Stephen King is like the Smashing Pumpkins of story-telling: he isn’t afraid to sit back and explore his ideas, grow them and develop them, before he has to move on. He draws on other perspectives, tells the same moment from multiple characters, twists the timeline and takes the time to express a scenario completely. Yet, he does it effortlessly, without chunks of exposition or idle rambling (which isn’t uncommon for high fantasies).
This book came and went so so fast – and nothing except for everything has changed. It’s gonna be spoilers from here onwards, so for non-spoilery thoughts check out my review of The Gunslinger.
*SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS*
Eddie Dean – what an unlikely hero. He came from misfortune and his brother cultivated until it was all he knew. Enter Roland, and he gets an odd redemption. One thing I loved was his brilliant reaction to this quest. His denial and despair was understandable and heart-breaking, until he reaches acceptance. I loved his relationship with Roland, and I’m hoping Roland becomes the older brother Eddie never had, someone to guide and nurture him.
Odetta was a curious case, and definitely someone I’m excited to see develop in this moved on world. Her becoming was… confusing for me – but I’m accepting it. Her story comes full circle, even if some parts of the circle were completed before others!
I hope we get to hear more of Jake in future instalments. Roland’s attachment to him is too precious of a character arc to drop!
If you’ve seen my Gunslinger Book Review (if not check it out here) you’ll know I’m a huge fan of this book series. There are a lot of things this movie had the opportunity to do, and I felt it did fall short on a lot of them. However, let’s talk about the good stuff:
Idris Elba just IS the gunslinger. His performance (in my opinion) was pretty perfect – capturing the essence of the character but also making it interesting for us book fans. After seeing this movie, I can’t imagine Roland as anyone else. Also, I appreciated the book references (the first line of the books, the ‘I don’t aim with my hand’ etc.) even if they did feel a little forced at some points. It made me think that the producers still respected the source material whilst they changed so much of the story, which means a lot to me.
Now… the changes. I do understand why it was so different. The books are aimed at older audiences than the movie, which explains the less massacres, sex and the loss of the more creepy, sinister aspects. It also explains the focus being on Jake rather than Roland. Jake is a character a lot of the target audience would relate to, much more than the gunslinger anyway.
But (again, in my personal opinion) I felt that this movie wasn’t aimed at fans of the book at all. Yes, it had the occasional reference. However, it put being a blockbuster movie before being a book adaptation. And to be honest it wasn’t all that amazing just as a movie either. Because of this, it lost both halves of its audience.
Overall, it was enjoyable as a movie – but that’s about it. Had a lot of potential but fell a little flat. I would watch it if it came on Netlix and I had an empty afternoon, basically.