A Movie Review
On paper, ‘The Dark Tower’ seemed like a great idea with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba headlining the film and Nikolaj Arcel – writer of the original Girl with a Dragon Tattoo – at the helm, based on Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ novels, but this foray of Arcel in Hollywood seemed to have gotten lost along the way.
The film starts off with some text saying that the Dark Tower keeps the evil away from our worlds and it is believed that the mind of a child is the only thing that can bring it down. It opens w/ a scene of children playing in a compound until a siren is heard and it cuts to a facility headed by Walter (Matthew McConaughey) that seems to harvest the power of the minds of children and converts it into a ray that is aimed at the dark tower. Jake (Tom Taylor) wakes up from this dream to an earthquake happening in New York city. These dreams have been distressing the child’s existence as he documents them into disturbing illustrations that have been alarming his mother and branding him as a freak in school.
The dreams turn out to be real as he discovers a portal and gets in contact w/ the Gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba). Roland has lost his father to Walter whose disastrous powers seemingly have no effect on him. All he wants to do now is to exact revenge by killing Walter while Jake convinces him that he should uphold his mission to protect The Dark Tower.
It seems like a simple mythology that could have been a foundation for a very visual epic but the mounting of the source material fails to establish anything throughout the course of the film.
It becomes the biggest and most vital flaw that brings the film to failure. I have not read any of these Stephen King novels but now I am so curious how this world would have been described in the book. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals were great but the storytelling behind them just fell flat.
The setups were ineffective in creating an engaging story that supported the film’s premise. McConaughey’s Walter had immense power that should send tingles down your spine but I did not feel anything resembling a vibration.
Elba’s Roland was a character full of baggage but none of that depth translated. Even the central character, Jake, who we should be rooting for, does not cause affectations at all.
The acting wasn’t really that bad and the cast for sure had the prowess but I feel that they have been misdirected. Or maybe the bigger fault was in the scripting which failed to establish any of the things at stake that you could emotionally anchor on. Like, what would happen if the Dark Tower fell? Why would a child’s mind be the only thing to bring it down? Or why does the Gunslinger chant that whole patriarchal mantra while shooting his gun? These are just a few of many more questions that are left unanswered till the end which makes the film just flat out, dead, from the beginning.
Let me apologize for including this film in my list of upcoming movies worth watching because ‘The Dark Tower’ is a waste of your P200 or more.
I had high hopes for it because of the team and cast behind it but it feels like a material mishandled outside the filmmaker’s genre or comfort zone. It’s a waste of an adaptation and talent involved in the production. I want my 1 hour and 30 minutes back.
1/5 buckets of popcorn. ∎