Will ‘The Dark Tower’ prove to be Stephen King’s magnum opus?

Published: May 9, 2017
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The books had a religious-like following among fans, so the movie(s) and the potential franchise have some really big shoes to fill.

About some four decades back, big screen adaptations of Stephen King’s books were being made left, right and centre. King was a successful brand name and filmmakers made the most of it by churning out hit cinematic versions of CarrieThe ShiningCujoThe Dead Zone and Christineamongst various others. With time, this particular trend slowed down; The Shawshank Redemption being the last true King-inspired cinematic masterpiece that came out way back in the mid 90’s.

Ever since then, cinephiles have been waiting for another one of King’s gems which – considering how incredible his work is – is quite astonishing to say the least.

But all that could change during this year alone, as two of the writer’s most cherished works are ready to hit the theatres in 2017.

Idris Elba in The Dark Tower (2017) Photo: IMDb

It’s trailer was a viral sensation, clocking up close to 200 million views in the first 24 hours of its release, but surely it is King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower, which merits more attention.

Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba in The Dark Tower (2017) Photo: IMDb

The king of horror’s world-traversing fantasy epic has been an object of fascination for a huge number of filmmakers for quite some time now. It has now finally been made and thanks to the first official trailer, we are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it.

For the uninitiated looking for a quick crash course in tower’s mythology, the sci-fi/fantasy/horror saga comprises of eight books and as per King’s official website,

The Dark Tower series tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is traveling southeast across Mid-World’s post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower. Located in the fey region of End-World, amid a sea of singing red roses, the Dark Tower is the nexus point of the time-space continuum.  It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat. Someone, or something, is using the evil technology of the Great Old Ones to destroy it.”

So with that out of the way, what exactly does the trailer tell us about the movie? Well, for starters, it serves as a plot-setter for folks who might not be well-versed with the books. For the aforementioned group, the promo might remind them of world hopping The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe  fused with Westworld’s existential turmoil – the western setting also helps – coupled with quirky bullet tricks from The Matrix. In other words, the movie is a new take on lots of familiar ideas with nothing overtly novel. Therefore, you cannot blame the novices if they are not convinced as to why this series was so beloved.

Idris Elba and Nicholas Hamilton in The Dark Tower (2017) Photo: IMDb

But what still manages to sell the film as a watch-worthy proposition during the trailer – even to the newbies – is the sizzling on-screen presence of the principal cast.

Idris Elba stars as the enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger in the multiverse who faces off against Matthew McConaughey, who works for the forces of the Crimson King to destroy the Dark Tower, the fixed point that holds all of reality together.

Casting Elba as Ronald was a shock and a half to the fandom, considering that the gunslinger in the books is a quintessential white dude. However, as far as I am concerned, if it’s Elba, it’s kosher. The guy is a powerhouse of performance, and considering all the traits typically associated with Ronald minus the colour of his skin, Elba fits the role right down to a tee.

Matthew McConaughey in The Dark Tower (2017) Photo: IMDb

McConaughey, on the other hand, is a sexy devil and looks like an able adversary to Elba’s gunslinger.

The books had a religious-like following among fans, so the movie(s) and the potential franchise have some really big shoes to fill. Roland’s first step toward cinematic glory begins in August this year.

Hassan Sardar

Hassan Sardar

The author is an aspiring filmmaker and a diehard Liverpool fan. He also teaches Screenwriting and Cinematography, and loves tattoos and flip-flops. He tweets as @CineSardar (twitter.com/CineSardar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.