Friday Flicks: The Dark Tower

I'll preface this review by saying that I've never read any of the novels in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I've been a fan of King's since discovering Duma Key in high school, and I've been reading his new releases and catching up on old ones ever since. Hollywood has spent years trying to develop the epic novels into a film, citing the dense plot and sprawling mythology as reasons for the delay. Finally, today marks the release of a film that King fan's are sure to come into with high expectations.

The Dark Tower opens with the image of the titular tower standing as a beacon against the darkness that threatens to invade the universe. As long as the tower stands, the world is safe. The mind of a child is said to hold the power to destroy the tower, thus destroying the universe. We see children harnessed into chairs, light emitting from their heads, shooting into the sky, and striking the tower. It is all quite grim and apocalyptic.

The film is centered around young Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a boy whose dreams reveal visions of the tower and those who seek to destroy it. He is haunted by the images of the Man in Black, played by an understated Matthew McConaughey, using children to exact his destruction of the world. Drawings of these visions plaster the wall of his New York bedroom. Jake's mother is concerned with his odd behavior and sends him to therapists to try to interpret these visions. Little do they know, the images are real.

Idris Elba is the star of the show as Roland the gunslinger who exists to protect the tower. Jake travels through a portal to enter Mid-World, the home of Roland and the Man in Black. The best parts of the film lie in those all too short moments between Roland and Jake. There is true chemistry between the characters that goes tragically underdeveloped.

The Dark Tower is one of those book adaptations that seems draw on the characters and world of the novels, rather than the actual story. The rich plot and characters of the books seem to have been abandoned in favor of a lean 95 minute movie that only has time to gloss over the plot and character development.  Frankly, the movie hints at a larger mythology that the short running time doesn't allow for. The promise of a forthcoming TV series that continues this story excites me with the prospect of filling in the gaps of this movie. For all of its faults, The Dark Tower is still an enjoyable film. It is the rare summer blockbuster that has a true beginning, middle, and end, an attribute that makes for a satisfying conclusion. While filmmakers throw in several nods to Stephen King's other works (I spotted The Shining, Cujo, and 1408), fans of the Dark Tower books may end up being disappointed. Having gone into the theater with an open mind, I actually had a good time with it.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 4, 2017 and is filed under ,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

4 Responses to “Friday Flicks: The Dark Tower”

  1. I haven't read the Dark Tower books, but it sounds fascinating. I think I'd like the movie better before reading the books, though.

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    1. I agree. I feel like I enjoyed the movie a lot more because I hadn't read the books first.

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  2. I haven't read these books yet, but they sound so interesting. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the film. I definitely want to see it!

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    1. I seem to be in the minority, but I just don't understand all the hate for this one.

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