August 3, 2017: Dark Tower Review, Stephen King Brought to the Big Screen

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A Brief History

On August 3, 2017, we are happy to report on our screening (last night) of the new major motion picture, The Dark Tower, a film adaptation of the book series (8 novels from 1982 to 2012) by Horror Maven Stephen King.

Major Dan (left, holding a copy of the original novel) and Dr. Zar (right, holding our pass) before going to the advanced screening.

As fans of Stephen King’s books and movies, this film was a must see, and we recommend it for all Stephen King fans and even those unfamiliar with the Dark Tower series.

Digging Deeper

King is perhaps the best known horror writer in the world today, and the reason for that is because his stories are captivating.  In The Dark Tower movie, his main character of the series, Roland of Gilead, aka The Gunslinger (Idris Elba), continues his quest to find the Man in Black, aka Walter O’Dim  (Matthew McConaughey) in order to kill Walter in revenge for Walter killing Roland’s friends and family.

Incredibly good casting choices for these 2 main characters make for a film that does not drag at any point.  Elba plays the brooding and serious Roland to perfection, and McConaughey is super believable as a dark wizard type, as Evil Incarnate.

The other main character is the boy, Jake, played by Tom Taylor, as an 11 year old with the “Shine,” King-speak for psychic powers.  Unlike many films with a young lad in an important role, Jake never gets too cute or too sassy for our tastes and plays an intrepid yet realistic young man that is intelligent and brave, but believably so in both regards.  This young actor’s acting is, like Elba’s and McConaughey’s, spot on.  The portrayal of Jake means ‘tweens’ will probably relate to the character and presents an excellent path into the world of Stephen King for a new generation of readers and movie goers.  (In other words, take your kids to see this film!)

The Dark Tower is not a rehash of any of the 8 novels it is based on, but a continuation of the story, so fans of the books should not be expecting a starting story of how Roland came to be or any of the familiar characters from the books.  Action takes place both on Keystone Earth (our world) and in Mid-World (Roland’s world).  Fans of the books should remember that well over 4000 pages of the story have been written, so do not expect 90 minutes of film to match that sort of epic tale telling.  By necessity, the plot must move quickly in order to achieve all the action needed for the plot, and it does.  The novels have the luxury of drawing out backstories as long as the author wants, but movies are different, so expect a faster paced story when you see the film.

Special effects are believable and the CGI is pretty good, amazing us older viewers with a movie reality we never thought we would see.  Likewise, kudos to the sound people for excellent sound and sound track.

Only 90 minutes long, the movie moves right along and does not get bogged down at any point, keeping the audience in their seats and paying attention throughout the film.  Word on the street is that follow on sequels and or television adaptation may follow, and we think the table has been set for exactly those scenarios, with further adventures of Roland and Jake, or either one of them alone.

We liked the movie and are looking forward to a sequel or television series.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

The Dark Tower: The Art of the Film (Hardcover)


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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.