Movie Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

Right up front, I adore Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” books. They’re epic, unique, engaging, and just awesome. So I was worried about the series being adapted to film. Then the trailer came out and it looked like shit. But now we’re here, reviewing it. Comparisons to the novels are inevitable, but I will do my best to not rely on that stuff. Try to judge this on it’s own. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Dark Tower”.

Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) has been having dreams/visions of a strange land filled with strange stuff. And one day he finds an actual portal to that world. There he meets Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), AKA the gunslinger. And they meet up to try to find and stop the evil wizard known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the one thing holding all the universes together… The Dark Tower. So now we have our adaptation. And it’s not a direct adaptation of any of the books, but rather mixes the stories of all of them into one thing. And it feels quite messy. Cramming a ton of stuff into a 90-minute runtime. So you get a rushed mess that has stuff from all the books, but only feels very surface-level. And even if you take the books aside for a second, it still feels rushed and messy. And not very interesting. At best the plot is meh. But for the most part it is not good.

The characters here show potential to be interesting, but never reach that full potential for me (at least I didn’t dislike them, I guess). Idris Elba plays Roland, a gunslinger. Quick lesson: A gunslinger is a sort of guardian who has sworn to protect Mid-World and the Dark Tower. And Roland is the last of the gunslingers because someone (the Man in Black) was a dick. But you can see some history with him and that there’s some pain behind those eyes. But they never go and fully develop him. But Elba is really good in the role. Tom Taylor play Jake Chambers, the young man who gets visions of Mid-World and Roland and all the shit going on with the Dark Tower. He gets some backstory, and you get a decently clear idea of who he is as a character. And I didn’t hate him, he was probably the most well developed character here (even if it’s not full-on development). And Taylor was really good in the role. Matthew McConaughey (alright, alright, alright) plays the Man in Black, the big threat to Mid-World, our world, and all worlds that are connected by the Dark Tower. He’s a wizard of sorts who can tell you something and you do it. He’s like a less interesting version of Kilgrave from “Jessica Jones”. And while McConaughey is clearly having a lot of fun in the role, his performance isn’t great. It’s average-ish. The rest of the actors in this movie range from fine to good. Serious waste of Jackie Earle Haley in this.

The score was composed by Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL) and it was okay. Bit generic, often reminded me of “The Da Vinci Code”. It’s not bad, but nothing stuck out to me as great or memorable. Most of it is just fairly typical stuff. Takes cues from action, horror, emotional drama, and more in the various tracks. It’s overall… fine.

This movie was directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and I think he did an average job. It’s clear that this movie was rushed into production, so a lot of the less than stellar stuff in direction and such might not be his fault. There is almost no tension here, and the movie looks really generic. For one of the most unique and interesting fantasy franchises, the adaptation sure looks bland. Admittedly there are moments in this movie where I had fun with some of the action. Mainly in parts where action gunslinging was happening, I kind of enjoyed those bits. But there’s also some action here that leaves no impact and just comes off as… meh. Let’s also talk about the visual effects. Some of them look good, and some were kind of bad… distractingly so. It’s kind of like what I said about the plot… messy.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 16% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 34/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,7/10.

As an adaptation of Stephen King’s books, “The Dark Tower” isn’t good. As a movie on it’s own, it’s slightly better but still not that good. Good things include a couple of performances, the character of Jake Chambers, and a couple of action moments. But the plot, most other characters, the music, and directing/cinematography/action range from meh to bad. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Dark Tower” is a 4,65/10. I didn’t want to dislike it… but I kind of did. I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Dark Tower” is now completed.

I didn’t wanna dislike it. I wanted it to be good. *sigh*. At least I can still read the books.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

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