I don’t see too many movies in the theater, but this was one I had to see. And really, the only reason I’m writing a review of it, is because of how much shit the movie is getting.
It’s a whole lot better than the critics are saying it is.
Let me say this to get it out of the way. By now, everybody knows the books are always better than the movies. That argument should never be used to describe a movie ever again. Ever. Kinda sick of hearing it. Using that is basically saying you have no actual thoughts on the movie, so you’re just going to go with the generic review. And if you ever go to see a movie and get upset because it wasn’t enough like the book, you only have yourself to blame, because you went into it thinking it might be different than all the other books turned movies. Guess what. It won’t be.
The only movie I’ve ever seen that was better than the book was Stephen King’s Silver Bullet. The reason for that is, the book it is based off of, Cycle Of The Werewolf, and the movie are two different things. Sure, some of the stuff that happens in the book made it to the movie. But the movie is mostly about a character from the book who has almost no page time in the book. While the book is good, the movie is much better.
And that’s where my review for The Dark Tower starts. The movie has almost nothing to do with the books, but it’s a really good damn movie.
What we have here is the skeleton of the books. The characters, so far, are all there. Roland, Walter, and Jake. “AKE!” as Oy would say, lovingly. The Dark Tower is about to come down and destroy Mid-World and our own Earth. Roland is on a mission to kill the Man In Black. Not Will Smith, but Walter, also known as Randall Flagg. Flagg, just to summarize, is the devil. He has appeared in 10 or so of King’s books and has taken a few different forms as well as names. Jake joins up with Roland on his quest and eventually they learn that they have to trek to the Dark Tower itself to stop it from coming down and ending everybody’s good time.
That’s where the similarities end. The Dark Tower is a book series about Roland Deschain. The movie is about Jake Chambers. The first book in the series is an excellent book and a fast read, but it would make a terrible movie. However, all of the main points of the book have been forgotten in the movie.
While watching the trailers for the movie, I thought that maybe they were going to incorporate the second book into it to help thicken it up with juicy goodness, but I was wrong. What they did was, they wrote the movie to do several things. One, was tell an almost completely different story while maintaining the bare bones of the source material. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, it worked.
The second things is, they wanted to appeal to everybody. You do not have to read the books to watch the movie. They explain everything quite easily in the movie so that those who are unfamiliar can get it, and those who are familiar can understand the changes.
Third, they had to make a movie worth seeing. They want to make money, and if they want the rest of the movies and the TV show to be able to come out, they have to get things started on the right foot.
Lastly, they have to set everything up. This movie was used to start the story. I heard a few people say they read the first book and didn’t care for it so they never continued in the series. Personally, I loved the first book, but, I also think that each book is better than the last, and if you didn’t care for the first, give the second a read. It’s really good.
With that said, this movie was done to set the story up and get things underway. The first twenty to thirty minutes of the movie were kind of bland, but again, they were setting up the story. The rest of the movie was awesome. Considering all of the other movies and shows based off of King’s works, this is the best looking one yet. I’m hopeful that IT will also be a good looking movie.
The only real thing I was disappointed in was, the movie is only 90 minutes long. Considering all of the boring padding they did in the beginning, I think they could have easily made up for it with another half hour of good stuff and told an even better story. Maybe not rushed it as much. Other than that, I don’t see any of the problems all of the critics are giving it.
I thought Matthew McConaughey was excellent as Walter, and even though I wasn’t cool with Idris being Roland at first, after just a minute or two of seeing him in the movie, I had already forgotten that I was upset with it and loved his performance. He owned Roland. The kid they got to play Jake Chambers also did a fantastic job in his role, and I think it’s sad that with him being the main character they use the former two as the headliners in the movie. Tom Taylor did a damn good job and he should be recognized for it.
One last thing I didn’t care for, and that was the ending of the movie. Roland and Jake have a moment where Roland seems like a real person and a nice guy, but he isn’t that way in the books at all. He might be nice, but he never really shows it. It just seemed cheesy to me. It didn’t feel right with the rest of the movie. Still though, I left the theater pumped to see what’s next.
For future reference, stop reading what professional critics have to say about movies. They’re almost never right. How they continue to have careers doing basically nothing, and failing at it, is beyond me.
If you’re interested at all in seeing this, I strongly suggest you do. Just check what you know of the series at the door and go in expecting a new-ish story. Silver Bullet took one part of the book’s story and basically dove into that story more to fill you in on it. That’s what this does. We see a bit more of what Jake went through before going to Mid-World. It was kind of neat to see more of his story in the beginning. I don’t know if they do that in the comics or not, but regardless, it worked in the movie, and I look forward to seeing more.
Because I got to see this with some buddies of mine, I was also welcomed to do a video review of it on Saturday Morning Cheap Seats. They see new movies every week and do a video review, so if you’re interested in seeing what they have to say about things coming out, check out their other stuff. This is currently the only one I’ve been in.
My buddy Joe is on the far left, buddy Jeremy is in the middle, and I’m on the right. I love the still for the video. Looks like I’m singing. I’m not.