Friday, December 15, 2017

Childe KN@PPSTER to The Dark Tower Came


I was stoked to see The Dark Tower on the big screen. Then it actually came out and 1) I was busy, 2) the reviews were terrible, 3) etc. Finally sat down and watched it at home last night.

Warning: One exceedingly minor spoiler which you probably either already know about or won't care about.

One-sentence review: Solid movie, for what it is.

Thoughts:

What it is not is a novelization of The Gunslinger, the first novel in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Its Wikipedia entry claims that it "serves as a canonical sequel to the novel series, which concludes with the revelation that Roland's quest is a cyclical time loop." Which is a smooth way of saying "we bit off more than we could chew for one movie, and with sequel/TV series potential there was no way we were gonna kill off the kid, so we changed a bunch of stuff and used a plot loophole in the books to justify it."

But what the heck, that explanation works. Same universe. Same characters. Similar, but not identical, plot. Yeah, time loop, that's it.

Some fans got their knickers in a twist when the filmmakers cast Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, who is definitely white in the novels. One person who wasn't upset was Stephen King. I didn't have a strong opinion until I saw the movie, and now my opinion is that Elba nailed the role.

Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, aka Walter Padick, aka Randall Flagg: Perfect.

My first personal visual image of what Flagg would look/sound/act like was, for some reason, James Woods. I've got nothing against Jamey Sheridan and he did a fine job as Flagg in The Stand, but it didn't click with me. As soon as I heard McConaughey's name in the casting, I was like "why didn't I think of that?" And he owns it, completely. So long as McConaughey lives, there should never be another King film adaptation with a Flagg incarnation played by anyone else.

So, okay: What I really wanted was an eight-film blockbuster cycle that was resolutely faithful in every detail. But I doubt I was ever going to get that, and this version does deliver both as a story of its own and as a nicely done slice of the Dark Tower pie.

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