The Dark Tower is a fantasy adaptation of the Stephen King graphic novel series of the same name, directed by Nikolaj Arcel and stars Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Taylor.
The film follows the young boy, Jake Chambers (Taylor), who is plagued by visions of a ‘Man in Black’ hell bent on destroying a mystical tower, which protects all realities and multiple dimensions. In his visions, there is also a ‘Gunslinger’ who acts to hinder the Man In Black from destroying the world. With his family believing his visions as trauma relating to the death of his father, Jake sets out on a mission to prove them wrong and comes face to face with the subjects of his visions.
The Dark Tower’s plot is intriguing, and is portrayed in a way that can be enjoyed by both adult and children alike, though some of the darker themes of the film may scare young children. The premise is certainly interesting, especially for someone who has never read any of The Dark Tower novels in the past. Though, despite being watchable, some may say that the plot is far too predictable, with a hero, a villain and a central character who will reignite the hero’s quest to protect the world.
Being fairly predictable, not much character development went into the characters of the gunslinger, Roland (Elba) or the Man in Black, Walter (McConaughey). Instead, the film assumes the audience to be intelligent enough to pick up on the roles these characters play and their history with each other, which is loosely touched upon. While this saves a lot of time in the film and removes unnecessary scenes, I personally felt that more background needed to be given to the two characters and an explanation of how they first crossed paths.
The pacing of the film was slightly odd. Initially, the slow pace allowed for world building and plot development, but that quickly changed as the film was rushed toward the end to reach a conclusion, something which I’ve never quite enjoyed as the sudden change in pace usually results in an unsatisfying end.
This certainly was the case in The Dark Tower. Roland’s rise up to become the gunslinger he was always meant to be felt lacklustre despite the many cool dual wielding, gun-slinging fight scenes in the film. The final battle could have definitely been done better to offer a far more satisfying end, something which pacing is partly to blame.
Visually, The Dark Tower offered rather basic graphics and was, for the most part, rather grey and dull, signifying the gloominess of the world in which Jake lives. There was nothing particular spectacular about the film’s visuals and the so called, all powerful tower, looked nothing out of the ordinary.
In many ways, The Dark Tower felt like a watchable film one would put on to keep entertained or to pass the time. Despite having an entire series to build a solid foundation from, the film attempted to do too much too soon and ended up missing out on key aspects which viewers, like myself, would have thoroughly enjoyed, such as the history of the tower and the backgrounds of the gunslinger and the Man in Black. Without a solid foundation and rushed character development and conclusion, The Dark Tower was a so-so watch, one that could have been left to waiting for the DVD or Blu-Ray release.