The Dark Tower
Length: 93 minutes / 1.55 hours
Like many “best-selling” books and book series made into movies, I don’t have the time to sit down and read them all before their film adaptations are released. The Dark Tower (2017) is no different. In fact, I was only made aware of the Dark Tower series shortly before the movie was announced. Therefore, unlike the diehard fans of the series, I had no expectations for the film other than the understanding that there would be some interesting fantasy/sci-fi elements presented on the big screen. Unfortunately, at a measly 93 minutes of runtime, The Dark Tower felt a little . . . light.
Sure, all the essential elements of the story were there: the gunslinger protagonist (Idris Elba), the magical “Man in Black” antagonist (Matthew McConaughey), and the conflict of good vs. evil. And yet, so much of the plot seemed glossed over that the entire movie felt like a trailer for a larger universe. I wouldn’t have minded another hour to delve into some of the intricacies of the series so that it would feel grounded instead of a “greatest hits” game of cat-and-mouse. Furthermore, while some of the action sequences were pretty good, I can’t help but think that they could have been a little more extraordinary and revolutionary (maybe more along the lines of what The Matrix (1999) did almost 20 years ago).
Since I have not read the source material, I’m not sure if the glut of Stephen King references were on the part of the filmmakers or the author. From a kid who has “The Shining” (from the book of the same name) to an abandoned theme park featuring a clown named Pennywise (from It (2017) . . . the one successful Stephen King film adaptation this year), and even a brief reference to 1408 (and its short story), so much of The Dark Tower seemed to be an amalgamation of Stephen King ideas in a non-horror context. Sure, the movie did pique my interest for the book series (if I can endure the long wait times for it at the library), so in that sense, it succeeded in drawing me to the source material.
A mediocre movie that could have been so much more, I give The Dark Tower 2.5 stars out of 5.