The Wheel of Ka Turns….
This week, it was quietly announced that Amazon is going to start production on a Dark Tower series this Spring. Which means that yes, I am officially back on the hype train for an adaptation of one of my favorite book series, even though I know that it will undoubtedly let me down. I sat through the lackluster film adaptation released a few years ago, and while it had a few glimmers of what I wanted from a Dark Tower project, the end result was a far cry from the epic tale that the series deserved. But now, it seems like Amazon’s plan could be the project that gives this series the spotlight it requires.
For starters, Amazon’s adaptation is going to be a series, a move that honestly should’ve been done instead of a movie. The Dark Tower is simply too much story to fit into a three-hour movie, so when the end result was a meager 90 minutes, you can imagine how the end product felt. At seven books, a handful of short stories, and a line of comics, Stephen King’s series is his magnum opus, and arguably the best batch of novels he’s ever written (at least the first four installments are). Seeing it condensed down into an hour and a half felt less like I was watching something that was created by someone who understood the source material, and more like someone who glanced at the Wikipedia entry for the series and said “yeah, yeah, I got it” and then created a film from it.
Another aspect of Amazon’s take on the series is that it’s effectively going to start with the fourth book in the series, Wizard In Glass. The main meat of that installment is Roland Deschain’s youth, and how he became a Gunslinger under his father’s kingdom. Not only is this an easier entry point for new audiences into the world of Dark Tower (this is where the Marvel Comic line started too), it also helps Amazon differentiate themselves from the film, which despite coming in at the top of the box office when it was released, was still a colossal bomb for the studio. Show-runners Glen Mazzara and -sigh- Akiva Goldsman, can essentially start over fresh and correct the (many) mistakes that the film made.
Or not. Who knows? Despite this being a complete reboot of the franchise, there’s still a good chance that Amazon, Mazzara, Goldsman, and even Stephen King himself could mess it up all over again. But after sitting through the movie, I have to remind myself that it can’t really get any worse.
If it does, the Wheel of Ka will continue to move on.