The Dark Tower (2017)
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Critic Reviews for The Dark Tower
[Idris] Elba alone can't make The Dark Tower worth watching. But he can make the case, yet again, that he deserves better material than this.
Outside of its actors, the film is unremarkable. Action sequences seem as though they were hurried, that is, when you can actually see them - Did the lighting team blow a fuse?
It gets where it's going fast enough, but you don't feel like you've traveled anywhere at all.
The Dark Tower avoids the lowest rungs of that ladder. Taken on its terms it's hardly a disaster, delivering moments of fun on a basic level.
Audience Reviews for The Dark Tower
I have never read any of Stephen King's popular fantasy series, The Dark Tower, so I walked into the long-awaited film adaptation with no investment. I walked out with very little investment. The film peaked at its casting, with Idris Elba as the mythic Gunslinger hunting down a notorious evil sorcerer, The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), a.k.a. Randall Flagg. For the first fifteen minutes or so, the world building is pretty straightforward and accessible. The Man in Black is looking across universes for special psychic children whose abilities he can focus to destroy the titular Dark Tower, a monument protecting the stability of all universes. A young kid is having prophetic dreams but appears emotionally disturbed to his family. Before a group of rat people hiding behind human masks can kidnap him, he runs away, finding a portal to Midworld, and into the path of the Gunslinger, who seeks personal vengeance against the Man in Black. From there the movie gets pretty hazy with its rules and lore. The production design of this alien world is a bit bare. The characters stay in an archetypical range and don't give you much reason to care. The action is serviceable but unmemorable, the Gunslinger credo is rather cheesy especially when repeated with such self-seriousness, and sometimes it feels like McConaughey is in a different movie altogether. If you're a fan of the series, I have to imagine you'll be processing some level of disappointment by the end of the film. If you're a franchise novice, like me, you may find some stray things to enjoy in the moment, but the film evaporates from your mind immediately after leaving the theater, banished to the dustbin of bland sci-fi action. Nate's Grade: C
The Dark Tower movie, unlike the Mangnum Opus book series from writer Stephen King, suffers from the word 'go'. An inspired performance from Idris Elba that makes me wish the rest of the film, from direction to production to the story, matched his commitment. Through development hell, numerous rewrites, director changes, and a minuscule 90-minute run time, The Dark Tower fails in nearly every aspect as a complete movie. First and foremost, this movie (*read entire franchise*) has been trapped behind closed doors for years. I remember when they first talked about adapting this into a few movies and a complimentary TV show with all these grand schemes to make it one of the largest and most complete packages Hollywood had seen. Instead, we got 90 minutes of a non-cohesive story with stilted and near-comical acting that felt like years of planning and writing crammed into a tight little window. The end result leads me to believe this was the first and last iteration we'll see as fans. I'll go on record and say the books are the best complete series I've ever read. I did my best to separate them from this movie. Matthew McConaughey mails in an over-acted performance as Walter and comes off as creepy in a pedophile way instead of sinister and cunning like the books. Tom Taylor won't act his way into any future performances with his first on-screen performance in a major role. Nikolaj Arcel will remain just as unheard of after this release as a director as he was before it. But unfortunately, the biggest clue-in as to why this movie failed was Akiva Goldsman. The screenwriter/producer is one of the worst in the business. While movies his name is tagged on range from OK (I, Robot, Cinderella Man, Lone Survivor) to outright garbage (Transformers, Jonah Hex, Poseidon), I'll never understand how he became so prominent in the business. The Dark Tower turns into a misguided attempt at starting a franchise by dropping you right into the thick of the story without any background or knowledge of what's going on with only dialogue to spur movement forward. It should stop before continues any further.
Underwhelmed, and forgettable. A-listers can't propel a franchise wannabe if the story is not compelling.
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