Oh boy, it’s finally that time. In four days, this guy will be moving into a dorm and will be earning his BA in the next three years. To be clear, I have been in PSEO courses for the past two years (earning college credits in high school in order to skip the obligatory general courses required for a degree). I commuted from home and had much more time to watch/review movies. Since this is my first semester for real, there will be fewer posts. This is due to a combination of: getting used to the new schedule and setting, not having my car (it would be a hassle to take it with me), and the lack of a job. I’m not broke, and the school has a bus so there will be a few reviews here and there. When in doubt, check my “About” section for the most updated version of my schedule.
You may have noticed that the website has not changed, though I said there were a few things I wanted to change in the last update. Well, a lot of it has to do with the fact that this website costs me nothing. I would have to pay a monthly fee to have complete control over design and presentation; but since I don’t have a job, and do not get paid for these reviews, it will stay this way for a while. Sorry (unless of course you don’t mind how it currently is). Now let’s get to the main attraction.
The Dark Tower is the newest entry into the “disappointing Stephen King adaptation” genre (along with The Shining Mini-Series, Dreamcatcher, Maximum Overdrive, Thinner, Lawnmower Man, and The Langoliers). Of course Mr. King’s legacy has brought us some of cinema’s most famous stories like: Shawshank Redemption, Misery, Stand by Me, Carrie, and Kubrick’s The Shining. Considering that he’s published over 250 novels, short stories, etcetera, Hollywood will squeeze every last penny out of his bestsellers. Today, we have The Dark Tower, a film so standard, so lazily-executed, you’ll forget it 1 hour after leaving the theater!
The main problem with The Dark Tower is the utter lack of detail. You know how Peter Jackson made Lord of the Rings (the story that was supposedly impossible to adapt) into movies? It was not by pure luck that the end result was near-perfect. The books told of fantastic battles, memorable characters, and one heck of a universe! The Dark Tower shares many of these traits: multiple books, loyal fanbases, both stories are fantasy epics, and their film adaptations were both highly anticipated. Only difference is that you could see the effort and love behind every scene in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Dark Tower felt like it was written by a Sony computer, shot by a hummingbird, edited by a cocaine addict, and directed by a coffee table. This is an enormous shame because the marketing was great. The two leads looked cool and the action sequences promised some stunning visuals. In reality, the characters are blander than bread, the PG-13 rating ensures that all the potentially awesome violence is gone, and the story is a compilation of fantasy movie clichés rather than an original story.
Despite the short runtime, the pacing is boringly slow and there are more “talking head” scenes than you would ever want in a Stephen King adaptation. When the action does show up, it’s only slightly less generic than Power Rangers (2017). The aforementioned neutered rating prevents any real impact, the camera does whatever it wants, and the actors, much like the audience, look uninvested. The story is even worse. Most of the narrative is a mishmash of King tropes, and all the interesting stuff is not explained. Who built this tower? Why are there so few people protecting it? What is the backstory (and motivation for that matter) of our antagonist? Where do these alternate beings come from? None of these vital questions are answered very well, if at all. The best we get are a handful of references to much better King adaptations in one pathetic attempt at fan service. For all of you who subscribed to the “Stephen King universe” thing, I didn’t see any overarching plot that connected to any other one of King’s works. Granted, I haven’t read The Dark Tower novels so the connection could be in the books, but it’s certainly not in this bare bones flick. The only mildly entertaining things about the film are a few cool slow motion moments and Matthew McConaughey (who you could tell was enjoying every second of screentime). Unfortunately, that only goes so far, especially when the climax, the final battle between Idris Elba and McConaughey, is the definition of “all buildup, no payoff.” This confrontation was almost as bad as Batman vs. Superman… almost.
Bottom line, The Dark Tower is a thoroughly skippable waste of time and money. Quite a shame too, because many potential fans were likely turned off from King’s (supposedly) great magnum opus epic. As for me, I’m much more apprehensive about the new It film. The Dark Tower gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.
Thanks for understanding my transition into college life; I’ll get back to reviews once everything is sorted out.