Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Based on a novel by: Stephen King
I heard that The Dark Tower wasn’t very good, but you have to understand that tickets are only $5 on Tuesdays at this one theatre and also The Dark Tower is speculative fiction and I’ll watch pretty much any spec fic you put in front of me.
So off I went to go see The Dark Tower.
And the thing is, it’s actually a decent movie. The landscapes were pretty, the evil skin people were creepy, and maybe most importantly the central mythos of the whole thing is weird enough to be cool. Maybe I’m just easily amused, I don’t know. I like being easily amused. It means I get to be amused a lot.
The thing that is garbage about this film is the same thing that is garbage about half the shit that Hollywood shoves down our throats. Which is:
Why the fuck are the bad guys doing what they’re doing?
Okay so I’m going to get into mild spoiler land but since it’s a movie based on a book, and the plot is linear af anyway and you can see it all coming from a mile off, I don’t think your movie experience will be ruined by reading this.
The only existent power structure is composed of evil nihilists trying to summon the murder swarm of murdering death.
There’s a tower at the center of the universe. That tower creates a kind of force field that keeps eldritch horrors from storming all the known planets and murdering us with darkness and fire. And… people are trying to destroy that tower. Okay, so I can kind of imagine some lone dude being like “fuck it, I’m unhappy at my job, I will destroy everything that has ever existed.” But no, it’s not a lone dude. Not only is it an entire organization that is dedicated to this, it’s basically the only existent power structure in the universe.
The only existent power structure is composed of evil nihilists trying to summon the murder swarm of murdering death. Right. Totally believable.
I’ve never read the book. I don’t know how the movie compares. I do know that, overall, I probably agree more with Stephen King’s politics than I disagree. For god’s sake, the man named his son Joe Hill, after the famous songwriter, activist, and martyr from the don’t-call-us-anarchist-but-basically-we’re-anarchist union the IWW.
But this movie is intense conservative propaganda of the sort that is force fed to us every fucking day.
I’m someone who lives her own life, trying to do the best she can, who would pick up a gun to defend herself, her community, or her loved ones. If the time came for me to do that, I’d have to roll deep to stand a chance. I’d be a mook.
The good-guy town is some bland-ass wild west looking shit. The bad guys who attack it are the mad-max looking swarms of bad guys who wear sweet tattered clothes who totally aren’t stand-ins for native americans like in some cowboys and indians spaghetti western way.
In NYC, there’s a badass secret club full of weirdos with guns, and of course they’re all evil punk mooks waiting to be gunned down by the chosen-one magic gun man with a mantra about killing people.
I’m sick of the lone hero cutting down swarms of indistinguishable foes. I’m really, really sick of the idea that the superpowered strong individual is better than the masses. I’m not a gunslinger. I’m someone who lives her own life, trying to do the best she can, who would pick up a gun to defend herself, her community, or her loved ones. If the time came for me to do that, I’d have to roll deep to stand a chance. I’d be a mook.
Every story about the ubermensch against the masses is a fundamentally conservative story.
That said, The Dark Tower is totally worth watching. There is magic, guns, alien planets, and a sweet mythos.