In the early hours of yesterday morning, the long-awaited trailer for Sony Pictures’ big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower finally dropped. People had generally been nervous about how the trailer would look, given the dishearteningly lackluster marketing campaign for the film Sony has run over the past few months. Unfortunately, the trailer affirmed those doubts and, in the minds of many across the web and on social media, it cemented the belief that the Dark Tower movie will not be anywhere near as good as they had hoped when it was announced.
“It looks as cool, as computer-generated and as flat as a film that came out more than several years ago,” writes a reporter at Culturess in a review of the trailer, adding that he has not read the books and went into the viewing with no expectations, either positive or negative.
The report also notes the trailer’s poor aesthetics.
“The Dark Tower looks just like an animated Disney film. The visuals feel like the same level of quality.”
The Dark Tower trailer’s technical aspects are not the only flaws being complained about, either. In fact, the much more common complaint is that the trailer does not reflect what makes Stephen King stories so nuanced and instead seems to water down the tale into just another young adult flick.
“The sorts of binary struggles promised in the trailer aren’t really what our particular world needs right now, and they’re not the Kingish themes that stand up well on screen,” writes Wired, which, once again, is not a King fan site.
In other words, the whole “good vs. evil, black vs. white” vibe the Dark Tower trailer makes out to be the thrust of the movie is not what makes King’s work good.
“Some of the most successful adaptations of his books are the movies based on two stories in Different Seasons, the novellas that became Stand By Me and Shawshank,” the piece continues. “Those books and films are about relationships between people, personal journeys, and thinking yourself around a corner, through the wall, and straight out of prison. Apocalyptic shoot-outs between cowboy knights and creepy monster-things are fun enough to watch, but there are other worlds than these—and we need to find them.”
The Dark Tower books are somewhat of a cornerstone for Stephen King’s works. His writing of the series spanned more than 40 years of his life, and they contain references and Easter eggs that link them to nearly every one of his other 50 or so novels. Because of this, hardcore King fans are especially attached to The Dark Tower, and that fact only enhanced their dismay at seeing a trailer that they felt was not worthy of being associated with the series.
One hotbed for fans’ opinions on the trailer, for example, is the Stephen King subreddit, which is perhaps the hub for Stephen King-related news and opinion on the internet and which has a page dedicated specifically to discussion about the Dark Tower trailer.
“It kinda looks like they’ve stripped out all of the weird little quirks of the books and turned it into a sort of generic YA (Young Adult) fantasy thing,” notes a user named Perscitia.
“I’m really concerned that they tone down the Western and Horror aspects of the books and turn it into a YA sci-fi kind of story,” reads the top-rated comment on the page, which was posted by Citizen_Kong.
He’s not kidding about the genre diversity of the series, either. In The Dark Tower, Stephen King managed to blend not only the western, horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres but also action, adventure, thriller, mystery, romance, and even surrealism. To be fair, though, it’s probably a bit much to ask for a single feature film, even one based on the immortal Dark Tower novels, to do all that.
“There was no way we were ever getting something as dark and weird as the books, as much as we’d love it,” wrote another user called Btwriter.
Of course, there were those who did enjoy the trailer. In fact, after plans to make a Dark Tower movie are finally coming to fruition after having been tossed around for the last 10 years, some fans are elated just to be getting any Dark Tower at all.
Another thing that got people excited was the inclusion of Easter eggs for some other well-known Stephen King works, certainly appropriate given The Dark Tower‘s centrality to the King universe. It also speaks to one of The Dark Tower‘s most famous lines, “There are other worlds than these.”
One of the Easter eggs can be found at 0:39, when a photograph of the infamous Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining is shown to be on a table in the therapist’s office.
The other can be found at 1:29, when Jake (one of the main protagonists of The Dark Tower) walks into a forest clearing in which large cut-out letters read “Pennywise.” This is obviously a reference to the big bad from Stephen King’s It.
Did you catch anything else in the trailer? And do you agree with the majority who think it makes The Dark Tower look terrible? Make yourself heard in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Fotograv/iStock]