked like, zero atmosphere of the books. I am feeling a bit of Schadenfraude now.

Maybe in couple years everyone will forget this disaster and Netflix or Amazon will pick he series up for proper actual well cast series. Here is hoping.

The Dark Tower doesn’t even really do us the courtesy of being laughably bad. That would take some level of ambition, which the movie studiously avoids at almost every turn. Instead, it simply exists, eager to be overlooked and forgotten.

Never say never, but there’s not a lot of reason to hope for The Dark Tower II: Electric Towerloo.


#303

I think both of those casting choices were perfectly solid (though Roland being black would certainly alter the dynamics with Susannah and particularly parts of book two), but yeah, that trailer looked way too action movie. It’s not an action series. There are points where fighting is done, but Roland should never be dashing around two-fisting revolvers at a horde of mooks.


#304

Eh, this honestly doesn’t bug me at all.
While it played a role in the books, with Detta constantly calling Roland “Honky”, it really didn’t play much of a role in Roland’s character itself. His race didn’t really play any role in who he was, other than that one aspect of his early relationship with Detta.

There are literally multiple points in the series where he does exactly this.

Pretty much every book had at least one epic gun fight.


#305

This is gonna be a barking dog with fleas, isn’t it?

Reviews still embargoed. On a Thursday before release weekend.

Always a good sign.


#306

Nope, reviews are out.

Etc.


#307

Just lifted this AM, then, and still only 23 total, so pretty clearly a late review embargo just went up, and apparently selectively. (To compare, Dunkirk had 72 RT reviews posted on the Thursday before release. Atomic Blonde had 55.)


#308

It’s bad. 16% and falling on RT. :(


#309

I was thinking the same thing. Like, one of the first big setpieces in the book is Roland double-handed gunning down a zillion townspeople.


#310

I stand corrected. Still, the fact that I don’t remember a single one of those sequences suggests that the interesting material lies elsewhere.

Edit: also, I don’t remember those scenes really, as I say, but I don’t think the standard action movie “look how awesome and badass this dude or dudes are” tone is appropriate to what I do remember. I remember the series as regarding violence with sadness, horror, or at best a kind of ‘this is my job and I do it well’ sort of stoic competence.


#311

Having read the first two books, yes there are some big large scale shootouts, but the way it was portrayed in the trailer still felt very “stylish and cool” in a way that is completely non-Dark Tower-like.


#312

I read those books, the early ones at least, when I was fairly young, and Roland’s literal gunslinging was always a super cool part of the books for me.

In the original Gunslinger, I think the thing which I enjoyed most was the flashbacks to his training, and how the Gunslingers were almost super human in their abilities… You had Roland in Tull killing everyone while they rushed him in a mad mob. This is probably one of the first times they talk about his hands doing their “reloading trick”, which is only vaguely described, but I always took to mean that his training was so complete that reloading his guns was essentially done on a subconscious level. The movie seems to have taken this a bit further, but I don’t mind that.

In later books, there’s generally always at least one climactic gunfight near the end. Like when Roland’s original ka tet went up against the big coffin hunters. The failed gunslinger who led them was a pretty badass guy compared to everyone out there… until they went up against actual gunslingers, who just freaking murderized them. Or the big fight at the Callah, etc. Gunslinging was always a big part of the gunslingers.


#313

I haven’t read the first book since high school, but I recall a scene where it specifically describes how Roland can fire and then reload in one deft motion. It’s like supernatural skill.


#314

Fair enough. It bugs me when I read a book about character that is in great detail described to look a certain way, and then in adaptation he looks completely different. My suspension of disbelief gets out of whack and I don’t enjoy it anymore.

One of the reasons I love Witcher series for example. CDP went to great lenghts to ensure all characters are faithful to books (well, almost, Triss has different hair color). So now when I re-read the books, I can see the characters as they look in games, where they look pretty much exactly how I imagined them just from reading, before the games even existed. It all beautifully complements each other.


#315

Ya, I get it.

Honestly, I really wish they had made these movies maybe 10-20 years ago, because there’s ultimately ONE guy who is meant to play Roland. Clint Eastwood.

Roland basically is Clint Eastwood from the Spaghetti westerns.


#316

I think Tom Hardy would have been cool.


#317

In looking at the trailers for this, I’m not sure casting is the big problem plaguing this movie.


#318

Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are great casting choices. I’m not sure about the kid playing Jake, but whatever. It’s a kid part. Regardless, you are correct. Casting isn’t the problem here.

It’s trying to boil down The Dark Tower series into just a Man in Black vs Roland story with Jake acting as audience surrogate in one movie. Right there, you’re starting the project in the hole.


#319

Folks are saying, “They never say why Flagg is trying to destroy the tower…”

Well, in the books, the answer is, “Because the Crimson King ordered him to.”

But if you go one step deeper and ask, “Why is the Crimson King trying to destroy the tower?”

The answer is pretty much equally non existent. King built up the CK to be some super universe destroying mastermind, and then he turns out to literally just be some crazy old man shrieking outside the tower. Probably the biggest letdown of the whole series for me. So I can’t fault the movie if it doesn’t explain the bad guy’s motivations, since the books never did either.


#320

I never finished the Gunslinger series, I put it down after reading Wizard and Glass (which I really enjoyed) and never came back as newer books were released. But that depiction of the ultimate bad guy puts me in mind of stuff like Clive Barker’s Imajica and Pullman’s His Dark Materials books where the ultimate bad guy, or God Himself in both cases, is depicted as a raving mad man, basically needing to be put out of his misery.