by Kevin Muller
“The Dark Tower” is an epic that can be best described as an unforgettable experience. The themes, plot, characters, and scope of the story is unmatched. It is something that should be sought out by anyone who wants to partake in something that will stand the test of time. Well, that is what I have heard about the novel. My admiration for Stephen King stands with “IT”, which will have its own movie out next month. I walked into “The Dark Tower” only knowing the basic knowledge of the source material so I strictly judged it as a film. Even then, I saw a movie is a broken, incomplete, and a lazy affair that definitely fails the source material.
The Man in Black, an evil mysterious figure, played by Matthew McConaughey, is planning to break the barrier between Earth and the dimension that he resides, in hopes of taking over the planet. The only thing standing between us and this evil individual is a tall dark tower that can be only broken by the power of a child’s mind. It isn’t that he hasn’t tried, he has collected many children and tried to break the wall. The only result that has happened is a slight shake of the massive structure. Meanwhile, in our world, Jake Chambers, played by Tom Taylor, is having dreams about the tower, the Man in Black, and a gunslinger named Roland Deschain. Of course, everyone thinks he is crazy, even his own parents who take steps in institutionalizing their son. Young Jake also sees a portal located somewhere in the city that he thinks leads to the place where he sees all these visions. After going on a tip from someone from an online message board, he goes through the portal and crosses paths with Roland. Roland is on a mission to kill The Man in Black, who killed both his fellow Gunslingers and father. At first, Roland is unsure and cold to young Jake, but as the movie progresses, he starts to grow fonder of the young boy who possesses the young mind that can break the tower in half.
That paragraph above should be about five to six pages based upon the brief research and discussions I have had with people who’ve read the book. Even while I was writing that, it just seemed as if I was skipping through some juicy details. The movie runs an hour and twenty-five minutes. There is so much thrown at you that you don’t have time to digest and think about it. Your brain feels as it is going to vomit because of all the information coming at you. The initial set up with Jake’s dreams and how he is connected to all of this is quite intriguing. There would’ve been nothing wrong with this just being an origin film. It would’ve been a wise choice to get us connected to Jake and the Roland. While Jake does get some backstory and is well played by young Taylor, the film just rushes through the “boring” stuff to get to the tired and redundant action. Roland really gets the shaft though. It is supposed to be okay that he gets minimal character development since he is supposed to be a stoic cowboy, right? Luckily, the film has such a strong actor in Idris Elba that he makes such a thinly written character seem cool. The change of race isn’t even the problem. Elba possesses the rough and tough exterior necessary for this role. It is a damn cinematic crime that the film makers gave him so little to chew on because he has the charisma to carry a franchise. Even Matthew McConaughey does worthy work as a villain but the script just gives him such ridiculous things to say that he does his best with.
It seems to be a trend to start building a cinematic universe with all these big movies coming out. Earlier this year, “Kong: Skull Island,” fantastic movie, hinted at the hairy ape taking on Godzilla, from the 2014 movie, and other of the classic monsters in a future shared universe film. That movie was a well established one. While I haven’t seen “The Mummy,” which was supposed to be the kick off the Universal Monsters Universe, I have heard that it isn’t off to a great start. Here, the hints about the future Stephen King universe seem to be forced in just for the reason to cover all the flaws found here. This film could be an epic on its own, so there really isn’t any reason to start tying in different Stephen King properties into the mix. Nothing here really means anything, nor do you feel any kind of connection to what is going on up on the screen. This is a damn shame because you do get glimpses of how great this could’ve been. There have been reports that they plan to adapt the property into a mini-series, which just shows even the film makers knew this would bomb. It is an extremely poor attitude to have with something that has been talked about for over a decade. The last thirty minutes of this thing is just so carelessly rushed that you can feel the anxiousness of people wanting to pack up their equipment and go home. Absolutely nothing sticks on an adaptation level, cinematic level, or even an emotional level. There are been adaptations where the source material was changed and the film still managed to get a response from the viewers. This thing is just devoid of any feeling or connection. It is a work of unfortunate failure that should’ve been an event movie.
“The Dark Tower” seems to be headed down the path of a movie that will be swept under the rug. The only saving grace that it possesses is the performances of the three leads, which could’ve been masterful if they were given a proper script and adapt direction. It is just so damn forgettable and mundane.
I am giving The Dark Tower a 1 out of 5 Hairpieces!