I had really high hopes for Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, yet it’s been getting some really bad early reviews from some very reputable outlets.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting for someone to make a cinematic version of Stephen King’s incredible Dark Tower series. So naturally, when I heard that Ron Howard wanted to get it done, I was getting very excited indeed. There were reports of people like Javier Bardem and Russell Crowe being up to play the titular Roland Deschain, a.k.a. The Gunslinger, either of which would have been an excellent choice. There was also talk of trying to turn it into a TV series, then an idea of making a movie and following it up with a TV series.
Eventually, Nikolaj Arcel was hired to direct the movie, which would star Idris Elba as Roland and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, also known as Walter o’Dim and Walter Padick (he goes by many names). This is an incredible good cast, but if the early reviews are anything to go by, Arcel has delivered a real dud of a movie.
UPROXX’s Mike Ryan wrote, “Honestly, I just can’t get over how much of a disaster this movie turned out to be.” He also went on to compare it to 2010’s Jonah Hex (oh dear). The Hollywood Reporter also published their early review and described The Dark Tower as “generic and cobbled together”. All of this isn’t very good PR for Columbia Pictures who are distributing the movie, and it really does look like The Dark Tower will fall flat on its face at the box office. Naturally, people will go to see the film, myself included, mainly on the strength of the cast, yet the likelihood of there being any sequels will be next to none.
Alarm bells started to ring back when Variety reported that The Dark Tower screen-tested incredibly poorly in early previews. There were even rumours that Sony Pictures, who co-funded the project, were considering delaying the movie, even possibly pulling it entirely. There were reports of conflicting visions between the director Arcel, and the film’s producers, which they have all since dismissed as mere speculation.
I will still go and see The Dark Tower, mainly because I’ve waited for so long to see this story told on the big screen, yet I can’t help but go in with a huge sense of trepidation. Thinking back to what could have been, I just wish the Howard and Universal had succeeded in turning it into a TV show because there’s simply too much world, or should I say too many worlds, to cover in just one movie. The novels would have been far better suited to the longer format that television offers. It could have very easily been the next Game of Thrones. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see The Dark Tower done justice on the screen, be it the big or small screen.
The Dark Tower hits UK cinemas on the 18th August.