Written by Scott Edwards
What would you do if you knew that the world was going to end? Would you plan for survival, if you think that you could make it? Would you spend your last few days with your family and friends? Or would you just go out on some sort of spree, since nobody will be here tomorrow? Me? I would plan for survival as I have been through so many things in my life that have not taken me out yet, I think I would be able to make it once again.
A sudden shift in tectonic plates has taken place and a change of weather patterns has taken over the world. With rain coming down in full force, it seems like it is just a monsoon season gone drastically wrong, but it is much more than that. As the government has been quietly constructing Arks for the survival of the species, they have been prepared for this for some time now. Having to ensure that human civilization will survive after the storm passes, they are making sure to have everything we as humans need to survive in a brave new world, and this includes bugs.
Most people do not understand how important the insects are to our habitat and without the correct breeds, the human race will only last as long as their supplies will. With hundreds of thousands of DNA samples being transported to an ark location being blocked off by the severe flooding, the team must find a way to gather all of the essential breeds to ensure the survival of the human race. Collecting some but not all, the team struggles with the decision of what to do next, as they understand the outcome of not having some of the certain breeds on their boat.
Taking their search to the cave systems to try and find some of these essential insects, the team has to find a way to escape the impending flooding that is headed their way. As higher ground is becoming more and more rare, everyone is running out of ways to stay dry, much less alive. Without understanding how critical the situation really is, the general population will most certainly perish without knowing what is really happening. As the government keeps their mouths sealed about the planet's impending doom, they seem to be more concerned about living, than surviving.
An apocalyptic movie that deals with the forward thinkers. Even if life on this planet changed from how we have known it, it is nice to know that there might be something looking out for our overall survival. With forty days of rain and flooding that cannot be stopped, it seems like the only way to stay alive would be on a boat of some sort and the ark seems to be the best way. If you are looking to survive an extinction level event, it might be something to look into as you never know who, if anyone will truly have your best interests in mind. Happy Viewing.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Despite the incredible wealth of motion pictures that Hollywood sends our way year after year, there are unfortunately quite a few screenplays out there that never make their way to the silver screen. This is an issue that can sometimes be related to timing for said screenplay, or the script itself needs plenty more work before it’s ready to be filmed. Or unfortunately, sometimes the story is ahead of its time and people aren’t quite ready to embrace its relevance.
These are the kinds of scripts that cause great debates at the big studios, as producers and executives wonder if the story in question can be presented to the masses and still be successful and alas, often times, if it cannot meet their criteria in the slightest, the studio passes and that wonderful script remains on a shelf. But a great story can never be held back for too long and when the story is powerful enough and intelligent enough, somehow, someway, it finds a way to be told and one such film that meets that criteria is the wonderfully brilliant film, Behind the Candelabra.
Released in 2013 on HBO, this particular tale takes us into the life and times of music sensation Liberace, and the incredible romance that he and a younger man named Scott Thorson shared from 1977-1982 and well…what makes this film so progressive and relevant to the times is the sheer fact that this is an up close and honest look at a homosexual relationship. There’s little held back in this motion picture, and we are privy to all the ups and downs of Scott and Liberace’s love and when all is said and done, this is an outright brilliant story.
However, despite its brilliance this was not an easy story to bring to production. After all, and unfortunately, there was resistance to greenlight this film from the studios simply because the subject matter was more or less considered taboo, which is odd when one considers that this was a grand opportunity to do something bold and there was some serious star power attached to this movie as well. With Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in the lead roles and Steven Soderbergh behind the camera, and a chance to be a pioneer in the business, it should have been a no brainer to say yes to this one…and thankfully HBO did, when no one else would.
Because the end result of putting together this kind of talent with a quality story such as this, is an engaging tale that sucks you in by way of some dynamic characters who at their core, are flawed and broken, and really that makes this film a tragic love story when all is said and done, and it is that tragedy that is so incredibly compelling. All of the insecurities and worries that we experience in a relationship are on display here, and we are dropped right into the middle of a torrid love affair between two men who are desperate to be loved over anything else and their fear of being alone is what destroys the wonder of their love.
Of course, that kind of a story simply doesn’t work without incredible performances and Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are at their best here. Damon channels the naïveté of youth in wonderful fashion and Douglas, well he simply becomes Liberace to the point where there are moments when you don’t know where Douglas begins and Liberace ends. Either way, this is a wonderful motion picture, one that is clearly ahead of its time by presenting a homosexual couple as the people they are without the use of any gimmicks or stereotypes and it’s a film that needs to be seen and celebrated and if by chance you have HBO in any form or fashion, give it look, you won’t be disappointed.
Written by Scott Edwards
When facing any sort of threat, finding and taking care of your family should always be first on your list. Making sure that your family members are all right and safe is something that we all do when hearing about a disaster that happens in their area. Thank goodness for social media and cell phones as they have made this much easier over the years, but nothing replaces seeing that they are okay in person.
As a volcano erupts in Iceland, the local geologists are far from baffled, for they have planned for this event. Watching as the earthquakes move down the European side of the tectonic plates, they know that there is an event that will change the landscape forever. Watching as a chain of eruptions take place in Europe, ash starts to move its way higher and higher into the atmosphere causing sunlight to be blocked out and causing the temperature to decline drastically.
Steve Foster and his new wife Lacey are on their way to London to visit Steve’s children from his first marriage. Steve is a retired Air Force pilot and always comfortable behind the controls of anything that flies and that is what Lacey loves about him. As the European eruptions have taken place while the couple are in the air, they have no idea what has just happened and are directed to set down in London until the ash cloud dissipates. Calling in and talking to an old war buddy, Steve finds out that this threat is much bigger than he has been led to believe and will cause an ice age of sorts to take over the continent. Needing to find a way to get to his kids and make sure that they will survive the oncoming onslaught of cold weather, Steve and his wife decide to keep moving east, but are met with plenty of opposition from the storm ahead of them.
Steve’s kids, Ryan and Taryn are attending college in Paris and although Taryn does not seem too excited about it, Ryan has been having the time of his life. With their father coming in, Ryan is excited to meet his new mother in law, but Taryn does not want to welcome the new woman into her life just yet as her father remarried so suddenly. As the weather starts to change in their area, the two have formed a plan with their father on where to meet. Having picked the Eiffel Tower as their point of extraction, the two have to find a way around the crumbling landscape as earthquakes start to ravage the nation.
This is another one of those disaster movies that leaves you wondering what you would do if put in the same situation that the characters must deal with. How determined would you be to get your family out of trouble if it meant your impending doom? It is just fun to see how both groups, husband and wife along with brother and sister have to join forces to stay alive as a storm that has never been witnessed by anyone alive will change the landscape of a region. Happy Viewing.
Written by Scott Edwards
Finding that perfect project, especially for someone in the movie industry has to be painstaking. Needing to find that story that will capture people’s imagination, along with getting them into the theater for the opening weekend has to be stressful. Needing to make sure that the cast is right, the story is strong and that the ending will leave everyone in awe could make even the most talented folks shutter and fold.
Alfred Hitchcock has done well for himself, but is approaching the age of sixty and starting to succumb to the industry standard that it is time for retirement. Not wanting to hang up his director's slate just yet, he is looking for a way to make his next film even better than his recent release of North by Northwest. With studios sending him scripts left and right, Hitch is not feeling any of the stories coming into his office and needs something that will wow the audience once again.
When reading the newspaper, Hitch discovers a little-known book called Psycho that is getting terrible reviews, not for the writing, but for its disgusting content. This piques the old director’s interest and he decides to read it and gather his own opinion. With his wife trying to point him in a non-thriller direction, Hitch has fallen in love with the novel and will do everything in his power to get the movie made. With no studio willing to back this project, Hitch is forced to put up his own money and will only make it back if the movie plays well.
Believing in his vision, Hitch is able to get the movie cast with America’s boy and girl next store, Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh who seem to understand what he is wanting. Although everyone is concerned about nudity in the shower scene, Hitch is convinced that it will need to stay in the film and he will do it as tastefully as possible. As his feelings for this movie get stronger and stronger, Hitch starts to have dreams about Ed Gein, whom Psycho was loosely written about. Following what Gein tells him and starting to discover that his wife is no longer on his side when it comes to being married, Hitch’s world starts to crumble and he needs to make sure that his movie will do what it is intended to do, scare people.
More of a biography about Alfred Hitchcock’s life than an overall movie and this is just fine for me. I have been a fan of his television show for many years, and love his movies and watch them whenever I see them on. Trying to see what is actually happening in Hitchcock’s mind should have been more disturbing than what was put on the screen, but wanting to focus more on his relationship with his wife and the troubles they have gone through together makes you gain just that much more respect for the icon. With great acting from the key players, along with the disgust that some of the film industry has thrust upon him, this is a great look at the inner workings of how movies were made against what the studios wanted in the 1950’s. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Happy Viewing.
Written by Mike Cervantes
The Dark Tower is a series of multi-genre fantasy novels written by Stephen King beginning in 1982. At its heart it is fantasy, yet it has western, horror, and science fiction elements, and given the age of its main protagonist, could also be considered Young Adult, but to the author itself it is the playground at the center of the tempest that is his fictional universe. It’s amazing that a series that, up to this point, has run parallel to the career of one of the most prolific authors of the modern day, is only now just getting a movie, but there’s an already established amount of caution mixed with that. For every truly admirable film version of one of King’s works you’ll find….well, the one where Bronson Pinchot is making angry faces at those cabbage demons that were also in Ren & Stimpy, or the one where Jason Lee is evoking Scooby-Doo to prevent his guts from being eaten by the thing that lives in the toilet.
Ironically, though, the film version of The Dark Tower actually succeeds because of the digestibility of its story, and its obvious proximity to the mindset of the author himself. It’s not hard to put King in the same shoes as protagonist Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a twelve year old who mitigates the grief caused by the loss of his firefighter father through experiencing multiple nightmares, and then bringing them to reality in the form of pencil sketches. Those sketches, naturally coalescing into a larger narrative about a man in black named Walter (Matthew McConaughey) who seeks to destroy a giant dark tower that is holding together the fabric of multiple universes.
Then there is a lone avenger, the last of the line of famed gunslingers, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who now plainly seeks revenge against Walter for the destruction of his tribe. Then, as it is with all YA and fantasy narratives; this is all proven to be true, when a pair of Walter’s minions attempt to abduct Jake from his indifferent mother and step-father under the guise of mental help, leading him to uncover the mystery of the world that exists in his dream, inject justice back into the heart of Deschain, and once again protect The Dark Tower from the endless onslaught of those who would destroy it for the evulz.
It’s really as simple as a genre movie like this gets. It is surely something you’ve seen a million times before, but what seems to be the saving grace of this film, is that it presents its material inexorably straight; from top to bottom only presenting us with the details without hitting us over the head as to why all this stuff seems important. When, in the end of the film’s second act, we eventually see our first monster, he appears to be nothing other than a black smoke cloud that predictably shifts into the form of Jake’s father.
The same can be said about Walter, the ignominious Man in Black, and McConaughey’s portrayal of him. He seems to have magic powers that, at their base, induce hate in people, but mostly just provide for us the concept that this character is powerful, and certainly enough so to make Elba’s Deschain an underdog, along with his gunslinger brethren, be they samurai or Jedi, in the mind of the auteur. Then there’s Jake, who is at the center of this conflict because he has a ‘shine,’ or a psychic ability, actually strong enough to shatter The Dark Tower.
I wish there was more that could be said. Literally. I usually have about two-hundred more words for these reviews, but it is the nature of the book series on which it is based, coupled with the choices made in this adaptation of the book, which leaves the content portion of both this review, and the film it is based on, severely wanting. It’s a good film, and if you happened to catch it in theaters, you’d absolutely enjoy it, but what will come from this franchise, which is already seven stories long in book form, remains to be seen. As it is, it only stands to add to Stephen King’s legacy if Stephen King can successfully preach to us its significance.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
Often times, when we head out to eat at a particular establishment, we give little thought to how exactly that company or chain came to be, and all the work that went into creating it…and with good reason. After all, we are in this for the meal and nothing more. But sometimes, if we love the place and the service and product they provide, curiosity revolving around the genesis of our new favorite eatery is piqued and we search out more information.
Once our search for knowledge begins, the kind of story that presents itself to us can either be as vanilla as it comes, or downright fascinating, but we pay attention none the less because regardless of how ownership got there, they dedicated many hours of blood, sweat and tears to see their business come to life and while these stories usually speak to ingenuity and the power of hard work, like anything in life…there is a dark side and from time to time, some businesses find their way to success in the most cutthroat way imaginable and recently, I stumbled upon a motion picture that chronicled that darker rise to power in The Founder.
Now this movie simply put, tells the tale of how McDonald’s came to be the national and international force that it is today and how Founder Ray Kroc guided the franchise to unparalleled success. Which, quite frankly, sounds like quite the uplifting story. After all, McDonald’s is about as American as it gets and it’s a company whose product, specifically the Happy Meal, is something many of us enjoyed growing up and heck…even the trailers for this film seemed to advertise a focus on the conflict and struggles that come with creating a business so imagine my surprise when I came to discover all the dark things that this film had to offer.
For starters, let’s talk about that uglier side of business that I made mention of earlier because holy cow…does this film feature some ruthless business practices, all of them exhibited by the film’s main character, the founder in question…Ray Kroc. Ray is a man desperate to be a part of something special and socially relevant in his life and he will do anything and everything to achieve that and his actions to wrest ownership and power away from the brothers who actually started the business is downright heartbreaking because Ray is only focused on his vision and the opportunity to build something massive and anyone who stands in his way when it comes to that, will pay the price dearly.
But all of the ugly that Ray brings forth in this story, is nothing compared to the sheer tragedy it portrays and the philosophical places that it goes as well. Because this motion picture focuses heavily on America’s love affair with Americana and how being as American as apple pie matters more than anything else, and well, I loved the fact that this film delivered a realistic and angry twist to that notion. Because in many ways, before McDonald’s, Ray was a man who was left behind by this concept and therein lies the tragedy. By not getting his share of the American Dream, he schemes it to his own liking and despite the success he enjoys because of this…the audience is left feeling a touch uncomfortable with how the man got everything he wanted because let’s be honest…Ray cheated his way to success.
However, despite the dreary (albeit genius) road this film takes, there is a lot to like about this movie simply because of casting choices that went into it. Michael Keaton is completely and utterly brilliant as Ray Kroc and his subdued and powerful performance allows for us to enjoy a complete journey when it comes to this story since we watch Ray go from a failed salesman without an ounce of confidence…to CEO of a major corporation with nothing but self-satisfaction flowing through his veins. It’s a poignant story, one that gives you pause when it comes its twisted portrayal of the American Dream and it’s a motion picture that you need to see as soon as possible, if by chance you missed it.
Written by Scott Edwards
Taking vacations as a family can be one of the greatest adventures you can ever do, but they can also be stressful at the same time. Visiting a distant land from your home, you get to see and experience many things that you may never have before, but it can come at a price. The fear of being separated is just one of the things that parents fear when taking their children on a trip, since they don’t know the area and who to contact if someone goes missing. But that should not keep you from traveling as a family, because the memories that you will be able to make will last everyone for a lifetime.
Arriving in Italy for a business trip, Jeff Pierce has brought his wife Lynne and daughter Mykaela along for the ride. With his new business venture on the table, Jeff has all of the pressure on his shoulders to seal the deal and has the faith of his ladies to get it done. But when Lynne and Mykaela are ready to get on a tour bus to visit Pompeii, the ground does a little shaking. Convincing Jeff that they will be fine, the women are outfitted with some SAT phones, just in case something happens on their trip and he is out of the area. With everything going off without a hitch, Jeff makes it to his business meeting while the women are on their way to one of the greatest natural disaster areas in the world.
Seeing the buried city of Pompeii for the first time, Mykaela shows off her knowledge of what happened there so many years ago. Impressing the tour guide with her knowledge, Mykaela explains that when her dad was in the Marines, she would study about all of the places that he was stationed. But her respect for world history can only get her so far when the ground starts to shake again and this time Mount Vesuvius decides to open up to try and take back the city of Pompeii once again. With plenty of knowledge about volcanos and eruptions, Mykaela gets dubbed the leader of the tourist group and will do everything within her power to keep them safe from the mountain until help arrives.
In the middle of his meeting, the shaking ground concerns Jeff, but not as much as when he looks out the window to see Mount Vesuvius erupting. Unable to get ahold of his family, Jeff calls upon an old friend, Colonel Carlo Dillard to try and get out to the city of Pompeii for a rescue mission. Being shut down by his old friend and the state department, Jeff sees that his old group has reassembled to help their commanding officer one last time. Being able to procure a helicopter to make it to ground zero, Jeff and his crew have only one target in their crosshairs, to save his family and whomever might still be alive with them, but the erupting volcano may be the least of their worries when the Italian military is breathing down their necks.
Just a fun disaster movie if you are into things like that. I actually really liked how the storyline played out in this one, even though some things just seemed very silly, i.e. lava flowing up stairwells. I liked that the film had a strong female lead that actually made smart decisions and had an idea about what to do to keep her mother and other survivors safe from the volcano. Usually you have everyone losing their minds when this kind of event takes place and she keep it cool throughout. Then there’s the Jeff Pierce story that could have turned into an international incident, but came out alright because he was able to accomplish his goal of saving his family. With a very active volcano, fire raining from the sky, earthquakes, lava and an intelligent lead, it is just a fun movie to get lost in while you are thinking about planning your next family outing to Italy. Happy Viewing.
Written by Scott Edwards
It can be entertaining to think about what will happen when the world slowly starts to fall apart and what you will be able to do when it happens. I like to think that I would be able to secure a small town and block it off from the rest of the world and just live comfortably with friends and neighbors and be able to send people out to find things that will help us survive. But then there would be those that don’t want to see anyone be happy, especially if they cannot take part in that. When they come riding to the gates of my town, I would try to invite them in, but then seeing what they really want, it would change my outlook on the world and make me believe that all outsiders are evil and must be destroyed at all costs. Wow, that is kind of depressing actually, maybe I will think about dancing gnomes or something, instead.
The Kid has been able to make a good life for himself after the world has fallen apart. Being a pretty good scavenger, he has been able to procure many items that have value for him and is able to trade the rest for life saving items, such as water. When the apocalypse started, it was blamed on the robots of the day, but what really changed the world was the lack of clean drinking water for people. Water is the only thing that matters and whomever owns it, can run much more than a community, they can run their own world. The Kid never gave this much thought and with his daily activities, he is busy enough to stay under the radar of other scavengers, or so he thinks.
While taking a break from his day, The Kid is approached by a new friend who seems a little off. Although Apple seems to be cute and friendly, she appears to be a touch psycho toward The Kid and he tries to leave before she is able to follow him. But she is able to place a tracking bracelet on him, leading her to The Kid’s underground home. Getting to know his fellow survivor, Kid and Apple embark on a scavenging trip that will change their lives forever. When Apple learns all of the rules of survival in the wasteland, she is captured by one of Zeus’s men and taken in for processing. When seeing that his new friend is gone, Kid is ready to go find her before something bad happens, but he is chased down by one of Zeus’s men as well, but before he is captured, Kid falls into an old base that will make his fight a little easier.
Stumbling upon the original Turbo Rider, the comic that Kid has fallen in love with, Kid now has a suit and a pulse weapon at his disposal and is ready to take the fight to Zeus and his men. Rolling up to the pit, where Zeus likes to have people fight to the death, Kid finds out that the dead bodies do not go to waste, they are recycled into the water that everyone needs to survive. Joining the fight to save his friends Apple and Fredric from his trading post, Kid surprises all of the onlookers with his new power and the group is able to escape their fate of becoming a drink. But Zeus does not take defeat lightly and will do anything to show his followers that he is the most powerful man in the wasteland and now has his sights set on The Kid and his friends.
After watching this movie, I had to let John know right away that he needed to see it as soon as possible. Since I loved it, I knew he would as well and of course, he did. If you were going to try and describe this movie to someone, it would have to be Mad Max meets RAD and for any child of the 80’s, that is a winning combination. I liked every character in this movie and I would have to say that Apple has to be my favorite since she seems to see the best of the world, rather than the awfulness it has become. Besides, she had a Gnome Stick as her weapon in the movie and it tickled me to see a gnome used that way on the screen. With a great sound track, some good actors and of course some special effects that remind you that not everything needs to be be CGI, you also get some great action and a ton of blood. Don’t let the title fool you, you might want to check it out before your kids do. Happy Viewing!
Written by Scott 'Sharky' Edwards
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
Everyone has their weeks that they look forward to and there is nothing wrong with that. As some people wait all year long to watch Shark Week or the Super Bowl, I have become a huge fan of the SyFy channel’s Countdown to Sharknado Week. Giving us a handful of new shark movies after the real shark stories are off the air makes it just that much more enjoyable. I know I am not the only one that loves these movies, as Twitter has been lit up this week with the new titles, but none trended higher than the much-anticipated Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.
With his wife April and son Gil, Fin Shepard has been invited to NATO to pass on all he knows about the Sharknadoes and what the world can do to rebuild from the last attack. But before Fin is able to enter the meeting, he is called by his old bartender Nova to come and check out what she has just found. In a cave hidden underneath Stonehenge, ancient paintings show that Sharknadoes are not only a problem of the present, but of the past as well. Venturing into the shark infested cave, Nova and Fin find an artifact that they believe will help them to combat the Sharknado problem at hand, but it opens up a new breed of the storm that will change the world forever.
As Stonehenge crumbles and a new Sharknado has been unleased upon London, the family Shepard is caught right in the middle of it again. Being able to protect himself in his new helmet, young Gil is whisked away by the storm and his parents must find a way to free him before he becomes just another shark appetizer. With the plan in place to enter the vortex of the storm, the two are transported across the world and wind up in Australia. Needing time to recover, Fin and April find out that Nova is in a secret organization, the Sisterhood of Sharknadoes, who combat these threats across the world. With a new ally in their fight and April getting a major upgrade, the two are ready to not only battle the storm for their son, but also to save the world. Jumping into the storm once again and almost reaching Gil, the couple is transported once again, to Rio.
Getting a cheerful greeting in their new surroundings, Fin and April are taken to meet with Vega who explains the origins of the storms and what needs to be done to stop them. Keeping the artifact with her, April and Fin are shocked that they can summon their own Sharknadoes for means of travel. But someone else is looking for this power as the artifact is stolen and the couple heads out on a chase across the world once again. Arriving in Rome and getting the artifact back, Fin sees that even his Holiness has a plan to end the storms. With a new holy chainsaw, Fin has a new weapon to take on the storms with more power than he could ever imagine.
Still needing to find and free their son, Fin and April make it to Japan as a new nuclear waste shark has hit the shores. With thousands of sharks acting as one, Sharkzilla has taken to the streets and devours everything in its path. With the military reacting, along with the Sisterhood, there is no way that this storm will survive, but at what cost. Blowing the new storm away, Gil is lost and Nova is not able to survive. Losing their family one by one to the storms, April and Fin are in disbelief that they are the only ones left who can end this once and for all. Wanting to give up and just return the artifact, they are transported to Egypt where there might actually be a machine that can control the storms, but is that the only thing it can do?
Well, another year has come and gone and another Sharknado movie is in the books. I didn’t know what to expect with this movie, as I wanted to be surprised and avoided the trailers at all costs and I was happy that I did. With nothing off of the table and plenty of movie parodies taking place, it is hard to look at this movie and not laugh out loud. I will admit that I liked the family fights between the characters and even being in the wrong, Fin is able to keep them all together. With fun effects being used, there seemed to be more squashing people with the sharks than eating them and while it was fun, I do prefer people being eaten by sharks. The cameos were outrageous in this latest installment and I was just blown away as always when it comes to who gets to be next in the long line of shark fodder. With a global swarming of Sharknadoes, people being eaten and squashed, some new shark kills, Bret Michaels, more cameos than you can swing a shark at and an ending that will leave you wanting more, I cannot wait to see what the SyFy Network and Asylum Productions come up with next. I enjoyed the heck out of this movie and will be watching it several more times, because I am sure I missed a ton of stuff the first two times of watching and laughing. Hopefully there will be a sixth installment of the series as it is primed for one, and Sharknado 6: Shark to the Future would be pretty epic. Stay Sharky.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
THIS IS THE EMERGENCY SPOILER ALERT SYSTEM...YOU ARE ADVISED TO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK...
Each and every one of us out there, hold a story in our hearts that we would love to see find its way onto the big screen. Some of us have had that silent goal achieved, especially comic book fans since those movies are just about everywhere you turn these days. But for some, there are still other adventures in print waiting to be adapted into a screenplay and turned into the all-important ‘major motion picture.’
For me, that particular story in question has always been Stephen King’s magnum opus; The Dark Tower. Because it is a story that captivated my imagination at a young age when I first picked up The Gunslinger in a used bookstore in 1985. So, in many ways…I’ve waited a lifetime to see this story find its way to the silver screen and this past weekend, that long-awaited moment finally arrived for me.
However, rather than head into the theater with my head held high, content in the knowledge that this would be a viewing experience for the ages…there was a touch of trepidation in the back of my mind. After all, it’s almost impossible to miss snippets of reviews and feedback on social media and I’d seen plenty of puns and blurbs discussing how people simply did not enjoy this film in the slightest.
So really, let’s get down to the big questions on everyone’s mind, is The Dark Tower the perfect dream telling of this tale that fans of the book everywhere have been waiting for? Or is this a gigantic turkey to be completely and utterly avoided. Well…technically the answer to both of those questions is a big fat no. Because this film is in fact a dynamic and entertaining motion picture that just so happens to provide a wonderfully fresh take on this incredibly epic tale.
Now let’s discuss that ‘fresh take’ first, because I feel as though that’s what has put off a lot of the fans over the past few days because truth be told, those walking into this film who have read the books and are expecting a tit for tat adaptation of The Gunslinger, are indeed going to be disappointed because little of that is to be found in this motion picture. This is at its core, a sequel to the original book series and an awesome one at that because by having this take place after the final novel, it frees the story from having to be tightly linked to the original and that’s also what makes this film so dynamic and entertaining.
Because in many ways when you watch this film it feels as though anything and everything can and will happen and that adds a sense of danger and adventure to this story, and that…is what makes this movie in my opinion, tie in perfectly to the novels. The books were always about an incredible adventure that took you by surprise and the twists and turns in this story hold true to the spirit of the books, and that is further enhanced by the top-notch casting in this motion picture. Matthew McConaughey is deliciously evil as the Man in Black and Idris Elba turns in a wonderful performance as our reluctant hero, Roland Deschain.
However, despite all my gushing up to this point, do bear in my mind that this is by no means a flawless film. Unfortunately, it is light on backstory and details when it comes to the rich world that Roland inhabits in the novels. Giving those that have read the books quite the advantage when going in to this one since they know all the ins and out of both Keystone Earth and Mid-World. Which means that the uninitiated will certainly have questions once the film has come to an end, and that’s a problem that could have been easily fixed by extending the movie’s brisk running time with a few more scenes that fill in those gaps.
Yet, oddly enough, the film’s greatest weakness is also its greatest strength since the lack of detail will no doubt motivate audience members to find the answers they seek in the pages of the novels and really when all is said and done, I appreciate the fact that by not creating a three hour story the film does serve as an anti-Lord of the Rings if you will, focusing instead on providing the audience with a good time and really, the secret to enjoying this one is to head into it with an open mind. Either way, I absolutely adored this motion picture, and I certainly hope that the story doesn’t end here, for Roland’s quest is one that deserves a quality visual interpretation…and a proper ending for that matter as well.