Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Dark Tower

I have read all eight books in Stephen King's Dark Tower series and I absolutely love them so, as you can imagine, I have been anticipating the movie adaptation with both excitement and apprehension.  I was so excited when I heard that Idris Elba had been cast as Roland Deschain because, in my opinion, he is the Gunslinger.  But I was also apprehensive because I really wanted this movie to be good.  It is always bad to walk into a screening with such high expectations because they are rarely met and they certainly weren't met in this case.  The Dark Tower is such a disappointment.  I knew going in that it had received appalling reviews and the theater was nearly empty, which is very unusual for a Thursday night preview, so I should have known better.  I still hoped it would be good and I was disappointed.  This film has both too much and too little exposition.  Way too much time is squandered on Earth introducing Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) and describing his visions of the Gunslinger (Elba) and his quest to stop the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together.  Then, when we get to Mid-World, the story becomes incomprehensible.  I had only the vaguest notion of what was going on (and I've read the books so I understand the mythology).  I also was quite bewildered by the cuts back and forth between Mid-World and Earth and the tone in the Earth scenes is inappropriate.  The fish-out-of-water trope is very tedious here.  The books are full of action but the action sequences here are not only few and far between but they are not very good (The only scene that really held my attention was when Roland shoots his way into a portal to Mid-World).  The special effects are pretty shoddy for a summer blockbuster.  The only character that is really explored in depth is Jake and he is played rather blandly by Taylor.  McConaughey is an absolute disaster as the Man in Black, playing him as a caricature of a villain rather than someone to be feared, and we never learn enough about him or the Gunslinger because we don't get enough time with them.  They are supporting players to Jake which is a huge mistake.  The only bright spot in this movie is Elba.  Imagine what he could have done with a decent script and a proper budget for effects.  Ugh.  Definitely give this a miss!

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