The Dark Tower is the long-anticipated big-screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s popular novels. It revolves around a young boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) who finds an entrance to this magical world where an evil sorcerer named Walter, also known as The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), wants to destroy a tower which holds their two worlds apart and the only one that can stop him is Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger. As someone who’s never read any of the books, I didn’t go in with high expectations, especially since the screening I attended occurred two days before the movie’s release. While The Dark Tower isn’t as bad as it could’ve been, it’s still not that great.
One of my biggest issues with this movie is that it lacks style. Variety reported that The Dark Tower faced plenty of behind-the-scenes issues leading up to its summer release and that’s apparent based on what I saw. Nicolaj Arcel directed this movie and his vision never truly comes through. Similarly, the editing often feels choppy and keeps it from having a consistent narrative flow. Some action scenes are cool but never rise above “fun to watch” and often appear as too CGI heavy. The cinematography also isn’t that admirable, often relying on a drab color palette that doesn’t make this fantasy world feel magical.
The characters and performances also aren’t that memorable. Newcomer Tom Taylor was pretty bland as the main protagonist—not terrible but not that convincing either. Idris Elba delivers the best performance in the movie as Roland, but it’s still nothing to rave about. Matthew McConaughey tries in his antagonistic role but still feels miscast because he’s way too charming as an actor and I saw more of the actor than the character. Furthermore, none of these characters receive any proper development and I therefore didn’t care much for them; Jake receives the most but it’s still not enough.
The most major issues of The Dark Tower lie within its script. At a rather short ninety-five-minute runtime, the movie introduces these interesting ideas but never truly develops them. For example, Roland is the only Gunslinger who can resist Walter’s powers but we never know why. Instead, the movie shoves in these long instances of expository dialogue that grind the pacing to a halt. Many critics are describing this movie as rushed and I would agree; eight books full of material would’ve worked better as an HBO series a la Game of Thrones. The dialogue isn’t much better and most of the humor falls flat, aside for one or two moments that made me giggle.
Verdict: 2 out of 5
The Dark Tower is an average movie that had the potential to be more. Book fans will probably hate it while everyone else will find some enjoyment. Hopefully, next month’s It movie is better.