The Dark Tower Movie Review

Like many others, I had been eagerly awaiting the release of “The Dark Tower” at the cinema. However, the reviews for the movie were horrible, and I almost didn’t go watch it. Apparently, the majority of others in Marietta, Ohio, believed the reviews and didn’t attend, either.

I’m not a fan of watching a movie in a packed theater, but I was stunned to find the headcount at this showing was ten people. Ten people for a Stephen King film. The upside to this was we enjoyed the movie without a lot of surrounding noise, comments, or the occasion bright screen of a cellphone. But ten people?

“The Dark Tower” is not a typical horror movie. It’s not intended as such. And for those King fans who eagerly relish such a film, like I do, ‘It’ is set to release September 8th of this year.

A fan of The Dark Tower book series should enter this movie expecting the movie to be inspired by the book series rather than expecting only one installment of the series, as the movie compresses all seven books into a film that is an hour and a half long. That’s a lot of condensation, so true fans of the novels will find great disappointment in this. Essentially, the movie is a watered down version of the books. With that mindset though one can still enjoy this movie as a loosely based spin off of the original.

The Dark Tower is better categorized as fantasy with bits of horror, sci-fi, and Western elements weaved within. The only downside I found with the movie is that it needed at least another half hour or more of screen time. The movie is slightly rushed, but overall, the shortness of the film doesn’t lose the viewer’s understanding of the story. Lengthening the film could flesh out the characters more and give more background for The Gunslinger.

The CGI monsters in the film are done quite well, but perhaps there should have been a lot more monsters since the novels are infested with monsters. The movie is PG-13, which limits the amount of gore and other components that an R rating could have allowed. The rating and the condensation of the story are probably the biggest reasons so many reviewers ranked this movie with poor reviews. Again, understand that “The Dark Tower” isn’t like Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” where one can almost follow the books chapter by chapter on the screen. “The Dark Tower” takes the strongest elements of its book series and combines them.

Tom Taylor plays Jake Chambers, the boy who everyone thinks is delusional and insane based upon the intense nightmares he’s experiencing and the absolute dread that overshadows every aspect of his daily life. Taylor does an exceptional job with the role and has acting skills far beyond his age. Any actor that can use facial expressions and eye movement to speak without words is an actor with immense talent. Taylor has this and more.

Idris Elba is Roland Deschain, also known as The Gunslinger. He definitely plays the role believably well, and as a viewer, I would have enjoyed more time seeing his background brought to life on the screen, but Elba’s portrayal is spot on, although devoted fans of the books sharply disagree. Elba was convincing in mannerisms and the toughness The Gunslinger is known to possess. He brought a lot of greatness to the film.

The Man in Black is Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey captures the arrogant evil of the character in a rather annoyingly way, which suitably is how a narcissistic character acts, especially when the person believes himself to be invincible.

These three main characters are the heart of the original The Dark Tower and slightly altered, but bring to life on the silver screen a story worth watching.

The Dark Tower universe with portals to numerous worlds leaves us wondering what, if any, future adventures will come to the big screen? The movie ending leads us to suspect something more lies ahead, perhaps deviating even more from King’s original into new areas unknown. This might explain why the seven novels were condensed into one opening film. Who knows for certain at this point?

If you’re a diehard fan of the book series, this movie is still entertaining, provided you keep in mind that the movie isn’t a direct reflection of the books. Rather, it is a distorted shadow of the world with the strength of the main characters. Take the chance and see for yourself. I did, and I enjoyed the movie. 4.5/5

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