The Dark Tower
the dark tower | nikolaj arcel | akiva goldsman | jeff pinkner | anders thomas jensen | idris elba | matthew mcconaughey | tom taylor | action | adventure | fantasy | sci fi | sci-fi | western | united states | based on | novel | stephen king | dennis haysbert
Film: The Dark Tower
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and Nikolaj Arcel
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Taylor
This film starts showing a bunch of kids that are playing outside. An alarm starts to go off and we see that this film takes place in a futuristic world. They all walk toward a large structure. They are locked into chairs by people with scars on their neck. We see that this is actually because it is a front and hiding their true form. Energy is drawn from them. It comes out of the top and attacks a tower in the middle of a field. This is the Dark Tower.
A boy then wakes up. He is played by Tom Taylor. Everything that we saw was a dream. His mother is played by Katheryn Winnick. His father has passed away, he was a police officer. His mother is now remarried to Nicholas Pauling. He doesn’t really care for Taylor. It could be because he wants all of the mother’s love or that the boy has emotional issues and it puts more of a strain on their relationship because Winnick isn’t harder on him.
Taylor goes to therapy to deal with the death of his father and the dreams he is having. His therapist tries to help. Taylor is convinced that the man in black, the tower, the man with the gun and all of things that he sees are real. He also believes the earthquakes are they are experiencing is connected. When Taylor gets home, his mother informs him that he is going to be sent away for the weekend due to his outburst at school. He had got into a fight with another boy over him taking his drawings.
That night, Taylor has another dream. This is of Idris Elba. He is with his father, who is played by Dennis Haysbert. There is a field full of dead bodies and we see that this was done by Matthew McConaughey. He is a magician and he kills Haysbert with his magic. He comments that it doesn’t work on Elba, but that it eventually will. Taylor also dreams of a house that looks like it could be in his world.
He wakes up knowing that Elba is a gunslinger. He tries to seek out the house from his dream, but the people from the hospital he is going to are there. He had uploaded his drawing of the house to a forum, asking if anyone has seen it. There’s a woman and man, played by Eva Kaminsky and Robbie McLean. Taylor notices that McLean has the scar behind his ear. He goes to pack and asks Winnick for help. He reveals to her who they are and that he needs to not go with them. It looks like she might believe him when Pauling tells them both he is going. Taylor notices that there is a new message, stating where the house is from his drawing. He escapes from the bathroom window and the two give chase. He gets away.
He finds the house and goes inside. He uses a number into a computer inside the wall that opens a wormhole. We see there is something stalking him, moving the floorboards. It turns out to be a kind of demon that almost eats him. He gets away from it and goes into the portal. It takes him to a desert.
McConaughey learns that someone on Earth used a portal they shouldn’t have. He works with Fran Kranz and Abbey Lee, who report the information to him. He then seeks out Jackie Earle Haley. He asks him how this happened and Haley apologizes. He tastes a splinter with the boy’s blood. He gives McConaughey the information and he seeks out the two that went after him. He has them kill each other while he seeks out Taylor’s apartment.
Taylor walks across the desert where he finally meets Elba. They walk together and Taylor reveals that he knows who he is. Elba alerts him that he is trying to kill McConaughey for what he did to his father. He no longer cares what happens to the tower. He does see that the boy might be able to help him complete his mission when he learns Taylor’s Shine is very strong. They continue on, bringing them to a village that has access to a portal.
McConaughey monitors who uses them and the village is leery about this. Elba tries to use that he is a gunslinger to get them to compile. Will they allow him to use it and endanger themselves? Elba is out to get revenge, allowing anyone to die in the process, but will he realize his plan might help to save his and all of the worlds from the Dark Tower’s collapse?
I will admit that I was really excited to see this film when I first heard it and then was slightly disappointed to hear when most people didn’t care for it. I am big fan of the series of novels that Stephen King wrote. What made me nervous for it is that there is so much information in them that making it into one film, one that is a little over an hour and half, isn’t enough. From there I heard that it was going to be a sequel, because McConaughey’s character in the novel states that he has made his journey many times. That does help me knowing this is a sequel to the series and not just an adaptation. I do feel that this film’s story has issues. I don’t know if they are banking on people reading the novels to know the back-story. The problem there is that this film does give parts that don’t always mesh with the novels. I feel not giving more back-story was a problem with the films. I love all of the nods to King novels this film does, as I love Easter eggs like that. I don’t mind how the film plays out; it just doesn’t have the depth I’d like to have seen.
The acting was actually good. Elba plays Roland’s character very well. From the novel he is a man that doesn’t show a lot of emotion and is cold. I thought he embodies that very well. McConaughey and his charisma also plays very well to be the Man in Black. I didn’t mind Taylor. He comes off as someone with issues, which the back-story for him included. I liked to see Winnick, she is pretty solid actress. The rest of the cast I thought rounded out their roles well.
This film has a lot of CGI effects in it. Some of them were pretty impressive and looked real. Really the only times I had issues here were during the final showdown of Elba and McConaughey. I knew coming in though that Roland is able to do shots that might not be considered possible so I suspend some of disbelief there. Also the attack on the village by the creatures sent to stop Elba and Taylor had some problems that I noticed in their movements. I thought the editing was okay, but I never felt the tension to the climax that a film like this needed. I also wasn’t impressed by the score, but it really didn’t hurt the film in my opinion either.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film if you are a big fan of the series. If you are not, I wouldn’t then. This film does make some changes from the novels, but it allows you to fill in the blanks where it fails to give you. I love the idea there are other worlds out there and that there are those that want to bring it down. The film has is issues though. The acting is really good and it is a shame that it fails to live up to what they did. The effects I didn’t have problems with for the most part. The editing had issues with building tension. The score doesn’t help or hurt the film in my eyes. I think this film is above average, but still a disappointment to me for such an epic work from King.
My Rating: 6 out of 10