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"The Dark Tower" Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


The Dark Tower is a sequel to Stephen King's best-selling book series and features Roland, the last Gunslinger, on a quest to track down and kill the Man in Black before the Dark Tower is destroyed. Now, there is a ton of information packed into the 8 books so of course I was skeptical when I heard the film would be only an hour and a half long. With it being a sequel, the writers could create their own story, but they forgot one important thing: not everybody's read the books. Where the DCEU has the problem of assuming its viewers are comic readers, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner assume everyone has read Stephen King's Dark Tower books. It feels rushed and doesn't take its time to explain things to the general public. Now, as an avid King reader, I can see where the writers are headed with their "Kingverse", but will the general audience who hasn't read any of the books? It's highly doubtful considering they'll have enough trouble focusing on the film at hand.

In the film, a young boy named Jake Chambers has been having what he assumes are dreams. The dreams show children being tortured and used for experiments and the Man in Black overseeing these experiments. When Jake wakes, he draws what he sees. His mom and stepdad think he's crazy and his shrink assumes Jake's dreams are his mind manifesting symbolism relating to his biological father's death. Only Jake knows the truth and, after almost being captured by MIB followers, he sets out to figure out just what The Dark Tower is and why the Man in Black wants in destroyed so badly.

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I must say, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey dominated their roles. Idris played Roland the Gunslinger and Matthew played the villainous sorcerer Walter AKA The Man in Black. Idris didn't show much emotion but I believe that was the point. He showed exhaustion and desperation, which is something anyone would feel considering his position. Matthew brought true creepiness to his role, making the audience both hate and love him. With Matthew, no matter what role he's playing, there's always something there to love and there's always something there to hate. You knew Walter's actions and his endgame were all despicable but the way he smooth-talked and how he achieved his goals were all so fascinating and sly. You really couldn't help but like him.

Director Nikolaj Arcel made some interesting visual choices, some fantastic and some not so much. How he depicted Roland handling and reloading his gun was fantastic, but the creatures could have been explained and represented a lot better.

In conclusion, this is basically the scenario of if you've read the books then you'll enjoy the film but if you have never read the books then you'll probably hate it. You're almost required to understand what's going on before you even see the film. It honestly wouldn't hurt to read the highlights of each book if you don't plan to read them completely.

I give The Dark Tower 2.5 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper

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