Over the weekend I saw an article online that said the first trailer to The Dark Tower movie could possibly be in front of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and I immediately got nervous. Like super nervous where my hands started sweating a little and my chest tightened. Dramatic? Sure. Truthful? For the most part. There was nothing I wanted less than the Dark Tower trailer to lead into Guardians for a number of reasons. Let’s just start with the basics, my Guardians excitement right now is through the roof. Like super high. Like if my Guardians excitement was a band it would be Cypress Hill (get it? No? It’s a weed joke). I want to go into that movie with zero cares and zero things weighing on me, I just want to geek out, weep like a grown man, and have a blasty blast at the movies. I don’t see anything wrong with that. The inclusion of a Dark Tower trailer quickly diminished my ability to do that. If you recall I wrote a long rant about a year ago discussing my thoughts on the Dark Tower movie, and among those thoughts I actually ranked the Dark Tower to my life importance (it fell to number four behind Hudson the Cat). You know that the Tower is super important to me and the idea of a trailer leading into the movie I’ve been most anticipating was too much. What if the trailer sucked? What if it was super awesome? What if it was just there? No matter what that trailer did it would have conflicted with my viewing of Guardians because there would have been no way for me to shake it.
I don’t want to re-hash the column from a year ago, but the gist of it is, the Dark Tower is my favorite book series and I’ve spent more time with these characters than any other series. That includes television and other books. This is my series. It has showed me the brilliance of writing, the excitement of a shared universe, fueled me creatively, and been there for me during tough times. The Dark Tower books are everything. Needless to say, there is no way I could have watched a trailer for something I’ve loved so much for so long and then just forgotten about it to watch a movie. It’s not possible. Hell, I have the word “ka” tattooed over my ankle. I take this series every where with me. My stress became real.
Luckily there was announcement yesterday that stated the trailer would be dropping today. Oh thank the gods. Crisis diverted. I could watch the trailer before Friday, work through my emotions, and still be able to enjoy Guardians. And then something struck me… I still had to watch the trailer. Yes, my Guardians experience had been saved but there was something else now pending. I’ve been searching for the Tower with Roland and the rest of the gang for over fifteen years now, that’s a little less than half my life, and now this story that I’ve carried in my mind for fifteen years was about to take a physical shape. The very idea behind that is terrifying. Let me explain my irrational love for the Dark Tower. I once ordered the seventh book on disc so I could take it with me whenever I got the urge to visit Mid World. I thought the idea was exciting and would help me catch up with how many times I’ve read the other books in the series. I put it on one night before going to sleep and within five minutes turned it off and sent it back. Nope. Couldn’t do it. Why? Because the narrator had no concept of the gravity in Roland’s voice. It was all wrong. It messed with the picture in my head. I packed that shit up and sent it away, sticking with my own head thoughts for the story. Now it’s going to be a movie and will forever be a physical representation?! I can’t guys. It’s too much for me.
I woke up this morning, begrudgingly went for a walk, begrudgingly did my crunches/push ups/squats, sat in my chair and went on Faceyspace where my friend Amy, who lives in Scotland and who I’ve come to know through Instagram for our mutual love for all things Dark Tower and Stephen King, had posted the link to the trailer. Suddenly it was real. It was right there in front of me. The trailer to one of the things I love most in the world. I couldn’t take it. I gasped which prompted the adorable creature to tell me “just do it” (she’s so good and she gets me). I sat there in my chair and played the trailer and watched for close to three minutes. The adorable creature let me have my moment as I watched (and we say thank you big big) and didn’t see as my eyes welled up with tears seeing this physical manifestation of a story I hold so dear. Tears might have even spilled over once I heard Roland’s voice. Because Geeklings, the voice was right. It was close to the voice I’ve been hearing all these years.
Which now prompts the question, was the trailer good? Which isn’t an easy answer at all. Not for me. For those who aren’t attached to the books the way I am, I’m sure it was good. That’s not fair. Yes, it was a pretty good/awesome trailer if I’m separating myself (which is tough). Was it the story I know? No, it wasn’t. There were elements of it. There were a lot of elements actually, but that in no way was the Dark Tower from the books, and I wasn’t mad about that. Not at all. In fact it was almost a relief.
You see the Dark Tower movie isn’t meant to be a clear adaptation of the series but kind of a continuation to book seven. I won’t get into spoilers because spoilers are cruel, but the story of Roland lends itself to something like this. The ending of the series lends itself to something like this. Which means if the movie is a continuation of the story or something entirely new the books can stay preserved. I can’t really get mad at what I’m seeing on screen because the movie isn’t trying to be the books. It’s trying to be this new story that comes from the wake of the books. Yes, I can get mad because the story is all wrong and doesn’t fit the universe or the tone, but I can’t get mad that they’re butchering the books because they’re not trying to tell that story. They’re trying to tell us what happens next and that makes this both a unique and ambitious project. If the movie happens to suck I can pretend it never happened and still enjoy the books, and if it’s all types of awesome then suddenly I have a new level of the Tower to explore. There is no middle ground here. It will either be one or the other. I’m okay with that.
Plus there were a number of things to like about the trailer outside of hearing Roland’s voice. There was watching him load one of his revolvers, not the showy reloading at the end of the trailer, but when his fingers blindly/rapidly pump bullets into his six shooter. I’ve always pictured Roland’s speed and precision like that. The landscapes matched how I’ve seen Mid World and looked like they were gorgeously shot. I’m all types of excited about Matthew McConaughey playing the Man in Black and think he’s going to kill it. The music was pretty intense and has me excited about a Dark Tower score. And most importantly the essence of the Tower itself seemed to beat through the trailer. Clearly Nikolaj Arcel understands the material and treats it with the gravity it deserves. So do McConaughey and Elba if you’ve watched any of their Twitter exchanges.
The long and the short of it is I’m doing alright after watching this. I’ve watched it a number of times actually, and each time I feel a bit better and even excited. Don’t mistake that excitement as ignoring my need to vomit blood into a trash can because I’m so nervous about this, but I also want to see it. Need to see it. Whether I love it or hate it doesn’t matter. There is a new Dark Tower story to be explored and I need to be there to explore it. Just like I have been these last fifteen years. I just want it to stand and be true.