When the credits began to roll at the end of The Dark Tower, I found myself eager to start reading the books. Sadly, it was not because the movie intrigued me (far from it). Instead, I need now to know if, during the process from page to screen, something was lost in translation (if not much more).
I can safely assume the book has valuable source material (I mean, it is Stephen King we are talking about), so how can a movie like The Dark Tower crumble so? First off, I could hardly accept Matthew McConaughey (undoubtably talented) as Walter (or, as he is known, the man in black). It is true that a lot of villains need a certain “charm” (think of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in the MCU), but the notes don’t strike the right tone for McConaughey. He is just too likable a guy, I think. His Walter is out to destroy The Dark Tower, which will allow monsters into the universe. The only thing standing in his way (along with his almost superfluous team of…I will just call them geeks for the sake of time) is the last gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba). Roland is able to fend off Walter’s magic (unlike Roland’s father, a small part played by big talent Dennis Haysbert), and also stumbles upon a new player, the young Jake (Tom Taylor). Jake is having dreams of the gunslinger and the man in black, but his mom (Katheryn Winnick) and step dad (Nicholas Pauling) feel he is just losing it after the death of his father.
Any movie that is adapted from other written material always has two audiences to play to: those that have experienced the written work, and those that haven’t. Perhaps the biggest mistake that The Dark Tower makes is that it focuses more on the former audience members and not the latter ones. Movies are always better at entertaining than they are informing us. In the case of The Dark Tower, it has neither going for it.
Parents, there are some parts of violence and swearing (no sex or nudity), so I would say middle school and up would be ok.
I walked away feeling sorry for those who made the movie, from director Nikolaj Arcel and young star Tom Taylor (who does seem to do ok as a young actor) to screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (who has done worse…cough, Batman & Robin!, cough!) Still, I feel the audience deserves the most of the apologies, because they could have seen something new and exciting, but got something bland, convoluted, and uninspired.
Overall: One and a Half Stars * 1/2