THE DARK TOWER
THE RETURN OF THE KING
It took Peter Jackson three marathon movies to bring The Lord Of The Rings’ “unfilmable” 1,300-or-so pages to cinematic glory, so spare a thought for Danish director Nikolaj Arcel, whose job is to condense a total of 3,824 pages (volumes dependent) of Stephen King’s seven-book magnum opus into a single film. And that not insignificant task conveniently ignores the saga’s recent eighth entry (a further 355 pages) and the dozens of King novels inexorably tethered to the series’ wider plot.
It’s therefore more realistic to consider 2017’s The Dark Tower less as a retelling of King’s complete post-apocalyptic Western and more an adapted novella taking part in its universe; quite possibly one that’s set after the conclusion of the final book if a recent tweet by Stephen King is to be taken at face value. With the increasingly in-demand Idris Elba wearing the cowboy boots of wandering gunslinger Roland Deschain, and Matthew McConaughey cast as his diabolical adversary the Man in Black, the pieces are in place for this to be one of the most memorable films based on King’s works. Elba’s the perfect actor to play a role originally modelled on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, and while the lone movie’s running time means that the appearance of Roland’s full Ka-Tet is highly questionable, even a slender visit to the deserts of Mid-World and its cauldron of magic, monsters and maniacal machines should be more than enough to double up as a doorway through which a new audience is drawn to seek out the full Dark Tower saga.
Matthew McConaughey suitably attired for his part.