Based on the best-selling book series by highly-acclaimed author Stephen King. The last Gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the epic battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
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|Amazon Sales Rank||:||#5185 in DVD|
Here I was again hoping for a cool movie adaptation of one of King's longest book series. I was wondering how they were going to do some of the scenes of the book that now with modern computer generated effects could've been awesome as heck but alas it was not to be. Blane the mono, nowhere to be seen. The scenes where the gunslinger has to do some "business" with demonic spirits, gone. Just goes to show that most King novels don't translate well into movies because a lot of his novels are filler. There are endless pages of dialogue between characters that would make for very boring movies and once you cut all that out you're left with a very skeletal story line that's hard to flesh out in a movie form. To do the Dark Tower series justice it would have to be done in a mini series like The Stand. It's the only way you could really get the story of Jake and his relationship to the gunslinger. Personally I felt the casting was way off here. McConaughey should've been the gunslinger, Elba should've been the man in black. No racial bias or anything directed toward Elba, I just feel McConaughey would've been better as the gunslinger. There's just no comparison of this movie to the book series. Those who haven't read the books will find this movie has some interesting parts like the man in black and the gunslinger who seems to reside in what seems like a futuristic world with advanced technology but one that seems to have gone through a major destructive event like a nuclear world war more or less caused by the faction that the man in black is affiliated with. The man in black also seems to be very much a sorcerer with magical powers, not sure if those powers are the result of advanced tech or derived from esoteric origins. Those who haven't read the books are gonna be left asking a bunch of questions like who is the gunslinger, who is the man in black and what does he have to do with the gunslinger, what's with the old style guns and so on. That's just a few question off the top of my head. The whole book series gets pretty deep into their relationship which left me wondering just how they were going to cover so much in just one movie but to answer how they did that, they didn't... They basically took the most basic elements of the story and built the movie around that. I equate this movie to a whopper hamburger without the sauce, lettuce, pickles, tomato everything that makes a whopper a whopper, it's just the base hamburger slapped between two buns... The movie is entertaining with all the special effects no question there, it's just that the readers of the series are going to be left feeling a little hungry for more.
I'll preface this review by saying that I've never read any of the novels in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I've been a fan of King's since discovering Duma Key in high school, and I've been reading his new releases and catching up on old ones ever since. Hollywood has spent years trying to develop the epic novels into a film, citing the dense plot and sprawling mythology as reasons for the delay. Finally, today marks the release of a film that King fan's are sure to come into with high expectations.
The Dark Tower opens with the image of the titular tower standing as a beacon against the darkness that threatens to invade the universe. As long as the tower stands, the world is safe. The mind of a child is said to hold the power to destroy the tower, thus destroying the universe. We see children harnessed into chairs, light emitting from their heads, shooting into the sky, and striking the tower. It is all quite grim and apocalyptic.
The film is centered around young Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a boy whose dreams reveal visions of the tower and those who seek to destroy it. He is haunted by the images of the Man in Black, played by an understated Matthew McConaughey, using children to exact his destruction of the world. Drawings of these visions plaster the wall of his New York bedroom. Jake's mother is concerned with his odd behavior and sends him to therapists to try to interpret these visions. Little do they know, the images are real.
Idris Elba is the star of the show as Roland the gunslinger who exists to protect the tower. Jake travels through a portal to enter Mid-World, the home of Roland and the Man in Black. The best parts of the film lie in those all too short moments between Roland and Jake. There is true chemistry between the characters that goes tragically underdeveloped.
The Dark Tower is one of those book adaptations that seems draw on the characters and world of the novels, rather than the actual story. The rich plot and characters of the books seem to have been abandoned in favor of a lean 95 minute movie that only has time to gloss over the plot and character development. Frankly, the movie hints at a larger mythology that the short running time doesn't allow for. The promise of a forthcoming TV series that continues this story excites me with the prospect of filling in the gaps of this movie. For all of its faults, The Dark Tower is still an enjoyable film. It is the rare summer blockbuster that has a true beginning, middle, and end, an attribute that makes for a satisfying conclusion. While filmmakers throw in several nods to Stephen King's other works (I spotted The Shining, Cujo, and 1408), fans of the Dark Tower books may end up being disappointed. Having gone into the theater with an open mind, I actually had a good time with it.
After hearing all the critical reviews this movie was getting, I almost didn't go see it, even though I'd been waiting a long time for it to come out. Wow, am I glad I did! My expectations were low, but this movie really surprised me and was so fast-paced that it was over before I knew it. I read the first 3 books of the series and although the movie doesn't follow it precisely, it didn't take away from its overall theme. I like how it really makes you root for the hero at the end, few movies can connect like that for me. McConaughey was McConaughey, he didn't have to be some menacing villain to please the critics. He just did his thing without breaking a sweat. The theme music at the end was exceptional to me, some of the best and most epic I can remember. So kudos on that! The director also deserves credit for putting this movie together, and excelling in crucial scenes. I encourage everyone to go check out this movie. I want to see it over and over again!