After residing in production Hell for years with talks of multiple movies and a planned companion TV series, The Dark Tower was finally green lighted at Sony with Idris Elba as the magnificent Gunslinger and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. Then the actual production began and cracks in the foundation of The Dark Tower became visible. Sony reportedly clashed with director Nikolaj Arcel’s creative vision and test audiences were not digging the film. Reshoots and new edits were administered and fans had to wait forever to see the lackluster trailer. Then the running time of 95 minutes was announced and huge red flags were raised again considering The Dark Tower was an eight part book series.
The Dark Tower is definitely not the biggest disaster in terms of films riddled with production issues (That honor will always go to Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four), but the film is still an incoherent mess considering the beloved material it draws from. The biggest culprit as to why The Dark Tower doesn’t work is absolutely the running time. You can’t slam eight books worth of mythology into an hour and thirty-five minutes. If you’re not familiar with the books, odds are you will be confused as to what is going on in this world of other dimensions and sorcerers.
Nothing is really explained or delved into including the Tower itself, which is so important to the overall story. The magical structure is basically ignored in terms discussing its true importance in the universe besides it keeps the evil out. Everyone and everything in the film is lucky to get a couple of lines of dialogue concerning back story and the rest you’re supposed to figure out for yourself. The Dark Tower truly ruins its potential by giving the audience a Cliff Notes version of the epic history of the Tower and the men looking to protect and destroy it.
The lone bright spots in The Dark Tower would be Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as the two adversaries battling in the name of good and evil. The characters are still quite confusing and mysterious, but at least these two have a presence on-screen during the film that keeps your attention away from the lackluster special effects that plague the film. Everything in this movie adaptation has a rushed and cheap feel to it, which is a shame considering the unique worlds Stephen King created in the series were flush with content to pull from. The Dark Tower is not the worst movie ever made like some production rumors may have suggested, but it’s still one of the biggest disappointments at the movies in 2017.
Overall, I give The Dark Tower 1.5 out of 4 stars.
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