Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil. – Columbia Pictures
Here is another one of my most anticipated movies of the summer. It was better than Valerian, that’s a good start. The Dark Tower is based on a series of 8 Stephen King novels. I love Stephen King, I haven’t read all of his novels but I’ve read quite a few. He is easily my favorite writer and his novel It is my favorite book of all time. Shockingly, I’m not the only one who likes Stephen King, a lot of people do. Because of that many of his books have been adapted to film. Some stand up to the King name while others do not. Still with that track record I’ve been looking forward to the film. I have been trying to read The Dark Tower books for years but just haven’t gotten around to them. After seeing the movie I still really want to read the books.
The Dark Tower was directed by Nikolaj Arcel, whom I am not familiar with and it was written by quite a few people who I am also not very familiar with. The writers are Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and director Nikolaj Arcel. A quick google search turned up that Akiva Goldsman is the man responsible for Batman & Robin. Take from that what you will.
For the most part I would say the directing in this movie was good. The gunslinger stuff was imaginative eye candy. I didn’t know you could load a revolver so many different ways. Unfortunately the majority of the action scenes were entertaining but ultimately lackluster. The film looked good but lacked some much needed substance. Imagine a BLT with one strip of bacon, that’s The Dark Tower not nearly enough bacon. The story is where the movie falls apart. This movie is supposed to be a sequel to the 8 books but also a retelling of all of them. All that information was jammed in to one 90 minute movie. It is rare to see movies shorter than two hours, it’s like the movie studio took that as a challenge. They decided to slam as much as they could in as little time as possible. I haven’t read the books but I do have a general knowledge of the series and I know the world of The Dark Tower is very bizarre and different. Something as extraordinary and spectatuclar should be fleshed out. The movie just throws you in the deep and leaves you to sink or swim and you will ultimately sink. There is a lot left unexplained and to be desired from The Dark Tower. I imagine someone with no knowledge of the books would have trouble following the movie. The story is like a drunk driver on the road, all over the place. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are excellent actors but even they couldn’t save the clunky and awkward dialogue. Poor McConaughey was given a bevy of expository dialogue and cheesy villainous lines. McConaughey said “stop breathing,” like 5 times. The movie was no where near pressed for time. There is no need for the expository diaglogue. Show us some stuff instead.
I will say there are some positives though. The main actors were what kept this movie afloat. Idris Elba shines in just about anything. Luck was on the studios side casting him. He was easily the best part of the movie. Elba makes the Gunslinger look like a grizzled badass. Being Idris Elba he seemed like a good fit for the character but what do I know, I haven’t even read the books. The kid is a solid actor, up there with the Stranger Things cast. Tom Taylor played Jake Chambers. Kid actors usually aren’t great, Chambers proved me wrong. He showed a range of emotions and delivered his dialogue quite well, considering what he was given was less than stellar. Matthew McConaughey played the Man in Black, the big bad of the movie. McConaughey took a page out of Nic Cage’s book and just hammed it up. I guessed that worked.
Another positive is the movie was actually kind of funny. Not like it is so bad it is funny but it actually had some genuine humor. I am a real sucker for “fish out of water” humor. The kind of stuff in Thor, he is on Earth for the first time and doesn’t know how to act. There is a bit of that when the Gunslinger comes to Earth and it worked for me. Another thing I really enjoyed was all the nods to Stephen King’s other works. There were some easter eggs for It, The Shining and 1408. There could’ve been more that is just what I noticed.
The Dark Tower definitely could have been better and should have been better but it isn’t the pile of garbage people are comparing it to. Of course I haven’t read the books so my opinion is coming straight from the movie. Nonetheless I still found The Dark Tower entertaining and would like to see more of it in the future whether it is another movie or a TV show.
I give The Dark Tower a 5.9 out of 10, would probably watch again.
“May your days be long.”