I was delighted to accept an invitation to a press screening of the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower hosted at Sony Pictures Europe’s London Offices.
I was unsure what to expect as the reviews [from the US] have been disappointing, which surprised me due to the strength of the two leads Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, as well as the base narrative from Stephen King.
Firstly, the film retains the flavour [rather than a pure adaptation] of King’s opening to his sequence of fantasy novels featuring The Gunslinger. It mixes the ‘there are worlds other than these’ tagline with an urgent cinematic ‘take’ of these books; so-much-so that the running time flies by in a hail of bullets and action like a John Woo production, but one with a supernatural undercurrent to the proceedings.
The special effects are impressive, as is the action and urgency of the tale when a young boy named Jake Chambers is still recovering from the death of his Fireman Father and finds himself plagued with nightmares and visions. His Mother and Step-Father as well as his school are disturbed by the boy’s behaviour.
The visions emanate from another dimension of sorts, and relate to the eponymous Tower, as well as The Man in Black [Matthew McConaughey] and the Gunslinger [Idris Elba]. No one believes Jake, that is until the link between the dimensions is established as well as the significance of The Tower – and then the inter-dimensional war commences.
Alternating between current day New York and the Wasteland, diehard Stephen King readers [if eagle eyed] will notice subtle references to this writer’s work interspersed throughout the film; which at times is breathless as well as stimulating.
The climax is satisfying and leaves the dimensional door ajar for future adventures; and despite what others have said, The Dark Tower remains an exciting and invigorating film from a fevered imagination.
I thanked Kerry Hood and Nick Sayers of Hodder and Stoughton [Stephen King’s long standing British Publishers] for the invitation to visit The Dark Tower as well as having a good chat with Phillipa Pride [King’s UK Editor] and of Book Doctor.
The film opens in cinemas in the UK on Friday 18th August; and remember Shots Magazine have copies of The Dark Tower in Paperback available Here
With writer Matt Thorne