the dark tower run time

Update: Stephen King himself has chimed in on the running time, arguing that the film is just following in the footsteps of the first book in the series:

The original article follows below.

The Dark Tower series is possibly one of Stephen King’s most difficult books to get into: It’s dense, it’s convoluted, it’s strange, and most frustratingly, it’s long. But thankfully, the film adaptation of The Dark Tower  doesn’t seem to be at least one of those things.

The official run time of The Dark Tower puts Nikolaj Arcel‘s sci-fi film gives me hope that this is the start of a trend for shorter blockbuster run times starting with this weekend’s Dunkirk. Could we be seeing the end of three-hour monstrosities? Is King’s most dense saga the answer to our cinematic run time problems?

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has clocked The Dark Tower runtime at 95 minutes.

This doesn’t bode well for fans who are hoping for a mythological deep dive into what King has described as his magnum opus. But it does bode well for general audiences, who would probably balk at the dense mythology that The Dark Tower books introduce. Instead, it seems we’ll have a simple battle between good and evil, in the form of Idris Elba‘s Gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey‘s Man in Black as they wage war over the mysterious Dark Tower. Caught in the middle is the boy from our world, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who befriends and aids Roland in his quest.

I am completely on board with a shorter run time for the film, not being a huge fan myself of overly complicated world-building. Of course, the movie is in danger of becoming action-heavy and plot-thin, but we’ll have to see once it comes out. There’s also a chance that The Dark Tower will only be the first in a series of films, as a shorter run time could act as an introduction into a world that will be built up with future movies.

Here’s the official synopsis for The Dark Tower:

“There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

Rounding out the cast is Katheryn Winnick, and Jackie Earle Haley.

The Dark Tower hits theaters August 4.

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