The Dark Tower review: A bullet missed

Violet Powell
August 4, 2017

Reshoots brought in an entirely new part of the film that helped explain the world and reinforce why Roland (Idris Elba) hates the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). With Laurie anxious over Jake, she decides to send him to a clinic upstate, but everything changes when Jake discovers that what he sees in his dreams is real. This is problematic because the movie tends to focus more on Jake than on Roland - a departure from the books.

While the effects used for Roland and Jake's adversaries weren't impressive, the effects used for Roland's gunplay were fantastic.

In 2007, the team behind Lost, including J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, optioned the book series. The Dark Tower will hit the theatres on August 4.

Variety's Owen Gleiberman is more favourable, saying The Dark Tower is "a competent and watchable paranoid metaphysical video game that doesn't overstay its welcome". It's a film that feels rushed and plodding, sometimes within the same scene. He says Elba's performance "stands out" but, "the movie around him is sadly pointless, weirdly forgettable despite a slipstream story mashing fantasy and science-fiction and Brooklyn". Written by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Arcel, based on the novels by Stephen King. Another strong voice in the mix was King's, who had the power to veto creative decisions.

The Dark Tower's clipped pace also does the unfortunate work of making some of the details of King's world seem pretty silly. The bigger issue: "How could a film with Elba and McConaughey have so little swagger?" asks critic Darren Franich. Roland is determined to stop the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. But, perhaps not any more. Jake has awful nightmares and is compelled to draw the people and places who populate his bad dreams; his mom and his stepfather believe Jake has psychological problems, perhaps as a result of his father's death. While there is one particular instance in which Roland's money shot pays off, the shootout scenes are reminiscent of Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted, but with notably less style.

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"Dark Tower is coming out this summer", Howard said. The TV series The Dark tower is expected to go back in time and cover Stephen King's fourth entry of the novel. With a new story, condensed mythology, underdeveloped characters, and a fairly simplistic Hero's Journey arc - save the Tower, save the world - The Dark Tower doesn't actively improve upon the source material and fans of King's universe will likely find it lacking.

"The 95-minute culmination of years-long efforts to bring The Dark Tower to the big screen is a complete disaster, a limp, barely coherent shell of a movie".

Director Nikolaj Arcel ("A Royal Affair") helms this adaptation of best-selling author Stephen King's magnum opus.

The Dark Tower starts playing in US theaters Thursday August 3. We'll know by the end of this weekend.

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