Countless times I’ve heard how movies have fallen short of the original source material when adapted from the pages of a beloved book. If you search for meme’s online you find pictures of icebergs and the tip of the ice berg is the movie while everything else is the book. So, does “The Dark Tower” manage to become more than just the tip or are we destined for frozen boredom? Let’s take a look in this review…
The movie is based on a series of novels by writer Stephen King. The story blends fantasy, horror and western elements together to create something unique but still familiar. The run time was approximately 90 minutes and that was enough. The story itself was comprehensive, in that, we clearly understand what each character’s role is in the overall plot of the film. However, I will say, it took some time before the reason is explained. Little in this film is explained, actually. The director, Nikolaj Arcel, placed great faith in us as an audience that we’d be fine knowing things are a certain way without them being explained. For example, what’s the deal with the rat people and where did they come from? The gunslinger has a mantra, ok, but why and what’s the point of remembering the face of your father? Why does a child’s psychic ability need to be used to destroy the tower? Kids have psychic abilities? Sure, ok. How are all these kids getting kidnapped and the news not talking about it? How does the gunslinger live on a world that had an amusement park, but doesn’t know what an amusement park is? There’s no historians that kept a record of life pre the war/battle? In short, there’s a lot of questions.
Overall, the story had great ambition but was executed only in mediocre fashion. I believed Chris Hemsworth (as Thor, in the 1st Thor) when he came to earth and had to adjust. I found that same story in this movie but not as well received. The kid (Tom Taylor) was actually more believable in his response to the dialogue of Idris Elba, than I found myself believing Elba’s performance on earth. Also, quite odd, in the hospital scene what was the point of mentioning several diseases that the gunslingers character had? It felt like they were trying to make a joke but it did not come across that way to me. The gunslinger pays in a gold coin, says he’s stronger than most, and then walks out of the hospital, to drop several pain pills on a bus with the kid while drinking a soda pop. What is going on in this movie??
“The Dark Tower” is in theaters now. You can skip this movie. There’s more story missing than present and because of that you’ll be scratching your head a lot. The ending makes sense only because that’s the ending we have been led to expect and Matthew McConaughey was just a demonic/sociopathic version of who is plays in the car commercials for Lincoln. In fact, since his performance was so similar it would’ve been a nice comedic nod to have his character move through worlds in that car. Ok, maybe not. Also, the last fight scene looks really bad. McConaughey looks like a mime the way he moved, waving his hands around, pretending to be a sorcerer of sorts. If you pick this up on RedBox or VOD I understand. It’s actually not a terrible movie. I could see what they wanted to achieve and how much they wanted to invest in the characters but fell short. I walked out of the theater thinking, “Well, at least they tried.”