When the news broke that Nikolaj Arcel's The Dark Tower has a runtime of just 95 minutes, fans of the epic Stephen King series were - perhaps understandably - a little thrown: the first Dark Tower movie's not even two hours long? How was that even possible? Well, according to the film's director, there's nothing to be worried about: that relatively-brief running time is all part of the plan.
Speaking to Bustle, Arcel says:
"The answer is fairly simple: We don't try to over-explain anything...We try to keep it, just as Stephen King did with the first novel, mysterious at times and not reveal too much. Also, this is not intending to encompass the entire mythology into one film."
This is, of course, something we've known for some time: the first Dark Tower movie is not intended to directly adapt the events of the first book, functioning as more of a remix of the series and an introduction to the property's admittedly complicated mythology. Arcel goes on to say:
"It is a tight, precise way of getting into the world. The run time should not concern people. There isn't anything getting lost, and fans will know this as soon as they see it."
And now for some editorialization from a hardcore Dark Tower nerd: on the one hand, I understand fans wanting the film to be longer. We've waited a long time for this movie, and we want there to be...well, as much of it as possible (real talk: if The Dark Tower were three hours long, one suspects that still wouldn't be enough for some fans). On the other hand, I'm familiar with most of this adaptation's beats - the way the story plays out, the portions of the King material that have been included, what-have-you - and 95 minutes seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of time to tell that story, which (as Arcel himself notes) is definitely intended to be a digestible introduction to Mid-World.
None of this is to say that the runtime guarantees The Dark Tower will work onscreen. The key, of course, is what Arcel and company have done with the materials they had on hand. We're still rooting for The Dark Tower to knock our socks off, and will be there day one to see it in action. For now, we recommend remaining calm.