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[Movie Review] The Dark Tower (2017)

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Plot Summary: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, 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 ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Writers: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner

Runtime: 1h 35min

Main Cast:

  • Idris Elba as Roland Deschain / The Gunslinger
  • Matthew McConaughey as Man in Black
  • Jackie Earle Haley as Sayre
  • Katheryn Winnick as Laurie Chambers
  • Abbey Lee as Tirana
  • Nicholas Hamilton as Lucas Hanson

Review: by The Superior Spider-Sam

So, The Dark Tower is a series of 8 books by renowned novelist Stephen King. He actually regards this series as his masterpiece.

The tale involves a gunslinger named Roland- the last in a line of fighters known as gunslingers- as he seeks to use the power of the a structure known as the Tower to help aid his world. In Roland’s way are numerous antagonists, which include powerful magic users The Crimson King and The Man in Black. Now, I have not read a page of this novel, summary notes, or even a wiki. Every bit of knowledge I have came from other people in my life who LIVE by this series and swear how awesome it is all day long. So, I figured if the film adaptation is even 1/10th as good as people say the book is, then I’m in for an epic and amazing movie. Well, I’m here to report, that it must be 1/25th as good as people say the book is- this movie was very….average.

What I liked

Stating what I liked is hard because the main thing I did not like causes me to be unsure of how much of this movie I actually enjoyed. I will say Matthew McConaughey is by far the best part of this movie as villain The Man in Black. He is the type of evil I enjoy- that is not gruesome and bloody just for the sake of it, but instead meticulous, charming, and well just plain evil. McConaughey ‘s Man in Black is not one to use his magic just to kill a bunch of people (although he does that too) ; we see the evil of the Man in Black by the way he chooses to emotionally damage his victims just for giggles. For example, when he is walking down the street, sees a young girl happily eating ice cream with her mother, and decides to make her hate her mother…literally just because. His interactions with friend, foe, and all those in between were also great. As I stated, McConaughey brought the idea of “charmingly evil” to this role; so for instance, even when it seems the Man in Black is just shooting the breeze and cracking jokes we are ALL very aware of a feeling of wickedness in the air to let us know that no one is truly safe.

Additionally, most, if not all the (few) times I laughed in this movie were because of The Man in Black saying or doing something that had me thinking “Haha, wow really?!” As you may have noticed, I totally fell for his charms.

What I Did Not Like

I am very glad that here at the Grand Shuckett we stick with What We Liked and Did Not Like, because if there were a “What Could Have Been Better” category, you would close this page immediately by how much I have to say.

So, on strictly on what I didn’t like the first item had to be the runtime. I’ve never read the books and even I could tell they RAN through this 95-minute movie. I have so many questions. What is the history of Roland and the Man in Black’s Rivalry? Heck, What is the history of Roland? What’s a gunslinger? Context and common sense tell me it’s a person who can shoot a gun really well, but clearly I’m missing something because the world seems in awe of them (and Roland in particular). How exactly does the Man in Black know so much about the tower and all the worlds it connects to? Where/ Who is the Crimson King in all this? How do Jake’s powers work? They seem to come and go without his control. All of these questions are part of a bigger problem- no character development. I said I enjoyed McConaughey a lot, and that’s probably because he had the most screen time in the movie. Either 95 minutes was not enough to make me care about all the characters or appreciate the stakes, or the script needed much work. I’m honestly not sure which is the problem, but I’d venture it’s the script. The studio clearly set this film up for a series given the ending so that means not everything had to be jam packed into this one film.

As you saw from the trailer a boy from our world named Jake (played by Tom Taylor) travels to another world where he meets the gunslinger Roland (played by Idris Elba) and they quickly decide to jump scenes- I mean “travel”- across this whole OTHER WORLD telling us, and more importantly showing us, very little.

I could get on the issue of Chemistry between the actors, but honestly the worst sin of this movie was the studio wasting Idris Elba’s time and their money. He did so little (not his fault0 that they could’ve gotten someone far less known and expensive for this film. I don’t have much to say about Roland, because I don’t know much about the Roland.

Final thing, the action was abysmal. Idris Elba was no more badass than Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond. It’s a real shame given how far we’ve come with technology and choreography that I see better gunfights of prime time television than in this film. The coolest thing about the gunslinger was the way he reloaded his gun. Other than that, there’s not much to enjoy and you’d have a better time on YouTube looking up scenes from Equilibrium.

Images Courtesy of IMDB

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