THE DARK TOWER Trailer: The Gunslinger Chases...

Contributing Editor; Cairo, Egypt (@bonnequin)
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THE DARK TOWER Trailer: The Gunslinger Chases...

While perhaps not as widely known as many of the big blockbuster movies coming out this summer, the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's epic novel series has its fandom who are finally being awarded the first trailer. You can count me among one of the fans of the books. And I've expressed cautious optimism about the film thus far.

Well, after viewing this trailer, my cautious optimism stands. While Idris Elba is the perfect choice for cynical, world-weary gunslinger Roland Deschain, the story the creative team seem to have lifted from the series might be the safest in scope and execution, forgoing some of the more interesting characters and darker storylines. Given that Hollywood doesn't like to take risks, I couldn't necessarily blame them for that.

Roland Deschain, a gunslinger from a world parallel to ours, must catch the Man in Black and stop him from destroying the Dark Tower, which holds together all the worlds in the universe. He meets Jake, a boy from New York with a strange psychic ability, who helps to chase down the man and the save the worlds.

This trailer shows off the beautiful look and sound of the film; certainly it isn't wanting for talent in the CGI department. The true test will be how it adapts the rich and layered story. My guess is not to the liking of most fans, but for now, we can watch the trailer and speculate.

The Dark Tower opens in North America on August 4th.

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Allan KoayMay 3, 2017 10:17 AM

oh goodness, please don't turn this into another WANTED type cartoonish gun action.

you got Idris Elba, don't fuck it up!

KurtMay 3, 2017 10:51 AM

Kudos on the FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE pocket watch appropriation, even if this whole enterprise otherwise looks like a piece of garbage.

Shelagh M. Rowan-LeggMay 3, 2017 12:14 PM

yeah, having watched a few times now, my hope is waning. I understand the need to strip down the story to a few basic elements, but this just looks like a bad action film. And McConaughy is completely the wrong choice for the man in black.

StuMay 3, 2017 12:41 PM

Not much in this that either lights my fire or douses it. I certainly don't see reason to think, in Kurt's words below, "this whole enterprise otherwise looks like a piece of garbage." But nor do I see reason to entirely unleash my optimism.

I'm a fan of Elba's casting, but it is going to take some getting used to. He just doesn't automatically trigger the book's mental imagery and associations, though this should pass with familiarity.

They're also largely forced to market this as a high stakes adventure film, whereas the soul of the book rests very much in the human relationships and rich universe. It remains to be seen how this balance looks in the final film, and I intend to hang onto my optimism until then.

StuMay 3, 2017 12:51 PM

Something I've realized is that the MiB's character changed enormously over the course of the series. I would agree that McC in this trailer doesn't really jive with the aloof MiB from the earlier books, but by the latter books he had become far more insidious and charismatic. If we're getting the MiB from later in the series, which seems the case with book timelines being reshuffled, then this version of the character seems more appropriate.

It's the aesthetics of the trailer that resonated least with me. I just didn't see imagery that triggered the books in my mind.

wagnerfilmMay 3, 2017 1:58 PM

Well, I suppose there's sufficient time between now and August to knock out the books.

StuMay 3, 2017 2:16 PM

The audiobooks are phenomenal, just fyi

wagnerfilmMay 3, 2017 9:02 PM

Cool. In any event, I get the distinct impression that turning the kid into the viewpoint character, who wanders through a portal and becomes Robin to Roland's Batman is not quite faithful to the books? This trailer looks way more like MCU product than anything Stephen King might have written.

StuMay 3, 2017 9:13 PM

Well, the truth is there are multiple viewpoints. The Gunslinger's posse ultimately comprises 4 people, all of whom are central perspectives in the books, so placing the viewer in Jake's shoes isn't such a departure. That being said, Roland is certainly the crux.

In terms of faithfulness to the books... well that's impossible to begin with, and furthermore, the filmmakers are intentionally leveraging a core premise of the series to buy themselves some narrative freedom.

I haven't really seen anything that strikes me as a deplorable departure from the books yet. The casting of Elba as Roland does raise some challenging questions about how his relationship with another central character will play out in subsequent films. I haven't yet figured out how they're going to handle that, but suffice to say that racism is a defining feature of the relationship, and a black Roland upends that dynamic. They've obviously got a plan though, and this is probably one of the more interesting aspects of the adaptation that I am looking forward to seeing them tackle.

Bottom line, no film series could surpass these books, but the poo-poo'ing I've seen out there seems premature and self-inflicted. I'd hate to see this go the way of John Carter - dead on arrival in the public's eye, with the film itself playing little role in that designation.

But then I remember it's written by Akiva Goldsman, and my balls tie themselves into a knot.

StuMay 3, 2017 9:32 PM

Audiobooks are the best I've ever heard though! They used two narrators because one eventually died, but both were absolutely phenomenal, particularly considering the cornucopia of characters and the importance of strange dialects, accents and language in general.

I really can't recommend this audiobook series enough. (Though it's worth noting that Stephen King himself narrated the most recent book - a standalone connected with the series - and he is unfortunately the worst narrator I've ever heard).

One-EyeMay 3, 2017 11:50 PM

As a fan of the books (and someone who got to read a draft of the script) I could spend pages ripping this trailer to shreds.

But why bother? I'll be there opening day. I just hope Junkie XL's score isn't the same kind of raucous techno he did so brilliantly for FURY ROAD. A movie like this needs something classic.

One-EyeMay 3, 2017 11:57 PM

'The casting of Elba as Roland does raise some challenging questions
about how his relationship with another central character will play out
in subsequent films. I haven't yet figured out how they're going to
handle that, but suffice to say that racism is a defining feature of the
relationship, and a black Roland upends that dynamic.'

Exactly. That's what pissed me off so much when the shrieking SJW harpies like Devin Faraci were like "YOU'RE RACIST!!!" to anyone who had concerns about casting a black man as Roland. But shriek they must. How else are they gonna get clicks?

Let's face it, everyone loves Idris Elba, and it's awesome to see him lead a big studio franchise like this, but that racial dynamic is essential to the subsequent storyline. But unless they cover that material in the TV series with no ratings restrictions I don't imagine much of it getting into a PG-13 feature film.

Sasa RankovicMay 4, 2017 11:24 AM

They got Idris Elba horrendously miscast, so they fucked up already

Sasa RankovicMay 4, 2017 11:40 AM

The amount of re-write because of reverse-casting (Elba should have been MiB, while Matthew is clearly Roland) and being given carte-blanche because of the Horn of Eld (this is not a film in the time-space of King's books, it's one or many resets down the road) gives absolute 0 confidence in quality of the script. Young adult movie theme (Jake as protagonist, comming of age) PG13 rating, losing Eddie Dean and (O)Detta (clearly because Detta is brasist, and Rolanf is AF/AM), original scriptwriter and rewrite team....I do not need to give opportunity to tihs movie it's a steaming pile of .... right now

God of JoyMay 4, 2017 3:37 PM

cautiously optimistic. from a story telling standpoint in makes sense to start with jake's story, as it is something unfamilliar viewers can relate to. I love Elba as Roland, I think McConaughey is perfect on paper as MiB but there is too little of him in the trailer (really more a tease than a full blown trailer). I know these books backwards and forwards and am willing to give a little creative leeway here to see it on the big screen.

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