I thought that this movie looked like it could be a lot of fun, but I was definitely worried because reviews didn't come out until the last minute. It turns out that my apprehensions were correct.
The narrative of this film is really inconsistent. The film is extremely slow, especially during the beginning of the film. This is a really bad sign given the fact that the film is just over an hour and a half long. There is also a lot of unexplained elements regarding the more mystical elements of the film. This is a result of the fact that there is very little backstory and characterization in the film. There are a few moments that are somewhat funny comedic relief, and there is a relatively exciting action scene towards the end of the film, but the rest is really boring. The film is loosely connected to "The Shining", but these connections really only besmirch the name of the classic horror film. The dialogue in the film is extremely cheesy and expositional. Nearly everything about the backstory to the film is explained in a conversation between characters rather than incorporated in a natural, visual way.
The visual effects of this film were solid, and the set design was cool too. The cinematography is interesting, with some really cool shots, including one where someone gets shot while looking through the scope of a rifle. The actors are a little over-the-top, though. Matthew McConaughey's lines are already cheesy, but his delivery made it feel even more unnatural.
Overall, I found "The Dark Tower" to be really disappointing. It is very poorly written, although it isn't completely awful, and the visual elements do impress at times.
The Dark Tower
Big Tuna's Rating: D+
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: No.
Jon Berk's Review
For every The Shining or Stand by Me there are the Stephen King adaptations that don’t work. The Dark Tower sadly falls into the latter despite Idris Elba delivering a pretty excellent performance. The film that only runs 95 minutes feels much longer and suffers from long winded expositional sequences.
Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) seems like he has lost his mind to everyone who hears him ramble about the man in black. He soon finds out that he’s not crazy at all, but has seen into other worlds. He finds a portal and travels in hopes of finding the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba).
The first thirty minutes of this movie move at a torturously slow pace. The description above seems sufficient, but instead we have to witness him get in trouble at school. To be fair, Tom Taylor does a pretty solid job with most of the “dialogue” he is given and even brings enough charisma to be an interesting character. However, it’s just presented poorly and likely the fault of the screenplay.
Matthew McConaughey feels a bit too cartoonish in the role he is given to play. Constantly forced to spit out tons of exposition likely to keep the films budget down from showing the interesting events he talks about. There are even moments he reveals some probably cool facts about Roland, but it’s done so quickly it’s likely people will miss it.
Elba does shine though. He doesn’t get nearly enough action sequences considering he is playing a gunslinger, but there are some really cool visuals. He carries the intensity and awesomeness of any action star out there. If he is ever given the right script he will nail it. Unfortunately, he got a lackluster adaptation of what seems like a very cool world from a book series that is beloved by many.
The Dark Tower definitely fails way more than it succeeds. There is clearly a good story at the heart of it, but it’s told rather than shown. The moments that should linger are rushed and the moments that should move don’t. This leads to an unsatisfying and even slightly cheesy ending that seems to think it’ll have a second film. The Dark Tower was Not a Total Waste of Time.
The Dark Tower
Jon Berk's Rating: D
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I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.