Thursday, November 2, 2017

Its Gerald's Tower! A Tale of 3 King Movies

There's a winning formula.
Its right there, if you
just keep your eyes open
Ok, as a long time Stephen King fan (minus his idiotic jabs at our president) I've seen many of his books adapted into movies for both TV and the movie theater. Most of them have not been that good, with a few exceptions, like The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, and a couple others. As good as the original TV series, 'It' was, it was actually pretty cheesy, with the only redeeming thing being the talent of Tim Curry as Pennywise. But, this year has been a gold mine for King, with 3 movies, and several TV series. We're going to talk about the movies "It, Gerald's Game, and The Dark Tower" because they were all big budget hits. Even though Gerald's Game was a Netflix movie, it could have easily been on the screen because its production value was equal to the other two.
There are spoilers coming!
We'll start first with It because its the biggest blockbuster of the three, and rightfully so. It was brilliantly done, and while it didn't follow the book verbatim, it made its own formula that worked. The book, and the first movie takes place while the group of kids as adults looking back and remembering events that took place during their first brush with Pennywise, the evil monster who eats kids to stay alive. What the 2017 version does is make it all take place when the kids were kids. No flashbacks. The next movie will cover the events as they are adults, returning to take Pennywise down once and for all. It was a great movie, and I imagine the next installment will be equally good. So, while this movie doesn't follow the book as written, it follows the book in content, just in a different order, which is a good thing. And, sorry, Mr. Curry...Bill Skarsgard owned the character. As much as it pains me to say it. Grade: A-
Next, we're going to talk about Gerald's Game. When I first heard they were doing this movie, I was skeptical. Most of the movie is a woman cuffed to a bed, with her fears manifesting themselves in her mind. I wasn't sure how it could be interesting. Well, leave it to Netflix, because they hit a home run. This movie follows the book verbatim. And, we see her memories, and hallucinations. There were a couple scenes from the book that were left out, but nothing that effected the quality of the story, unlike Cell which was careful to leave out anything cool and interesting that happened in the book. Grade: B+ 
Say it aint so!
And finally, we come to the last of the 3. I guess you could say that I saved the worst for last.  The Dark Tower series should be done AS A SERIES by HBO or Netflix. Period. Its too complex for a movie. Even for a series of movies. For one thing, the Roland character, played by Idris Elba is not black. If you've read the books, you know that I'm not making a racist statement by saying that. Just imagine a black character calling another black character 'Honkey.' It just doesn't work. Plus, several key characters were left out, and the one that they do use, Jake is nothing but a pawn in the books. There are 2 other characters who contribute much more to the story. Also, the "Forgotton the face of his father" chants that Roland and Jake recite. If you've never read the books, that makes no sense to you, and seems kind of silly. The 'Man in Black' played by Matthew McConaughey is in a struggle with Roland, but it doesn't end the way it does in the movie. Not even close. And, honestly, when I first heard about this movie, I figured McConaughey would be playing Roland. That would have fit, honestly. And, the Dark Tower itself is not remotely represented in the movie as it is in the books. Not even close. This movie is nothing more than Stargate meets Inception. Avoid this one if you haven't seen it yet. Grade: F
So, what's this formula? Its easy, Hollywood. JUST FOLLOW THE DAMN BOOKS! Look at It and Gerald's Game. They followed the books, and are critically acclaimed blockbusters. The Dark Tower was a flop. Look at the other movies that were huge successes: Christine, Cujo, the 2 I mentioned earlier, and others. What do they have in common? They followed the books, and are considered classics. The Lawnmower Man? The Mangler? Not so much. Just follow the books, and you'll get it right! It isn't that complicated!

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