The Dark Tower Reviewed
The Dark Tower is about an 11-year-old boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) who is suffering from recurring dreams about an evil man using children to bring down a large black tower, and the cowboy trying to stop him. It turns out the dream is real and Jake joins the last Gunslinger (Idris Elba) in Mid-World to stop The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from bringing about the end of the universe.
If that sounds unnecessarily complex, it is. While I never read the novels because it seemed too daunting a task, I imagine part of the pleasure of the books is that King can expand on these details and themes to create a fully-realized world. Here, they try to squeeze as many details as possible into the first half of a 95-minute movie, which leads to the movie's biggest problem–pacing. The beginning of the movie is drawn out with long exposition, including many seemingly important details never mentioned again. Then suddenly we're at the final face-off between good and evil. The entire second act of the story is nowhere to be seen.
I’m willing to bet readers and fans of The Dark Tower series are going to be pissed. The movie feels more like the start of an action series than something to honor the source material. Part of the confusion in the narrative may be explained by the fact that the film is meant to be a sequel to the final book, not a direct adaptation. While this may explain the truncated story arc, it will probably have readers denouncing the over-simplification of a beloved series.
Idris Elba is always cool, but his character doesn't seem fleshed out enough, which is puzzling given that most of the $6 million spent on reshoots were done to give The Gunslinger more depth. Then there is Tom Taylor, who plays the young boy; he does a fine job as the protagonist but doesn't add anything special to the role. He also doesn't detract from the movie, which is sometimes the best you can hope for with a child actor. But when he's the central character you would hope for something more.
The Dark Tower was supposed to be the beginning of a movie franchise and television series. But if this is the tone we can expect going forward, I’d guess that will be put to an abrupt halt. I don’t even quite understand how they would continue to adapt the series if this movie is supposed to be a sequel to the last book. That confusion is probably on par with how the audience will feel walking out of the theater. D