Went to see "The Dark Tower." My "expert" opinion? A resounding "meh."
The film, based on Stephen King's eight-book "The Dark Tower" series, was not terrible, which might have actually been better, or at least more memorable. It was simply unimpressive and a bit bland.
Basically, its plot ran like this: Setup and background. Run! Run! Exposition. Run! Run! Oooh, monsters. Shoot stuff. Exposition. Shoot more stuff. End.
Some of the CGI was laughable, looking like paintings on a backdrop. One scene with a demonic monster was so dark and the action so fast you couldn't really see what it looked like. I guess that took less time and effort and saved them some money.
Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of "The Dark Tower" books. I thought they were brilliant — with a slight detour into "You can't possibly be serious" when King wrote himself into "Song of Susannah." And unlike some readers, I thought the ending of the series was amazing and spot-on.
I knew going in that the film wasn't an adaptation of the books, or at least not a point-by-point take. It's supposedly set after the end of the books, although that's never actually said in the film, which makes sense since many of those going to see the movie haven't read the books. But, to keep fiction fans happy, there were a few toss-outs that only those who'd read the books would understand.
Reviews aren't very good and box office is lackluster, about $42 million worldwide. But more dollars will be coming in once it's released to DVD, Netflix, etc. Since the budget was only about $60 million, not including promotion and marketing, it should turn a profit. Which is good.
A profit would make it more plausible that "The Dark Tower" would be turned into a TV series, something the filmmakers said was the plan all along.
But that's nowhere near certain. Writing is still in the works; nothing has been filmed; no TV network has agreed to run the series. Chances are, though, that someone would step up if a couple of episodes are completed and studio execs are impressed.
A TV series would be far more satisfying than a 90-minute movie. The books are extremely detailed with a complex, multilayered plot that works well in an extended series.
If they can make Neil Gaiman's "American Gods," a single novel, into a multiseason show, and if the five books of "Game of Thrones" (and the long, long overdue sixth book) have become a TV phenomena, why not "The Dark Tower"?
I'd watch it.
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.