Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

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The Dark Tower introduces us to a new and decidedly darker take on a coming of age adventure.

Based the Steven King novel of the same name, The Dark Tower introduces us to a new and decidedly darker take on a coming of age adventure. We meet Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a child on the cusp of becoming a man, is plagued by nightmares of another world that he is convinced is real only to be doubted by the adults around him. He dreams of a world where a Dark Tower is being attacked, causing horrible earthquakes in his real world. Jake knows that when this tower falls, the world will fall as well. He also dreams of Walter O’ Dim (Matthew McConaughey – The Wolf of Wall Street) aka The Man in Black who possesses a strange magic over humans, but has no power over Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger. Roland is ultra cool and well acted by Idris Elba (Pacific Rim), bringing depth and strength to the character.

Clearly, whoever was marketing this film didn’t get it when they cut that trailer. I’m reminded of Indiana Jones meets The Neverending Story meets Stranger Things.

I am a fan of Steven King novels; I have read many, but I was never able to tackle this series. Steven King can be heavy handed in world building and character development before engaging in a plot. Many love that about his style, I need both elements to hook me. I picked up The Dark Tower and The Tommyknockers so many times only to get lost. I would always return to IT when that happened. I say this because I know what Director Nikolaj Narcel (The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo) is up against, both in the translation to film and expectations of the rabid fans. I can’t speak to the rabid Dark Tower fans, but I can say that he and the screenwriters skillfully introduced the world and the richly layered characters through a series of images and brief actions resulting in a quick launch into a dark new universe and built the groundwork for a new series of dark adventures for the silver screen. The characters were strong and well developed by the end of the movie. Even the devil himself (McConaughey) is relatable and likable.

The success of Stranger Things may likely be the impetus for finally getting this series translated to the big screen. Dark, borderline horror, but still mainstream stories are finally getting some attention from film producers as the current movie-going audience are growing sick of sunny and shiny superhero movies. This movie would be appropriate for children ages 12 and up; its violent, but not bloody. I truly enjoyed the cinematography and scenery for each act, it is notable for both the detail and scope captured on screen. Allow me to swoon again on Idris Elba. I daresay he’s got more swag than Indiana Jones and I sure hope he gets to keep playing this character. Delicious! Go see it. I want to see what they do for part two!

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