The Dark Tower: Film Review

The-Dark-Tower-Box-OfficeI’ve never read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series but I know that its one of his most popular book series. The trailer seemed nice so I went ahead and checked out the movie all by my lonesome. It was pretty good.

Synopsis:  After the death of his dad, 11-year-old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) keeps dreaming about a Dark Tower, a man wearing black (Matthew McConaughey) and a mysterious gunslinger (Idris Elba) who live in a world not too different from his own but devastated by war. He draws his visions on paper but nobody wants to believe in the truth of his dreams. When monsters wearing “skins” track Jake’s location and try to take him to Mid-World,  he decides to uncover the mystery behind his visions by looking for the gunslinger named Roland.

I know this was supposed to be an adaptation of a Stephen King novel but I just couldn’t shake off the Neverending Story vibes in this movie. Perhaps because it had a child as a lead character who traveled to an alternate dimension that this occurred to me but it was not entirely a bad thing.

One of the best things about this movie for me was the manner in which the story was laid out. It was simple and straightforward. The parallel storytelling through Jake’s dreams also made it more efficient moving forward because there was no need for dramatic flashbacks.

I liked Tom Taylor. He was perfect for the role and he gave justice to the character. Jake was a rather special kid but he didn’t know the extent of his powers. The manner in which Jake began to understand his “shine” was gradual in a good way because the audience seemed to be taking the journey with him. I liked his rapport with Idris Elba. Idris didn’t overdo the hero seeking vengeance vibe and while he seemed gruff at first, it didn’t take long for him to soften up to his new buddy (not too much though). It worked well to develop his reluctant relationship with Tom Taylor’s character.

I loved Matthew McConaughey’s Walter. Cool as cucumber but menacing and scary at the same time. The effortless way he threw around his power would have been perfect as The Stand’s Randall Flagg but I doubt he would get the part now after he has played the villain in this movie. His natural coolness and his drawl made no doubt that he was ready to do evil things in a heartbeat.

Personally, I would have liked for his final showdown with Idris Elba to last longer because they were so well matched. But alas, director Nikolaj Arcel isn’t a big fan of drawing out the big battle scenes.

There were a lot of cool things to appreciate about this movie. The fight scenes were something to behold. The script (by super team Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and Nikolaj Arcel) was equally good. The gun battles were neat but I’m an even bigger fan of the reloads. It’s weird, I know, but you have to see the movie to understand what I’m talking about. The CGI was also masterfully used. It wasn’t overdone just because the studio had the budget to do it, and this was very good news for the overall outcome of the movie.

All in all, The Dark Tower was a lot of fun, which is weird to say about a Stephen King movie. It had a strong cast that delivered on fans’ expectations and it kept audiences engaged throughout its 95-minute run. Well worth the money and the time. No complaints from this end.