Reel Quick: The Dark Tower

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The Dark Tower (2017)

darktower_harlan

Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConagley, Tom Taylor, Katheryn Winnick, Abbey Lee, Fran Kranz, President Palmer, Jackie Earl Haley for some reason

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair; Truth About Men; Island of Lost Souls [I’ve never heard of any of these, either])

Synopsis: Crazy boy Jake travels to strange world and goes on very short adventure with gunslinger man to kill wizard man who wears dark clothing.

What works: 

  • IF you’re a big Stephen King fan, which I am, this movie has enough Easter eggs to fill all the heads on Easter Island with Easter eggs with enough left over for all the giant turtles to eat Easter eggs for the rest of their lives.
  • They were seemingly trying really hard to make you feel like this movie is the hub of the Stephen King movie universe. Although Jake has psychic abilities in the books, they’re never referred as the “shine,” as in The Shining. And I actually thought that made things more interesting.
  • Idris Elba is great, and absolutely carries the film. And for all the seeming uproar his casting caused due to his imaginary inaccurate skin color, he made it not matter (the only hangup I had was Roland’s perfectly groomed hair and beard).
  • While the runtime was too short, we saw this at 10  p.m. on a Friday, so I didn’t have a chance to doze off, which was nice. 

What fails: 

  • This felt less like a movie and more like a pilot episode (which it should have been). For a property with an unbelievably vast amount of ground to cover, it is stunningly short, and is really over before it even gets going. Roland, Jake, and Walter are the only characters who get more than a moment’s worth of screen time. For example, Jackie Earl Haley, while not a huge star, is recognizable enough to make you think he’s going to have some kind of role, but he basically licks a bullet, then takes a bullet. That happens to essentially everyone. I remember following the production of this picture, and when Abbey Lee was cast people thought she might be playing Susan Delgado or even a white Susannah, but she ended up playing Tirana, who basically did nothing.
  • This is kind of the same point but separate. For all I liked about bringing in the King universe, there was a blue minivan-load of shoehorning. Tirana in the books is a small role (she’s the can-toi who knocks the Skoldpadda out of Father Callahan’s hand at the Dixie Pig) and in the movie she’s just entirely different. Still a can-toi, but just not the same character whatsoever. That goes double for Pimli, played by Fran Kranz. Pimli in the books is warden of the Devar-Toi, and does something very crucial that affects everything, not to give it away. In the movie, he’s a lackey who is pretty much Walter’s computer nerd. 
  • For a movie this short with a plot that’s a little hard to follow, especially if you go into it cold, the action scenes should have been great, but while there are some cool moments, they don’t stand out like they should.

Overall: While it is great that The Dark Tower finally got made, it just wasn’t right. It’s fine, and presents some fun fan service, but it’s just kind of there. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, it’s just confusing. They were saying before the movie came out that it was essentially a sequel to the books, following the ending of the final book, but watching it that really doesn’t seem to be the case. It may very well be, but that’s not addressed whatsoever. And if it is, why would so many of the characters be so different? Apparently they’re still moving forward with a TV series, based on Wizard and Glass, but with a pretty poor box office showing this weekend, who knows if that will actually come to fruition. The producers are saying that it will, and that it will all still be one huge TV and movie wonderland, but I have a bad feeling that they’re going to let it drop off a bridge. Just the fact that this movie came out and ends on a setup cliffhanger but there’s nothing really solid to be set up for is sketchy. But I hope it does, because it could be great, and may it shoot for many long days and pleasant nights.

Score: 6.5 Father Faces Forgotten (out of 10)

 

11 thoughts on “Reel Quick: The Dark Tower

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