I have a love-hate relationship with fantasy films. Ralph Bakshi’s 1980 attempt at animating The Lord Of The Rings was deeply disappointing to me, so much so that I didn’t even bother to see the first film of Peter Jackson’s trilogy when it came out in 2001. Despite my love of the genre, there have been fantasy films which have been so awful as to be unwatchable. Eragon, for example.
I haven’t finished The Dark Tower series yet. Even though the pace is slow and some of the episodes are gruesome, I am very, very impressed by it so far. So impressed that I am ready to consider it the quintessential piece of American mythopoeia. The Dark Tower is American in a way that reworks our history. For this reason it is violent and virginal at the same time. There is a lot more I would like to say about King and The Dark Tower, but not now.
I hope Ron Howard is up to the task. He is not the first director that springs to mind in adapting Steven King to the silver screen. He is somewhat sentimental, but in this, he matches King himself. The Dark Tower is awash with sentiment, despite its darkness. Brian De Palma didn’t capture it in Carrie and Stanley Kubrick certainly didn’t capture it in his emotionally frigid The Shining. Both of those films are technically superior to Hearts In Atlantis or The Green Mile, but these two imperfect films capture King in a way that Carrie or The Shining do not. I have to keep telling myself that Howard has some fantasy rep; Splash, Cocoon, and Willow were all good films.
It remains to be seen if the rest of the series is as well-casted. May I suggest Ryan Gosling as Eddie Dean, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark from A Game Of Thrones) as Jake Chambers? I know Isaac is British, but isn’t Jake upper-crust New York? It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.