Movie Review: The Dark Tower

A genre unto itself, about 90% of adaptations based on Stephen King’s books are pretty bad. I saw It when I was 11 and did not think it was scary or good. Later came The Stand and it was very underwhelming despite the concept. Dreamcatcher is so baffling it is beyond description. Thankfully, some of King’s adaptations are great. Frank Darabont’s early work, The Shining, and others are all worth a watch. Now comes The Dark Tower, based on the long-running fantasy series of the same name. I have not read the books, so I have no idea how it will hold up to fan scrutiny. Was Tower one of the good ones or another dud?

In the midst of earthquakes ravaging different parts of the world Jake, played by Tom Taylor, has nightmares of a fantastical world in turmoil. He sees the Gunslinger, played by Idris Elba, fighting the Man in Black, played by Matthew McConaughey, in an endless conflict with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance.

Even before the movie came out King fans hated what had become of their favorite story. One guy I know of from BroTeam said he was going to stack up his Dark Tower books and piss on them when the trailer came out. I had a general idea of what to expect going in and I did my best to set aside my preconceived notions. All art must be judged on its own merit, not the opinion of others. It also helps that I have never read a single King book in my life.

The hate from fans I understand, but Tower really was not that terrible. If anything, the film is very mediocre and boring. It takes a long time for stuff to happen and even then there is no guarantee. The action scenes that I assume were supposed to be cool were so underwhelming I could have fallen asleep. There was potential for cool moments that were never realized because the director has no eye for action. The use of CG muzzle flashes and debris explosions did not help either.

With that said, Dark Tower could have been worse. It could have been like 5th Wave or some terrible YA movie front-loaded with a ton of crap that did not make sense. The film was at least competent and told a clear story with decent performances. However, I cannot recommend it with the inherent mediocrity. You do not feel anything that happens on screen and I am starting to think there is more in the books. If you are not up for reading, check out some of the other adaptations of Kings work.

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