With over 60 Stephen King novels and short stories already made into movies The Dark Tower coming to the big screen was probably well overdue. With multiple attempts to bring the 8 book series to cinemas, including one by JJ Abrams, over the last decade does it deliver?
Taking inspiration from more than one of the Dark Tower series that was published from 1987 to 2004, the latest movie follows Idris Elba as the gunslinger as he hunts down the Matthew McConaughey’s man in black. Assisting Idris is Jake a young boy from a parallel earth (our earth) who has visions of the Dark Tower. Confused?
Ok, so The Dark Tower (the actual tower in the movie not this movie specifically) is a central nexus point that separates and protects alternate dimension versions of Earth. It functions like the Sanctum Sanatorium for Doctor Strange or Man Thing’s Swamp in terms of being a junction for all dimensions but also the front line for extra-dimensional threats.
In the Dark Tower (this movie not the actual tower we were just talking about) McConaughey’s man in black is trying to destroy the tower to open up all realities to what lives outside of their dimensions. While the Dark Tower (the tower not the movie) is a key plot device throughout the film it is not key to what drives the gunslinger to pursue the man in black.
For anyone who is a avid fan of the series and with the story taking from more than one book in the series, there is bound to be some level of disappointment with the film not able to cover every thing a single book in the series contained. This is expected going in and the film does take from the source material well, ensuring where it does take from more than one book to provide a more complete story for those who have not read them before.
What was most impressive about this movie was the action sequences which while shown quite extensively in the trailers, the movie has time for more that does not leave us feeling like the best parts were spoilt. We would even go further and say that Idris may be the best gunslinger since Clive Owens’ Shoot Em Up. More impressive with the short run time, clocking in at under 2 hours even with trailers.
It is hard to talk about this movie in terms of what may appeal best, jumping between our Earth (Keystone Earth) and the Gunslinger’s Earth (Mid-world) we also get enough of a feeling of the richness of the world to want to return to it either with the rumoured TV series to follow or in picking up the books themselves. There are a number of elements from the movie that are almost throw away lines (like the Gunslinger’s guns being forged from Excalibur) that make us want to know the back story for almost everything.
In short, while this may not please the most hardcore of Dark Tower fan anyone who has not experienced the series for themselves this most certainly is a great gateway into a series that Stephen King himself has called his Magnum Opus. If you have the time, this is definitely worth your time.
The Dark Tower opens in cinemas across Australia from today.