THE DARK TOWER || The day has finally arrived where Sony Pictures has released a trailer for the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Idris Elba takes on the iconic role of Roland Deschain, otherwise known as The Gunslinger, while Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey takes on the villain role of Walter O’Dim, also known as The Man In Black (also known as Randall Flagg, Marten Broadcloak, and many other names in the books). In the books, the two are opposite sides of the coin. Roland is the last gunslinger, having sworn his life to journeying to and protecting the Dark Tower, the nexus point of all universes and the only thing keeping them in balance, while Walter is an instrument of the Crimson King, an entity whose existence is based on destroying the Dark Tower and ruling in the nothingness of the aftermath with disciples.

As interesting as all of that is, the film itself is focused around a different character from the books, the teen Jake Chambers, played by Tom Taylor, who has only been in one other feature (Broken Hearts (2012)) and a few television series. In the film, Jake is a New York kid plagued by dreams of the Dark Tower, the Gunslinger, and the Man In Black. In their world, the Man In Black is having his army steal kids with psychic ability which are used to help destroy force fields called Beams that extend through all worlds and which help support the Dark Tower. This breaking of the Beams caused Beam-quakes across universes and rattle Jake’s world from occasion, right after his dreams. Jake’s mother (Katheryn Winnick) is worried about him and his therapist thinks he is dealing with the trauma of losing his father. But when Jake steps into Mid-World through a portal in an abandoned house, Jake realizes he’s not crazy. Jake comes into contact with the Gunslinger and tags along with him as he seeks the Tower and, more specifically, the Man in Black.

What’s been made painfully clear now is that the film is not a direct adaptation of Stephen King’s epic. They borrow ideas from the books and has been pitched as sort of a sequel or companion piece to the books. This can be seen in the fact that Idris Elba is the antithesis of what the Gunslinger is described as in the books, who comes off more like a Clint Eastwood or John Wayne cowboy gunslinger, than the one Elba portrays. But Elba is such an extraordinary actor, that this casting choice is easily forgiven. As a huge Stephen King fan and an even bigger fan of the Dark Tower series, I was hoping more for a Western genre film rather than the one that is being portrayed. It feels more like the recent Goosebumps film, which was also aimed at kids, rather than the dark-natured, horror based Western epic that King wrote in his books. The fact that this may also spawn a prequel television series that brings the fourth book, Wizard and Glass to life, is extremely intriguing to me, as that story is one of the most interesting ones and shows where Roland got his start on the journey to the tower.

Although this iteration of The Dark Tower is not quite what I would have asked for, the fact that it was made at all is a great thing for a such a huge fan I will take whatever Stephen King adaptations I can get. With the development and production of this film bogged down for decades, it’s a miracle it is finally here in any regard. Director Nikolaj Arcel takes the helm of this one, having directed the Academy Award nominated film A Royal Affair (Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards), starring Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander, and is produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the writer Avika Goldsman, and Stephen King himself.

Release Date: August 4, 2017
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel
Studio: Columbia Pictures

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