Two things I’m not proud of.
- I’ve never read Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series.
Except for the first book. Which was OK and that was the revised and updated edition.
- I saw Highlander 2 at the movies and argued in its defence afterwards.
This year we have two Stephen King movies coming out. The remake – is it a remake if the original was a mini-series? Let’s go with that, of IT and the long awaited film production loosely based on what many believe is the single greatest piece of fiction ever crafted, ‘The Dark Tower.’
King is no stranger to having things loosely adapted from his stories. The pretty lame Lawnmower Man film claimed to be based on his short story of the same name – except it wasn’t. It was based on Flowers For Algernon, an entirely different short story.
Anyway, as a fan of King’s work (I have read most of his books, short stories, articles, and at least five of his tweets) I see two things happening this year.
Firstly, we get The Dark Tower, which according to early reviews, is a big-ol’-steamin’ turd. It’s doing better than The Emoji Movie (I had no idea this was a thing until I heard it had a record for the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in history or something).
I would hazard a guess that trying to shoe-horn an entire series of books into a single movie ‘based on’ the series is a bad idea. It would have been better to faithfully make a movie out of the first book, then go on through the series. Honestly, if they had let Sir Peter Jackson direct, he would have made the relatively short novel (The Dark Tower) into a freakin’ film trilogy!
End result, we get evangelical fans losing their shit over the crap job and no more DT films get made and those who have a passing interest find it unengaging and weird.
Following up, we have (the remake of) IT.
This is one of my favourite King books. In it he delivers those ‘every-kid’ characters he does so well. Children on the verge of puberty, living in small town America in the 60’s-80’s with very real concerns about being taken seriously by the adult world and just trying to survive the long walk that is childhood’s middle age (between 10-13 years old).
They face the usual childhood demons of social awkwardness, injustice, constraint, pending biological changes and friendships that you think will last forever. Being Stephen King however, they also face entities of incalculable evil.
I read an article once where King was quoted as saying that the idea for IT came to him when he was out for a walk and crossing a bridge, he thought about trolls under bridges and it went from there.
As one of Uncle Steve’s Constant Readers (which is better than being one of Old Stevie’s Murderous Psychopaths I suppose) I will watch both movies. I have higher expectations and hopes for IT, mostly because at its core this is a story that does an excellent job of making you afraid of everything you feared as a child. The most terrifying part of it is how those fears are carried with you into adulthood and when you’re not supposed to be afraid anymore, you find out that being grown up doesn’t make things safe, it just makes them scarier – except you have to deal with it. It’s the secret of being a grown up. Not power, not success. But realising that all the grown-ups who came before you were making it up as they went along and they have the same fears and anxieties and oh-shit moments kids do.
For me, IT will always be about more than a scary clown. It’s about kids fighting against a very real troll under the bridge and it’s not an enemy they can ever truly escape, even by growing up.