Book(s) vs. Movie: The Dark Tower

Beyond the reach of human range,

a drop of hell, a touch of strange.

About the movie:

Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writers: Akiva Goldsman (screenplay by), Jeff Pinkner (screenplay by)
Stars: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

About the books:

A series of eight books written by American author Stephen King that incorporates themes from multiple genres, including dark fantasy, science fantasy, horror, and Western. It describes a “gunslinger” and his quest toward a tower, the nature of which is both physical and metaphorical.


Technically speaking, given the ending of the books, the movie is a sequel, which means that I saw the movie first. Just because. Well, that’s life.

The movie was fun to watch. McConaughey plays one hell of a villain, and I think he does a fine job at being the right kind of evil with a lot of sarcasm and irony. Nice mix. The gunslinger is just the same kind of tasteless, humorless man whose bravery is somehow hardwired into his very being. Quite an interesting battle between the two.

The movie does a fine job to translate the atmosphere of the books. The strangeness of it all. And this is not an easy feat, considering the mix of genres and the time King invested in developing this epic.

The books are a must read if you are into Lord of the Rings, which is what made King write the books in the first place. His very own take on this kind of narrative. Did he succeed? I believe so. Are these books his magnum opus? Possibly.

Stephen King has always given me the impression of being one of the hardest working writers out there. He approaches writing as mostly a craft. He does say so himself quite often. This means that the books are polished enough, commercial enough, and literary enough. Just enough. He’s no Tolkien, which I think he can agree with it. But then again, no other writer past or present managed to achieve the kind of complexity that Tolkien achieved in his narrative.

What King does best is mix all these genres together, all these stories and legends. It’s mesmerizing. It’s impossible to describe. The anachronisms, the magic, the tormented soul of the gunslinger, the evil he must face, part of it inherent in his own being. The world he describes reads like a dream from another life. A dream within a dream within a dream. A dream of being asleep, waking up to find out you were sleeping.

Something like that.

Well worth reading, guys. Well worth the time.

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