The Dark Tower: Movie Review

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Based on Stephen King's expansive, eight volume fantasy, sci fi, horror, western series, The Dark Tower stars Idris Elba as the last remaining Gunslinger. He comes from a long line of knight-like heroes devoted to protecting the giant tower that sits at the center of the universe. Matthew McConaughey is the Man in Black who's desperately trying to destroy the tower to unleash evil upon every world that depends on the tower, including Earth.

It's said that the mind of a child can topple the tower, which becomes the sole purpose of the Main in Black- he must find the one boy or girl capable of doing so. Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a troubled young boy who has visions of the Gunslinger, the tower, and the battle of good and evil in a world he doesn't understand. Once realizing his dreams are not random hallucinations, he sets off to find out what it all means as the fate of many worlds hangs in the balance.

As a moviegoer with no previous knowledge of the world or characters that the series builds, my thoughts on The Dark Tower are limited strictly to the film itself. From what I understand these are massively popular books with many die-hard fans that I think may be disappointed by this movie. The filmmakers attempt to cram so much plot, backstory, and world-building into such a short time that it's hard to really latch onto the characters or story.

In fact it's a rare complaint to have with a modern summer blockbuster- as most of them I find dragging on far too long or suffer from too many unnecessary side-plots. The Dark Tower, however is just the opposite. There are a lot of fascinating concepts and ideas at play here, but unfortunately the plot is moving at such a quick pace that for those unfamiliar with the books are given barely enough for the story to work as a contained film.

It would be similar to Peter Jackson taking plot points from several of the Lord of the Rings movies and only releasing one film. And it's only 95 minutes long. The Dark Tower falls into a strange place where it's a little too dense and unfocused for the general audience, but it's not nearly as in-depth or fleshed-out as fans are probably expecting.

Despite the clumsy editing and slightly scatterbrained structure, The Dark Tower does have engaging and charismatic performances from its three central characters. It's filled with many clever references to other Stephen King works as well.

The Dark Tower may polarize fans of the books but for casual moviegoers, it's a serviceable summer flick. This is a film that was plagued with production issues for many years before finally making it to the big screen, and the final product is proof of that. It's entertaining for the most part, but I doubt it's the start of a film series that King fans were hoping for.I give The Dark Tower a C+.