The only redeeming feature of The Dark Tower – casting Idris Elba.
As someone who has read Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, I felt that The Dark Tower was nothing more than a generic fantasy with no soul. Whatever Nikolaj Arcel and the three other screenplay writers did, it was clearly a disaster. With early test screens being too confusing to the test audiences, multiple reshoots and post-production issues – this much hyped movie has been plagued with trouble. So, it was with no massive surprise that a) this movie was not released early to the critics and b) was going to be slammed by critics. While I can’t say the movie was completely horrible, gone is any semblance King’s magnum opus of dense mythology and lore. What you’re treated to is instead a collapsing tower with no foundations to stand on.
A quasi-sequel to an 8 book series instead of a proper adaptation of the original work, we are thrown into The Dark Tower universe with a PTSD-afflicted gunslinger – Roland Deschain (Idris Elba). Filled with vengeance and no hope, we follow Roland’s clash with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) in this thankfully short 95 minute film. With the only bits of excitement or interest coming in the form of Idris Elba, the possible future James Bond is the only real reason for anyone to go see this film.
The other characters like Matthew McConaughey’s Man in Black are only memorable for their one dimensional aspects, such as his gothic fashion sense and the ability to make people stop breathing with just a word. With no decent modus operandi or motivation to the destruction of the titular dark tower, the Man in Black serves as nothing more than a generic evil to Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) chosen one storyline. I think I much prefer Jake’s role in the books and actually was more intrigued with first entry on his wikia page then watching the movie itself.
As a fan of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, my only thoughts after the film were ‘meh’ to this ultimately forgettable movie. Even the easter eggs were not enough to intrigue me and save this mess. I barely batted an eyelash to one such obvious reference of The Shining with Jake Chambers’ psychic powers being called the ‘Shine’. The rest were not even worth mentioning and were a waste of my time.
Luckily for fans and those intrigued by Stephen King’s universe, there still is hope for The Dark Tower. There are already talks about a TV series, which with a longer format might actually work better at depicting the gunslinger. So just maybe, and I say maybe, we will get something half as intriguing as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods TV adaptation.
With The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara to helm the project, he has begun conceptualizing and adapting the fourth book in the series, Wizard and Glass, to the small screen. Which means we get a better origin story for the gunslinger that even newbies would want to watch and not get confused. The only downside to all of this? Idris Elba is signing on in a ‘limited’ capacity, aw shucks.
At the very least we should be getting something more memorable once the project is completed. Let’s just hope it’s not as mediocre as the film that is not even horrible enough to be memorable or rag on like Transformers: The Last Knight.
- Rating 50%