The Dark Tower (2017)
“The Dark Tower” stars Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Jackie Earle Haley. Released on August 4, 2017, the film is about an 11-year-old who teams up with a lone gunslinger to protect a mythical structure from the villainous “Man in Black”.
The film is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, who also directed King’s Game, Island of Lost Souls, Truth About Men, and A Royal Affair. It is based on the novel series of the same name by Stephen King. 2017 seems like a good year for Stephen King fans. Not only are we getting the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It next month, but we are also getting the long-awaited film adaptation of The Dark Tower. Unfortunately for the latter, it isn’t exactly what die-hard fans of the series are expecting it to be. I haven’t read that much of Stephen King nor have I seen a lot of film adaptations of his novels, so apparently, I’m heading into new territory for this review. On the plus side, it has Idris Elba fighting against Matthew McConaughey, so I might get a kick out of that. As always, since I have no history with the source material, I will be reviewing it as its own film.
According to the film’s director, the story takes place after the events of the book series while also containing plenty of elements that fans of the source material are familiar with, such as the parallel universe set in the Old West known as Mid-World. It looked like they were attempting to make this film for the newcomers as well as the fans of the books. As a newcomer, all I can say about it is this: it had the right idea, but in terms of its execution, it’s not enough to keep itself stable. It’s not entirely bad or anything since it’s got plenty of good moments, it just didn’t offer much else for other newcomers. Idris Elba was undeniably impressive as Roland Deschain for a couple of reasons. One of them is that he pulled off some sweet gun moves. The other reasons are his ability to make his character likable and reliable and his reactions to some of the modern-day items. Matthew McConaughey also did a good job as the Man in Black despite his character being a typical, cliched villain. Tom Taylor portrays Jake Chambers, a boy who becomes an ally to Roland after following the clues that lead him to Mid-World. I thought he was all right. He didn’t do that much to offer anything new to his character, but he was able to pull through. Despite the fact that it was made from a $60 million budget, the visuals looked pretty darn cool in terms of the action and some of the creature designs. Speaking of the action, there weren’t a lot of sequences that really stand out that much like its substance, but I did get a kick out of watching Idris Elba shoot some baddies. As for the story itself, it has its usual good-vs-evil elements, along with the ordinary-kid-with-extraordinary-powers plot element, but I think there were a lot of moments that could’ve been developed more in order for the newcomers to fully adapt to the concept, such as the backstories for the main characters and the relationship between Roland and Jake.
Overall, as a person who has not read the books, I found “The Dark Tower” to be visually impressive and somewhat entertaining, but it’s not enough to cover up its cliched plot and its lack of character depth. Elba and McConaughey were proper stand outs as the gunslinger and the villainous Man in Black, respectively. Sadly, those two talented actors were the main reasons why I gave it a tolerable rating. If you’re planning on seeing it because of those two, then by all means, go right ahead. Otherwise, I would say it’s worth watching at home.
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