Movie Review: The Dark Tower

Movie Review: The Dark Tower
Walter (Matthew McConaughey) and Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures THE DARK TOWER.


Genre: Fantasy/Action

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 95 mins.

Premise: Jake Chambers is gifted/cursed with the “Shining” and discovers a dimension to another world where he becomes the pawn of an eternal battle between the heroic Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and the evil Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).

Behind-the-Scenes: Based on a beloved series of books by Stephen King. Hollywood has been trying to adapt this property for years with major players involved at every turn. Prior to this current incarnation, Ron Howard was attached with Javier Bardem in the lead, and there were plans for an interconnected, multi-film franchise with television series installments airing in between movies.

The Good: Idris Elba is well cast as the Gunslinger, and delivers the perfect mix of charisma and gravitas. The concepts at play in King’s book tickle the imagination, and one can sense the initial appeal of adapting this property for the big screen.

The Bad: The filmmakers utterly fail to capitalize on the potential of King’s story. Unclear if it was hamfisted studio involvement, major reshoots, or some combination of the two, but this is an epic story that’s been cut and reassembled and fiddled with to no end in post-production. The seams show at every turn. It’s as if Peter Jackson took all six Hobbit and LOTR movies and decided to just make one 90-minute movie instead. Everything is given short shrift – character arcs, world building, backstories. McConaughey seems lost in the villain role – his character’s powers are ill-defined and his costuming looks ridiculous. The action is so scattershot and is cut so haphazardly that you never really understand what is happening on screen.

Should You See It?: No. It’s a mess. Hopefully, someone takes this material back to the drawing board and makes something good out of it. It’d be great as a Westworld-type HBO series.

Star Rating: *1/2 out of 5 stars.

Better Than: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Worse Than: The Mummy (2017)

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