Stephen King fans were a buzz earlier this week when the long awaited trailer for The Dark Tower debuted online. Starring Idris Elba as Roland The Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, the story is a sort of sequel, sort of reinvention of the classic book series from Stephen King. Young Jake Chambers discovers another dimension called Mid-World. Discovering an evil force is intent on destroying The Dark Tower, Jake relies upon Roland Deschain, the last of a mystical brand of knights called Gunslingers, to help stop The Man in Black before all of reality is destroyed.
The opening of the trailer was a fun throwback to the third novel, The Waste Lands. Jake Chambers is having visions of an other worldly place. His shrink tells him what he saw was simply a dream and to ignore the whole thing. Eagle eyed viewers of the trailer noticed that after he said this, a small earthquake hits, leaving you on a photo on the shrink’s desk. That photo? The Overlook Hotel from The Shining.
That struck the right chord with me. The Dark Tower series is essentially the series of books that Stephen King bases all his work around. They’re his magnum opus if you will. When reading the books, you get numerous flashbacks to previous works from King. In a way, it allows him to explore the impact of his work in an almost meta way. Heck, later in the series, Stephen King himself ends up a character that the heroes of the story have to save. The Overlook Hotel and the later image of a clown statue with the word Pennywise next to it, a shoutout to the villain from IT, are signs that this movie, and the potential sequels if this movie is a hit, will not be afraid to explore the references to King’s other work, one aspect of The Dark Tower series which I enjoyed.
The action in the trailer was mediocre. It also didn’t feel like it belonged in The Dark Tower universe that I remember from the books. The sheer speed that Roland loads his guns, or when he tosses the bullets in the air and they all land perfectly into the empty chambers, didn’t sit right with me. Admittedly, it’s a minor quibble that I will probably forget when I see the scene in the movie in context.
I didn’t see enough of The Man in Black in the trailer to get a proper read on his character. The Man in Black, known by other names and appearing in other stories written by Stephen King, is probably King’s best villain. To me, the best villains are ones that can almost convince you that their actions are right. In this trailer, you see Matthew McConaughey ham it up like Matthew McConaughey can. You almost expected to hear a speech about high school girls all staying the same age. I will gladly change my tune when I see the final film but I’m not buying him as The Man in Black yet.
Some folks were upset at the casting of Idris Elba as Roland Deschain. They claimed that Roland was white in the books and should be white on the screen. They also stated that Roland being black would screw up the subplot featured in the books with Susannah Dean. I call shenanigans on that one. To start, Idris was the bright spot among the actors in this trailer. He looked like The Gunslinger I saw in my mind when reading the books, apart from not having a hat. He sounds like him. The care and love he shows for Jake near the end of the trailer is similar in vein to how Roland treats Jake in the novels. I believe Idris Elba is perfectly cast as The Gunslinger. When Susannah Dean is introduced in the movie, they will have to address the racial tension subplot but I think there’s a simple solution for that. Drumroll please…..Susannah Dean can be cast by a white woman. The director of the movie, Nikolaj Arcel, had this to say on the subject according to Entertainment Weekly.
â€œSome fans are asking, understandably, â€˜What about the racial tension?â€™â€ Arcel says. â€œBut as the story progresses that will be made clear, how weâ€™ll deal with all those things.â€
Overall, I was not wowed by the trailer. There were certainly some cool elements that I loved seeing. Yet I didn’t get the feeling that I was in the world that I remember from the books. Contrast this with the original trailers from movies like The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Both of those trailers nailed the feel of the world from the very first image. The Dark Tower is simply not there yet. I’ve seen enough to know I want more but admittedly, there’s still doubt that this movie may end up being a mess.
So what did you think? Did you enjoy the trailer? Were there any aspects of the trailer that didn’t seem right to you? What did the filmmakers do right? Sound off in the comments section below.
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SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly