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The Dark Tower by Stephen King is an expansive story that spans 7
books, telling Roland the Gunslinger's journey to the Tower; involving
different genres, many characters, many worlds - a big lore.
At a certain point whether you have read the series or not is probably irrelevant. If you haven't read the books, I would imagine the movie just will feel flat and lifeless, with only a few scenes from McConaughey standing out. There's very little plot and character development, which comes across as a lump of clichés. If you have read the books, you'll likely find the movie a spectacular failure, wondering how the writers managed to dumb down such promising material to a 95 minute generic action movie, and making an actor like Idris Elba overact in a character that should have endless potential. The final result is so hollow and narrow, if you have watched the trailer, you may just count yourself as having seen the whole thing.
If you are intrigued by the story, skip this movie, and give the first book of the series a go.
My wife and I went to see this movie last night. This is probably the
only review I've done in the past 30 years and that's because I believe
this was "UNFAIRLY REVIEWED BY CRITICS", so I'm hoping you'll give this
movie a shot after reading what I have to say.
I almost didn't go because the movie review in USA Today newspaper only gave it one star. Some of the user reviews here didn't seem very enthusiastic about the movie either. I'm 67, retired, and a King fan (I've red The Dark Tower books). My wife is 70, retired and not a King fan (she hasn't read any of the Dark Tower books). Just to provide some additional perspective some of the movies we've seen so far this year and how we rated (in chronological order) The Founder 5, A Dog's Purpose 5, John Wick Chapter 2 5, Logan 6, Kong; Skull Island 7, Beauty and the Beast 7, Power Rangers 5, The Fate of the Furious 8, Guardians of the Galaxy 2nd Vol 8, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Wonder Woman 9, The Mummy 5, Spider Man 6, War for the Planet of the Apes 8, and The Dark Tower 8.
I was worried standing in line to see the movie so when the previous show got out I started asking people (must have been close to 20) if the liked the show. (Would have asked more except my wife was feeling a little embarrassed.) Everyone said a hearty "Yes" except for one couple who shook their heads and said, "It wasn't like the books" and gave it a thumbs down. After that I was encouraged and looked forward to seeing the movie. I figured most of the critics were slamming it because it didn't follow the books closely. Frankly, from what I've seen, King books have always had a tough time being translated to the big screen.
Although this movie didn't follow the books "right on" the main gist of the plot and characters were there so I wasn't disappointed. Contrary to what some other critical and user reviews have said, the plot was cohesive, well thought out, and had similarities to the book. The acting was very well done all around, the action was excellent and was not jittery or blurry. It's easy to connect to the characters and the emotional points of the plot.
I started with a list of movies we've seen and how we rated so you can compare how similar, or not, your ratings were to put in perspective how likely you'd be to enjoy this movie. I wonder if critics and some users go to movies for reasons different from ours. We just want to see fun, entertaining, well acted movies that have been filmed and directed by good professionals. The ONLY ding we could give this movie was that it wasn't done in a manner similar to "Lord of the Rings" where it's carried out over 3 films with greater detail and depth. That might have been better, but maybe not. Regardless, I wish critics would at least rate movies like this with 2 stars as long as they're fun, well done and entertaining. There's no way this was a one-star film.
Unless you really need the movie to follow all the outline and plot of the books, I'm extremely confident you'll enjoy this movie. It's well worth going to the show to see. You'll like it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Being a tower junkie for over a decade, I honestly don't have much
expectation on this movie adaption. Much of The Dark Tower series'
charm comes from Stephen King's narration, which doesn't easily convert
into the visual language of movies. Since the bar was set extremely
low, I thought there's no way I could be disappointed in the cinema.
But dude, this Nikolaj Arcel guy has one heck of a way to prove me wrong.
Judging by what's revealed in trailers, I thought this one should cover The Gungslinger and *part of* Drawing of the Three, starting a whole franchise, with more installments to follow. But no. The director took pieces from all seven Tower books, glued them onto a self-made storyline (a lame one), and called it a day. Yes, you're reading it right. This is the whole thing, the entire package. What kind of idiotic mind ever thinks of packing SEVEN novels into ONE SINGLE movie?
Within 1.5 hours you will see Roland Deschain fighting the army of the Man in Black (vol IV), having his ass handed to him, embarking on a chase (vol I), picking up Jake Chambers from New York (vol I & II), although the Jake in this movie is really Jake Chambers and Patrick Danville rolled into one (vol VII). They fooled around in Mid-world for a bit, then discovered Algul Siento (vol VI), where the Man in Black's force are hording up breakers to destroy the Dark Tower. In order the thwart the evil operation, they went to this village that looks suspiciously like Calla Bryan Sturgis (vol V), activated a portal to Keystone Earth, trying to infiltrate en route the can-toi headquarter, a restaurant called Dixie Pig (vol VII). Then there comes a ton of pew pew pew and bang bang bang. All baddies died, including the Man in Black (vol WTF). They destroyed the tower-breaking machine, and lived happily ever after (vol WTF). End of story.
No Oy. No Eddie Dean. No Susannah Holmes. Even the Crimson King is axed, while references to him can be seen everywhere in the movie. This version of Roland didn't even attempt to enter the Tower.
I've thought hard, for nice things to say about this movie, and came up with only the following: 1. All sorts of creative reloading techniques.
2. Walter O'Dim is super duper kickass cool in the movie adaption, way cooler than in the original novels. Matthew McConaughey did portray the "Walking Dude" true to his name, always on the move, casually passing through lives and worlds, leaving havoc in his wake.
Otherwise... it's a dozen bucks wasted. Should have donated it to the charity.
BTW, IMDb should change its rating mechanism a bit, allowing us to give a 0 rate.
Oh, there's one nice touch at the very beginning of the movie. Among the names and logos of producers and investors, there's a screen featuring "Tet Corporation", accompanied by a turtle and a rose, kindling false hope in me.
This film reminds me of the situation surrounding the making of The
Lord of the Rings trilogy. The film was turned down by one studio after
another as none of the studios wanted to commit to making 3 films. One
of the studios actually agreed to make it, but only if the script was
condensed into a single film. Thankfully the people that had the rights
and were pitching the films understood that the idea of translating the
entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a single film was a laughable
proposition and the end result would have been a terrible film that
would ultimately do no justice to the source material. They were
willing to bring it down to 2 films instead of 3, but the studio wound
up turning them down.
The final studio they approached was New Line and because all of the other studios had turned them down, they pitched it to New Line as a 2 film series as opposed to a trilogy. Amazingly, New Line agreed to take on the project but only if it was made as a trilogy. Clearly someone at New Line smartly recognized that Lord of the Rings was an amazing project and the only way to do it right was to make it a trilogy. And anyone who has read the Lord of the Rings trilogy understands first hand that there is just way too much material to be condensed into a single film or even 2 films. And as we all know, the films wound up being a HUGE success and made New Line billions. At last look the Trilogy had made more than 6 billion world wide.
Like Lord of the Rings, The Dark Tower series is just way too big to be condensed into a single film. Any film studio that was legitimately serious about doing the Dark Tower series justice would understand that right out of the gate. The Lord of the Rings was 3 books and the running time for the extended versions of the films was 682 minutes or just over 11 hours long. .The Dark Tower series is 8 books and many of them are BIG books. Anyone who thinks that amount of material can be condensed into a single film is living in la la land. I knew going in that this was going to be a cheap attempt at making money off of Stephen Kings name and the popularity of The Dark Tower series and that's exactly what it was. The Dark Tower series is one of my all time favorite book series, as is Lord of the Rings, and this film is literally a bad joke compared to the source material. How they got Matthew McConaughey to sign on to this film when he has had such an amazing run the last 4-5 years is simply beyond my understanding. I will never understand how such an amazing writer has had so many terrible films made from his books.
Bottom line - this was a terrible film, one that does no justice to the source material at all. If your a fan of the Dark Tower books, do yourself a HUGE favor and skip this film. Its like a bad joke of the Dark Tower universe. Everyone involved with this film should be ashamed of being a part of it. The only reason I saw it is because I have a nephew than basically begged me to take him to see it and I have to admit, part of me was curious to see just how bad it really was and in that regard it didn't disappoint. It was just as bad as I expected it to be. This is Hollywood garbage, nothing more and nothing less. Do yourself a favor and put your money elsewhere.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Adapting Stephen King stories for the screen has long been a difficult
problem for Hollywood. For every "Misery" and "The Shawshank
Redemption", there are many others such as "The Mangler", "Cell", "and
Graveyard Shift" and many more where things did not go as planned. The
big issue is that King often creates detailed characters with complex
backstories and puts then in fully developed worlds that despite their
supernatural nature, often are easy for readers to relate to.
Also as any reader of his books knows, King is not one to spare the paper and his books can be very lengthy offerings. This is an issue for Hollywood as they are forced to condense a 400-800 page plus story in many cases to fewer than two hours of screen time. The solution has been to try television movies such as "The Langoliers", "The Tommyknockers", "The Stand", and "It". The problem with this format is that while spreading the story over multiple nights allows more time for the story, they gore and adult content which is often the core of the story has to be greatly watered down.
Which brings us to "The Dark Tower", an adaptation of King's largest offering as the series covers seven books and a novella, not to mention a Prequel comic and more. The series rolled out from 1982-2004 with King often saying that he might never finish the series. Fortunately for fans he released three books from 2003-2004 and was able to declare the story told.
The story tells of a world like ours, but different that has "moved on". It is a dying world where Roland (Idris Elba), is pursuing a wizard named Walter (Matthew McConaughey), who is responsible for laying waste the world and killing all that come into Roland's life. The books follow his unrelenting chase of The Man in Black over countless years and how he has become a cold and driven individual who thinks nothing of using people to get his revenge.
Roland is the last of the "Gunslingers", a Knight like group who protected the world and who used guns that were rare in their world to keep the peace. Roland is highly skilled and unlike his now dead companions, is impervious to the magic of Walter which has allowed him to remain alive and continue his quest.
The Man in Black is fixated on destroying the Dark Tower, which protects the many worlds in the universe from the outside evils that look to destroy it. Along with a young boy from Earth named Jake (Tom Taylor), Roland must find a way to save the universe and exact his revenge.
The film keeps the conflict between Roland and The Man in Black but greatly condenses the story as it includes references to things in the first two books but omits much of the backstory and plot of the novels to tell what I would call a story that was inspired by, but not based on the books.
This is at the core the biggest issue with the film. I have read the books and while I wanted an adaptation that was closer to them, I did find myself enjoying the film more than I expected to. The leads were very good and even though they had a very watered down script to work with, they did a good job and the finale does have some nice visuals and action to it.
People I know who have read the books have naturally been very disappointed with the film but those who have not read the books have mentioned that they enjoyed the film and accepted it as a fun bit of escapist adventure.
There has been talk of a television series that would focus more on the third book onward which hopefully would include how Roland gained new followers from our world who were trained to be future Gunslingers. That remains to be seen as the success of the film will likely hold the key. I hope we do get to see it as there are countless stories and characters yet to tell in this universe and I think fans deserve to see them as King wrote them.
3 stars out of 5
Jake Chambers is an 11-year-old adventure seeker who discovers clues
about another dimension called Mid-World. Upon following the mystery,
he is spirited away to Mid-World where he encounters a Gunslinger,
Roland Deschain, who is on a quest to reach the "Dark Tower" that
resides in End-World and reach the nexus point between time and space
that he hopes will save all existence from extinction. But with various
monsters and a vicious sorcerer named Walter o'Dim, the Man in Black
hot on their trail, the unlikely duo find that their quest may be
difficult to complete.
In North America, The Dark Tower was released alongside Kidnap, as well as the wide expansion of Detroit, and is projected to gross around $20 million from 3,451 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.8 million from Thursday previews at 2,770 theaters, which began playing at 7:19 P.M. as an ode to the 19:19 of Stephen King lore present in the book series.
Some people were forcing me not to see it,but I saw this film and surprisingly found it excellent.
You have Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey 8 books of material, and you put together a 95 minute movie? I absolutely hate that critics have to hold their reviews on these movies so the public cannot be forewarned. Its like restaurant critics not being able to tell you the food is dog meat until after you place your order. Then there are those fans who loved the books, so they delude themselves into thinking the movie is good enough. Frankly the history of Stephen King material and film is a mixed bag. The Shining is obviously superior, but when's the last time you dug out Dreamcatcher? It just continues to shock me how inept some of these productions are.
Since when we judge movies based on books! Those two are totally different experiences. I absolutely loved this movie. Simply, one of my favorites this summer and I would never ever listen to critics again. I went to watch other movies based on reviews and left Dark Tower till the end and man I wish I watched Dark Tower first. I simply can't wait till the next one. I hope there will be more than one!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a Tower-enthusiast for 20 years, read all 8 boos multiple times.
The movie is not an adaptation, it's not the story of Ronald and the
tower as told in the books. Maybe it's a later, or earlier cycle of
Ronald's quest. (Ka is a wheel, remember?) This may account for the
significant differences, e.g. Jake's backstory, the fact that Walter
has the complete set of Wizard glass, etc. So maybe try to accept the
fact that you are not going to see the story from the books come to
life in a literal way, and then you can actually enjoy the movie. And
especially enjoy the things you do recognize from the story you read.
Is it worth 10 stars, probably not. But it's certainly worth much more
than most reviewers gave, that's why I gave it 10.
PS. I saw it together with someone who didn't read the books, she really liked the movie and we are definitely going to check out the sequel!
This movie was amazing. The story was solid and the visuals were absolutely stunning. After watching the movie I thought about reading the book. Stephen King is a brilliant story teller. This movie was not cliché like most Hollywood movies. Don't listen to the ill reviews on Dark Towers, watch this movie.
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