Saturday, May 06, 2017

Wait, What?! Roland Doesn't Wear a Cowboy Hat?! Looks Like 'The Dark Tower' Movie Is Gonna Suck.

So the first trailer of The Dark Tower has been released, and it essentially confirmed what I had feared since I saw the set pictures and promo stills: Roland Deschain won’t have a cowboy hat.

Bummer.  This movie is gonna suck.

Kidding aside, this seems petty, but I want Roland to wear a cowboy hat.  Look, I really love The Dark Tower book series – a brilliant, eclectic science fantasy epic – and Roland is my most favorite fictional Western gunfighter.  Thus, I want him to be depicted perfectly on screen.  And, next to the guns, the cowboy hat is the definitive element that identifies him as a gunslinger – the Gunslinger.  Without it, the ruggedly enchanting gravitas of the character is significantly lessened.  I’m fine with making him black in the movie – especially if the actor cast is someone as awesome as Idris Elba – despite being described as a white man in the books.  But no cowboy hat?  It’s a deal-breaker.

So the trailer shows several magnificent footage.  My favorites are the parts where Roland is being a remarkable gunslinger.  Especially the three different ways he reloads his large six-shooters….
…and a demonstration of his uncanny marksmanship, after the gunslinger mantra is recited in Elba’s epic voice.
I love all of these for they provide excellent glimpses of the Gunslinger’s badassery.  (In this regard, I was also a little disappointed, since I also wanted to see a footage showing his lightning-speed hands in display – hands so fast, they appear as blurs to normal human eyes – and none of such is in the trailer.  Hope there’s a scene like that in the movie.)

But aside from those, there’s little I liked about the trailer.

Matthew McConaughey, brilliant actor that he is, appears to be just playing a generic “dark” villain.  Randall Flagg is more slithery, more jestery, more unhinged – a bit more Ramsay Bolton-y – than what the trailer is hinting to be McConaughey’s approach in portraying the character.  Flagg is a fascinating villain, and it’s very important to get him right.

I also don’t like the implication that there will only be two worlds featured – “our world” and “Roland’s world” – when The Dark Tower should have an ambitiously out-there inter-dimensional, inter-world, inter-reality, inter-time period storyline.
In the end, if you are a fan of the books, a deep analysis of the trailer isn’t required to notice that there’s just something “off” about it.  There are subtle red flags here and there.  The visuals and action appear to be great, but the overall feel just doesn’t have an accurate The Dark Tower quality.  It seems like there’s an excess of “dumbing down” made and studio-imposed “creative liberties.”

Still, I will give this movie a chance.  I’m no longer as optimistic and enthusiastic as before, but I’m still rooting for it to succeed.

I think I’ll be fine with a reimagined Dark Tower story, but it should capture the rich, unique, complex, weird, gothic Western science fantasy sense that it’s beloved for.  Who knows.  Maybe its “being its own thing” will work.  Maybe it’ll be terrific by its own.  Maybe it’ll blow my mind.  Maybe it’ll have the shocking Split-like plot twist of kicking off the Stephen King shared cinematic universe (as his books are connected anyway) by establishing a definite connection to It (unlikely though, as that’s produced by a different studio) or setting up a The Stand spin-off movie.

And, hopefully, by the time the movie is released, I would have gotten over the fact that Roland has no effin’ cowboy hat.

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