Monday, 1 August 2016

Revival, and why I'm worried about The Dark Tower movie...

Stephen King still remains my favourite author of all time ( he sits proudly at the top of my top 3, closely followed by Robin Hobb and John Connolly) but in recent years I've kind of stopped reading his books for no reason other than that I don't read anywhere near as much as I once did now I am a writer.
That said, when I saw Revival in a charity shop recently for just £2, I knew I had to have it.
Revival is very "Hearts in Atlantis" in style in that it is very much a nostalgia piece.
It begins way back in the sixties when a young boy first encounters the new reverend in town, and then goes on to tell the story of how this man continues to feature in this boy's life through the next few decades as he slowly becomes a man and discovers that both their fates are intertwined.
It is a great book and right up there with King's best, but to say any more about it would be to do it an injustice.
It is just one of those books you need to experience for yourself, but I'm happy to say it never disappoints and ranks right up there as one of my favourite King books that he has ever written.

King is an awesome writer who thinks nothing of crossing genres and always trying to deliver something that his readers might not think to expect. 
The films of his many books are a very different animal entirely though, and that is why I'm worried about the film adaptation of what is arguably his greatest work, The Dark Tower.
Putting aside that they have cast Idris Elba as Roland, the gunslinger, (shock, horror - a black man in what is supposed to be a white man's role - not like Hollywood has ever done anything like that before, is it? Aeon Flux starring Scarlett Johansen, I'm looking at you) - something I really don't have a problem with btw - the history of King's books being translated into film is not a favourable one.
Yes, there have been some truly great movie adaptations, but equally there have been just as many bad ones, if not more. 
One of the things that does give me hope about The Dark Tower film though is the fact that it appears to be, from all accounts, not a faithful adaptation of the books but a kind of sequel.
Those who have read The Dark Tower novels from beginning to end will be aware that Roland's journey across the Wastelands is not the first time that he has attempted to reach The Dark Tower and that with each climax, his quest appears to begin anew.
The movie, it appears, is going to show a whole new cycle of events as Roland begins his journey all over again; thus explaining this time around why the colour of his skin has changed and why we will not be seeing, at least in the first film, some of the characters that we readers have come to know and live like Eddie and Odetta.
This isn't the Roland Deschain readers think they know, but a new interpretation as the gunslinger begins his journey from the beginning for what is allegedly the last time.

Doesn't mean it's going to be any good, but the chance to experience a whole new chapter of The Dark Tower, albeit on the big screen, has to be a good thing, right?
I mean, the last fix we had was with the interim novella, The Wind through the keyhole and that was years ago so anything new has to be a good thing, right? Right?

That's the problem, we really don't know.

Recently, I had the misfortune to watch Carrie 2: The Rage and it was awful.
I love the original Carrie, and even quite enjoyed the remake hen I saw it on Netflix recently, but the sequel is atrocious. It was like Beverly Hills 90210 with telekinesis, the actors couldn't act their way out of a paper bag, and an attempt to catch up with lone survivor, Susan, many years later never really goes anywhere. The story teases that the same man who fathered Carrie White is also responsible for fathering the new girl in this film, ignoring the fact of however many years might have passed between his fathering both children, and then never really goes anywhere with it.
Susan, now a teacher, seems to know a hell of a lot about recessive genes and how the telekinesis gene is passed on through the male and then is woefully under-used and the whole thing just feels like a disaster. 
And what is up with those tattoos that suddenly seem able to move across her body when the new girl's powers come into effect? 
Don't even get me started on that.

Yes, I know, Carrie 2 is not really an adaptation of a King book, more a shameless cash-in, but the fact remains, King books rarely make a successful transition to film.

In future blog posts, I intend to look at some of the many success and failures that have occurred over the years, but the law of averages states that The Dark Tower movie has a lot of work to do and a lot to prove if it is going to be one of the better ones.

And that, that is why I'm worried it's going to suck.

Still, there's always the remake of IT to look forward to, right?

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