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A Trailer That Remembers the Face of Its Father

Which would be like…  a teaser?  The poster?  A synopsis?  I’m not entirely sure how parentage of a movie trailer works.  Anyway, I’m talking of course about the much anticipated – for me at least – Dark Tower trailer:

I’ll just say this now so you can either click away or tell me I’m wrong right away instead of getting to the bottom:  I. Loved. It.

Idris’ imposing charisma and gravitas as Roland, McConaughey’s sleazy and menacing presence as Walter/Randall/Man in Black, and just the amazing visuals of Midworld or the connection to the rest of King’s works all shining through in this short trailer.  It definitely delivers on everything I would want from a film adaptation of the Dark Tower series.

And I think that’s where there’s some debate going on about the trailer.  People aren’t happy that this seriously deviates from the source material so much.  People have had issues with the film focusing more on Jake, the movie toning down some of the more western concepts, or them being racists.  You know, pick your poison.  Overall, I wasn’t expecting a transfer of the books story to the big screen.  Because that would be terrible.  The story of the Dark Tower books barely fit into anything resembling a traditional narrative structure and more closely resemble a traditional saga where the characters go on a meandering journey to ultimate destination and have various adventures along the way (also see: The Hobbit.)  There is no easy way to break The Dark Tower into a simple beginning/middle/end.  Heck, one whole book is like 90% flashback.  Even the first novel, ‘The Gunslinger’ would work as a straight story namely because it ISN’T one.  The Gunslinger is five short stories that take place in a chronological order, but while each of the shorts have a roughly complete arc unto themselves, the whole of the narrative doesn’t.  Heck it doesn’t even really have an ending.  Not one that resolves any of the conflicts brought forth in the story at least.

And that’s the Dark Tower in the nutshell.  It lacks the structure that a film demands.  So to expect any of it to make it to the big screen without some level of heavy adaptation taking place is naive of how media adaptation is supposed to work.  That and I assume you’re a big fan of The Last Airbender.  That was pretty much just copying plot point for plot point of the entire first season of Avatar to the big screen.  (Full disclosure: I loved the Last Airbender.  I have never laughed so hard at a movie.  It wasn’t because it was good though.)

The other idea put forth about the movie that solves a lot of these conflicts would only make sense to those who have read the entire book series so this next point may have some SPOILERZ in it for those who are interested in reading the books.  The idea being introduced and seemingly confirmed by both King and the filmmakers is that this story is another one of Roland’s cycles.  Referring to the idea that entire series has been repeated an unknown amount of times until Roland gets it right by bringing the fabled Horn of Eld to the steps of the Dark Tower.  When we last see Roland at the end of the last book, his journey has begun once again but this time he actually has the Horn in hand.  While the Horn of Eld isn’t seen in the trailer (photos on the set show a horn like object in Roland’s satchel however), it doesn’t mean that this theory is bust.  After all, it wouldn’t be the first cycle where Roland lost the Horn.  But even Stephen King has hinted on his twitter that this is the next cycle after the books and that this time we’ll see Roland blow that horn and face down the Crimson King.

The one point I like about this theory is that it doesn’t tie the film makers to the events of the books.  Mid-World is still there, the old familiar faces may come and go, but those are this cycle’s versions of those people.  In the same way that Roland remembers Cuthbert fondly instead of bitterly at the end of the last book, we can’t simply assume that the events before or during the course of Roland’s last journey to the Tower will play the same.  That means the film makers have full access to the names and ideas presented in the books, but don’t have to use them or even use them the same way in the film version.

Combine all that with the fact that you can tell from the trailer that the behind-the-camera team has a lot of love for the property, and this could spell a great time for King fans and non-King fans alike.

One final aside that I’ve been pondering on with the trailer:  In one shot we see Jake wandering through an over-grown forest in the remnants of an amusement park with a giant broken down sign that reads “PENNYWISE” and a dilapidated statue of a clown holding balloons.  Of course, this is easily a reference to Stephen King’s IT that is slated for its own theatrical movie here soon.  But something struck me as odd – Is this where the clown came from?  It takes many forms in the course of the novel – a werewolf, a mummy, Bev’s Dad – all conjured from the children’s frightened minds and of course Its final physical form of some Lovecraftian horror that could only be described as “Giant Spider-like creature”.  But none of the kids were afraid of clowns.  Heck, even little Georgie wasn’t scared of Pennywise when they first met.  So where did that form come from?  We know that It comes from the Macroverse, a place described in very similar terms as Todash Space in the Dark Tower, and Its natural enemy is the Turtle, which is a reoccurring guardian deity in All-World.  So perhaps this right here is a hint to where the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown comes from original.  Maybe this isn’t a reference to IT as much as IT is a reference to this.  Who knows.  Maybe we’ll find out in August.

SWTOR: Visiting Rishi

So despite being in the “early access” crowd for Shadow of Revan, I actually didn’t really bother with it until just last night.  Partly because I was working towards getting my first class in Final Fantasy XIV to 50 and really enjoying it, and partly because well as expansions and large patches in MMOs are wont to do: Break.  So I figured a week isn’t a big deal and I’ll wait till they patch some things up and then try it out.  Glad I did too. Really dodged a bullet with that whole training cost bit, huh?  Am I right folks?  Why are you all looking at me like you want to hurt me?

I’ve already weighed in on my take on disciplines so I won’t retread the same ground here, but there were some other new surprises waiting for me when I logged in.  For instance, I can now use my formerly ‘human only’ white eyes on my cyborgs.  Apparently they really loosened up on things like that.  Hairstyles too I noticed.  I’ll admit, I actually sprung for the pompadour for one of my smugglers.  He is a space pirate after all, and what’s a space pirate without a fancy hairdo?  Am I right, anime?  I also found out that basic commendations rain from the frickin’ sky now.  I suppose that makes sense since they changed basic commendations function to cover both classic & planetary commendations now too.  Not only do you get three of the things per mission or daily on Rishi, but you also get three crates of them with 99 each for completing the Prelude mission that has you go solo through the Forged Alliances flashpoints.  That’s 297.  With that and the other conversions from the patch, my Jedi Guardian had hit the 1000 cap within 30 minutes of visiting Rishi – AND I ONLY OPENED TWO CRATES.  Talk about wanting to make sure you are geared and ready.

So with all that out of the way, what exactly were my first impressions of Rishi?  Well, it can mostly be summed up in a single sentence: “Where the heck am I?”  True to the spirit of a place called ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ the layout of the first location you visit in Rishi is a confusing mish mash of boarded up walkways, run down buildings, and a seedy underbelly (and I mean that literally.  The only grass is lower ground level area that’s underneath the walkways.) The introductory missions are not much better in terms of clarity.  Talk to certain people who are somewhere in the city.  Talk to one of these town crier droids, but you have to find a way to stop them from walking around.  No details on how. Just find a way.  (The answer for those who are confused is to find the interactable broken lamp posts and shock the hell out of the droid when it patrols near and then talk to it.)  I stopped for the evening when I finally found those who were responsible for convincing everyone in this pirate town that I was a cannibal murderer who paints the hulls of my ship with the blood of my victims (Okay, yes. My Defender IS red, but that’s not why. I’m a Jedi for Obi-Wan’s sake.  Also, haven’t I heard this somewhere before?)

I will hand it to this expansion.  Rishi definitely feels like a different world than what we’re used to.  Especially since it’s unclear if it’s even in the same galaxy.  During the Sith Warrior opening, Quinn mentions (WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE, QUINN?) that Rishi is named after or in or something to do with the Rishi Maze – a neighboring galaxy.  Wait.  Now I’m confused.  Is this a galaxy less far, far away or more far, far away?  The last time I heard about anything from outside the galaxy, we met the Yuuzhan Vong. Sooooo… should I be worried?  Actually, Wookieepedia defines the Rishi Maze as “dwarf satellite galaxy” to the galaxy.   Well…  that just clears everything up doesn’t it?  Yeesh, maze is right. Everything about this place is confusing.

Still, the start of Rishi is definitely enough of a curiosity to keep me wandering around ‘oo-ing’ & ‘aah-ing’ at everything and ignoring quests for a good half hour.  Probably more if I didn’t feel like I should PROBABLY get some sleep at some point.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this expansion goes!  Also, there is a pirate outfit.  Like a honest to goodness space pirate outfit. I’m not saying I’m going to look for Treasure Planet.  But I’m not not saying that.

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