Friday, August 4, 2017

The Dark Tower - Review

The first of two major Stephen King adaptations this year, The Dark Tower finally brings the adaptation that many fans of King’s book series have wanted for a long time. But with want comes expectation, and it remained a mystery for quite a while whether this incarnation would meet them. With two talented, charismatic leads and backed by the rich source material, The Dark Tower has all the makings of a good film, and yet it just can’t quite get over the hump.

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

The biggest mystery of The Dark Tower is how the filmmakers have seemingly taken a straightforward story and not executed anything appropriately. To make a sequel to the lengthy book series into a 95-minute film requires a lot of cramming of exposition and mythology with little regard to if it makes sense for the casual audience members. The whole thing screams of a studio that didn’t know what to do with this particular property.

Like maybe not suck the charisma completely out of your two lead actors? Both are proven commodities and extremely talented, yet they feel squandered here. Elba is still convincing as the Gunslinger and really portrays quite a bit through just his eyes, a necessity given the lackluster dialogue given to him. On the other hand, McConaughey is not doing anything really new at all, just appears as an evil Matthew McConaughey, albeit a good one but still. Both try their best with what they’re given but it can’t really help the film all that much.

Perhaps the other biggest flaw in The Dark Tower is the studio seemingly cutting its legs off before it could ever start running. The short runtime has been discussed, but another big mistake is to short change the film by giving this supposed fantasy western epic a smaller budget. It shows too, in the spotty CGI and the boring action scenes that are nothing more than a few cool moments of Idris Elba pointing and shooting. This is without a doubt a film that could’ve benefitted from a grand scale film that the studio didn’t seem interested in making.


Overall, The Dark Tower is a boring mess of a film that never quite grasped what it wanted to be. The decent performances from the two hampered leads are not enough to look past the muddled story and uninteresting characters. There are moments of potential in small scenes, however brief they may be, but the overwhelming consensus means this particular tower won’t stand for very long. 

So what did you think of The Dark Tower? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? Share, subscribe, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.