So you’ve read all of the books, cross-referenced the Dark Tower series with every other Stephen King short story and novel, and have come prepared to stand on your soap box and decry The Dark Tower as an inferior adaptation.
To quote Lady Oriza whom we may meet down the line, “May your first day in hell last ten thousand years, and may it be the shortest.”
No one wants to hear your nonsense.
Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) of Gilead and Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey) (of, well, let’s just say Mid-World for the sake of simplicity) have been locked in a game of cat and mouse for basically ever. During the battle of Gilead, Walter, known as the Man in Black, provoked such a rage in Roland, Roland has forgotten the face of his father, or left the path of the Gunslinger, to pursue a life of revenge. He wants Walter dead.
You would, too. Walter is collecting children from across the universes and worlds, putting them in chairs and sucking their lifeforce, all in an effort to bring down The Dark Tower – the nexus of all worlds. Why is unclear. Because it’s there is a fie answer, since The Man In Black is an emissary of The Crimson King. We may never lay sane eyes on his face, but by the people the King employs, he has to be an evil hardcase of the First Order.
Then there’s Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) of New York. New York as well as all of (Keystone) Earth is experiencing massive destructive earthquakes. Jake, through his dreams believes he knows why. He has that (Breaker) Shine the Man in Black is hunting, and when the Low Men come for him, Jake is ready to begin his own quest. For this movie – Jake is our avatar, and we learn as he learns.
Look, at 95 minutes, this is a barebones primer meant to (re)introduce this world to Stephen King’s Gunslinger, and it’s perfect. There are no long, drawn out scenes of exposition and back story. We don’t need to be told how long ago The World Moved On. We don’t need to see how Roland came to be bitter and angry. We don’t need a library montage of the failing technology of Mid-World. There is a good guy and a bad guy, and they fight each other with bullets and magicks.
If you need more, this movie isn’t for you.
Fans of Stephen King movies and stories will enjoy the many, many visual easter eggs throughout the film. No doubt my seatmates were sick of me ticking off the movies as the flashed across the screen. I don’t care. It made me absolutely giddy.
I loved the way this movie looked, from the deserts of Mid-World to the portal stations of the Beam to the keen-eye precisions shots of Roland and his guns. Roland reloading his guns – I loved his guns, and I am not really a gun person. There was chemistry, there was action, there was a story I wanted to know more of – and I’m one of those people who can name every Dark Tower connection across all of Sai King’s books.
Could there have been more? Sure, but in 95 minutes we got just a taste of what’s to come. Here we are, with the beginnings of an epic series and you’re not overwhelmed with who is who and what goes where and you are well met with the characters that matter for this story.
Don’t be greedy.
So, if you think the movie will be crap because you heard this or read that – stay home and shut up. This movie was never for you. Go back to your message boards and your books and play your own special movie in your head until you hemorrhage. Meanwhile the rest of us will enjoy this adaptation of a series I absolutely look forward to watching play out over the next several years in television mini-series and future movies.
The Dark Tower is rated PG-13 for exquisite gun play, implied violence against children – but who among us has never wanted to suck out their souls, and Walter’s indiscriminate torture of just about everyone.