Apparently, fans are divided over the Dark Tower trailer that was released this morning. I know this, because Twitter told me about it in a little description under a trending topic for the movie. Isn’t it great when the media tells you how to feel?
Of course, you’d expect this to mean that fans of the Stephen King novels are unhappy with the way that the adaptation deviates from their expectations, because that’s always how we tend to depict fandom anger — and certainly many fans do feel that way. But surprisingly that’s not the case here at Pajiba, where it seems like it’s actually the exact opposite. Perhaps for most people, having a certain fondness for a source material actually causes you to feel more willing to love an adaptation? Or maybe we’re just a small sampling of weirdos and you shouldn’t take any stock in what we think.
Speaking of which! Some of the Overlords had a conversation about it and here’s what we think:
Petr Knava: So I have been exercising extremely cautious optimism during the entire marketing cycle of this thing. I *love* the first 4 books or so, and enjoyed the rest, flaws and all. That is to say: I’m way more emotionally invested in this than most adaptations. I think the main casting is on point, Elba being flawless and MM I also think an excellent choice for the despicable, disturbing Walter (remembering MM in Killer Joe makes me think he’ll be able to pull off that uneasy aura very well here). And the trailer? Overall I dig it. It’s hard to judge obviously as trailers, misleading bastards that they are, so often promise or tease something that doesn’t represent the final product too well, but that proviso aside I like the look of it. It feels like there’s a sorrow hanging over the proceedings, which, to me anyway, was one of the most prevalent emotions in the novel series. Jake and Roland need to have a super strong believable bond, and I know I’m basically judging it just on that one shot of them aiming their guns together, but that felt right to me. Some of the imagery I wasn’t too sure about — the masked ninja types who showed up relatively late in the trailer — but mostly I’m pretty happy with the door between worlds (though it did look a tiny bit tacky), each character’s look, the guns (THE GUNS LOOK AMAZING), and the shots of a desolate Mid World. The imagery of the Tower itself I’m not sure about yet.
One thing I will say is that last scene of Roland shooting blind is insanely cool and well done. I’m a bit annoyed I’ve seen it now actually instead of it being fresh in the cinema.
TK: My stake in this is sort of weird in that I read the first few books when I was in high school, and I loved them. But then I sort of drifted away from the series. And now it’s been so long that I don’t really remember them that well other than vague thematic memories (remember, I was in high school over 20 years ago because I’m An Old). So while I have respect for the series, I don’t have a lot of loyalty. Based on what I saw, I dug the trailer a LOT. I thought it was interesting and compelling. But that feeling is based on a vague sense of nostalgia and what appears to be very interesting imagery and solid acting. And I’m SOLD on McConnaghy as the Man in Black, and I know others are not.
Dustin Rowles: I haven’t read the books, but I was kind of underwhelmed by the trailer. It looked kind of generic, and not what I was hoping to see in what has been an incredibly anticipated movie for years. My overriding thought was basically, “Huh. That’s what all the fuss is about?”
Petr: My fear is that this will be a dangerously, offensively middle of the road, ‘Huh’ movie. Which, for a property that I love so much, would really hurt. I would almost prefer a terrible mess. But after the stop-start production, a feeling of ‘too many cooks’, and frankly not having much confidence in Arcel I gotta say: ‘Huh’ seems likely
Victoria McNally: I read the first book a very long time ago and have retained almost nothing from it, save for the scene where the Man in Black raises someone from the dead and leaves him there to drive that waitress insane. I also remember there being a boy but the fact that he’s our audience surrogate reminds me of the Tomorrowland trailer in an uncomfortable way. And as cool as the “I don’t kill with my gun, I kill with my heart” line sounds, I feel like… maybe the time for that kind of line has passed? I’m not completely opposed to gun violence in movies but I don’t know that it has quite the same effect now that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is so memetic as to practically be a punchline. I don’t know, I dig Idris Elba and I’ll definitely go see it because my boyfriend loves the books, but all this really made me want to do is read those instead.
Steven Lloyd Wilson: I’ll go ahead and be completely contrarian. I adore these novels. I’ve reread them more times than I can count. I probably won’t bother seeing this. Not because it doesn’t look good enough but because an adaptation just can’t be for me. I love books and just don’t care about movies and TV when it comes down to it compared to books. I loathe Game of Thrones. Jacksons’ LotR is practically a war crime. I don’t want an adaptation of something I love. No matter how much they get right it’s still an inferior facsimile because it’s not a book. Don’t care how luddite that makes me. For me, adaptations suck something out of the original and having seen the adaptation the book is left depleted somehow, because false images from the screen are superimposed over what was once glorious and free form imagination. Shrug. I know no one agrees.
Petr: I hear you, Steven. For me adaptations often take on a life of their own, very much independent of the source material. LOTR being a prime example. I grew up with the books and they were super formative for me. Still adore them. I also LOVE Jackson’s movies. Certainly the first two anyway. So I have great amounts of affection for both works, book and film, but I see them as quite distinct entities. If the Tower movie ends up being good I reckon that’ll be the case for it too. It it ends up being shite then, well I’ll just forget about it I suppose.
So we have two votes “loved the books, dig the trailer;” two votes “haven’t read the books, kinda meh at trailer,” one vote for “I hate everything on principle” courtesy of Steven, and a general understanding that the books are pretty neat. What say you, commenters?