MOVIE REVIEW – ‘The Dark Tower’

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Nikolaj Arcel
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rasmus Videbaek
WRITERS: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
MUSIC: Tom Holkenborg

I am a fan of several of Stephen King’s novels, but I must admit that I have never read any of the books in his series known collectively as “The Dark Tower”. Therefore, I can’t really speak as to how well this film adheres to the source material or how it deviates. The only thing that I can mention is that I’ve read that it is a sequel to the book series and that it will apparently be related to an eventual television show.

Still, I know the ingredients that were there for the movie. The filmmakers had access to an eight-book epic series by King, Ron Howard is the producer, there was a long development time, and Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are the leads. Tell me, how in the hell did they screw that up with a bland film that has a short runtime and something that barely even touches upon its source material?

First, I need to see if there’s anything good to say about the movie. Well, there is one semi-decently produced action sequence towards the end. Also, Elba and McConaughey as Roland the Gunslinger and the Man in Black are fantastic, both in their own scenes and when they are together. These are two massively good actors that can’t necessarily save the film, but they do elevate the mediocre writing when they’re onscreen.

The biggest problem with this film has everything to do with the stale writing that leads to forgettable moments and a bland world that we are told is supposed to be fantastical. Whoever thought that 90 minutes was enough time to get to know these characters and this world deserves a bullet from the gunslinger’s gun. It felt like someone behind the scenes said, “Eh, just throw some things in there and our TV show will sort things out later.”

I have been told that King’s world in the books is filled with complex characters in a fantasy setting featuring his many creations. Here, there are rat looking people wearing human masks. Also, I felt like we spent way too much time on Earth instead of Mid-World and it kind of reminded me about how they eventually made a “Masters of the Universe” film and they set most of it on Earth because they didn’t have enough money to show you the world you actually paid to see.

There is just no imagination in this film that has taken way too long to get to the screen in order to be this bad. It’s not necessarily the worst film I’ve seen all year, but it may just be the most boring. One thing that I’m sure of is that it is definitely the most disappointing film of the year so far.

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