The Dark Tower Film Review
The Dark Tower is the latest film adaptation from a Stephen King literary piece. It’s actually a film adaptation from the book series of same name and it was highly anticipated amongst the film buffs and fans of the book series alike. But did it delivered the goods on both sides? Well I have no idea about the devoted fans of the books, but for this film fan who hasn’t laid hands on the books yet (and went into the theaters blindly)… no it did not delivered the goods.
In the Nikolaj Arcel’s directed movie – The Dark Tower, Tom Taylor is Jake Chambers. Young boy from New York who sees visions of another world called Mid-World and particularly of two men from that world. Walter Padick/ the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) the last of the Gunslingers who’s in constant war with Walter. The Man in Black killed Roland’s father but his hatred goes beyond personal revenge. Roland must protect the Dark Tower in Mid-World from destruction and that’s where young Tom and his gift (called the shine) comes in. Tom and Roland will travel back to Earth in order to stock on ammunition and fight The Man in Black but that fight will prove to be much harder here on Earth than in Mid-World.
Like I said, I have not read the books series before actually seeing the The Dark Tower movie, but after I saw it, I was pretty much underwhelmed. I felt that for such intricate mix of genres and worlds and themes, the movie had to have longer running time than the 95 minutes that we were given. Also at times, the movie not only it felt a little rushed, it also felt confusing and under developed. Both in plot and characters. I’d love to know more about the rat-faced people in human skin masks, and other supporting characters that sporadically pop in the frames. I’d love to know more about Claudia Kim’ character Arra Champignon and especially Jackie Earle Haley’ Sayre character mostly because I’m such a fan of Mr. Hayley’s talent. He was criminally underused here, but I feel you can say that pretty much about the rest of the characters.
Out main hero, Roland comes in the movie about a third of way actually and even then he’s not given enough space to settle with us the audience. His beef with The Man in Black is very poorly presented and his presence would have more gravitas if the movie plot was more complex, more developed and more intriguing for us. Let me give you an example. There is a recurring theme in the movie of the importance of the father figure, or the lack there of. Jake lost his father and so did Roland, and that loss actually is one of the bonding aspects of their characters. But like everything else, even that important under tone is superficial and barely scratched beyond the surface in the movie. Sure there is some humorous lines from Roland and they are actually welcomed addition to the superficial product, but they are so few and sparse there is not much else to look forward to in-between.
The Dark Tower is Nikolaj Arcel’s first English speaking directorial work, but there is so much to learn in order to balance the CGI, the stop and go pacing, the development and the characters in movie such as this one. And because pretty much everything is left on basic level, there is certain weight put on the 3 lead characters here. Young Tom Taylor is perfectly fine in the role of Jake Chambers and actually manages to display whole spectrum of his character- given that he has more screen time than anybody else. But even with what little they’ve got to work with, you can clearly see that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey had their share of fun in their respective roles. Elba is the brooding, stoic and revengeful hero, while Matthew McConaughey is the charismatic villain although his introduction to the story is again… very basic. They both deliver strong performances and are perhaps the only ray of light when it comes to the final product of the movie.
In the end The Dark tower is underwhelming movie as a whole. It has its moments but they are very few and very sparse to be appreciated. Here the good quality aspects are outnumbered by the bad, confusing ones, and hat’s a shame, because the movie looked like had it had so much potential to begin with.