The Dark Tower
Stephen King is an acclaimed author who has taken readers into the varying different worlds of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense and dark fantasy. His work, which consists of novels, non-fiction books, and short stories, have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide, with many being adapted into feature films, miniseries, television shows including The Shining, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Green Mile, The Mist, It and many others. However, one of King’s most popular books – The Dark Tower – had yet to be adapted. Considered by many to be his magnum opus, it’s comprised of eights instalments (nine if you include a prequel novella) and tells the tale of a “gunslinger” named Roland Deschain and his quest toward a tower, the nature of which is both physical and metaphorical. Now, after two unsuccessful attempts from JJ Abrams and Ron Howard, Sony Pictures and director Nikolaj Arcel present the very first film adaptation: does it do justice to its celebrated source material or did something truly great get lost along the way?
In the centre of the known universe lies the Dark Tower, a monolithic structure of protection that prevents the darkness from crossing into the cosmos’ various worlds and realms. On Earth, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a troubled 11-year-old who dreams of the tower, a gunslinger and the Man in Black. His obsession of his dreams, which he continually sketches onto paper, lands him in trouble at school and becomes a major issue for his mother Laurie (Kathryn Winnick). Concerned over her son’s behaviour, Laurie prepares to send Jake to a clinic in upstate New York to get better. However, everything changes when Jake discovers that what he sees in his dreams is real. Jumping into a mysterious portal, Jake finds himself in Mid-World, where he meets up with gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) , who is on a mission to kill the vicious sorcerer Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey) aka the Man in Black. With O’Dim inching ever closer to finally destroying the Dark Tower and letting the unknown evils into the universe, Roland and Jake must figure out a way to save not just their own worlds, but all worlds from the sorcerer’s apocalyptic plans.
Unfortunately, except for Elba’s and McConaughey’s performances, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about with this 95-minute picture. With its incredibly short runtime, abridged world-building, uninteresting action, formulaic hero’s journey arc, and lack of character development, The Dark Tower mostly comes off as a half-decent action-fantasy adventure that doesn’t compare with the celebrated work of Stephen King. It’s not completely terrible, but the entire film just felt lackadaisical and mostly bland from start to finish. It’s one of those pictures that both casual moviegoers and fans of the series should avoid: the former would be confused by what they’d see, the latter would probably be frustrated by the condensed adaptation. While many of King’s screen translations have become iconic and widely praised, this is definitely not one of them. Clearly, The Dark Tower has forgotten the face of its father.
The Dark Tower is released nationwide on 18th August 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Dark Tower here:
Watch Stephen King, Matthew McConaeughey and Idris Elba talk about The Dark Tower here: