The Dark Tower (2017)

The Dark Tower
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writer: Akiva GoldsmanJeff PinknerAnders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
Based on: Stephen King’s series of novels
Cast: Idris ElbaMatthew McConaugheyTom TaylorDennis HaysbertJackie Earle HaleyFran KranzAbbey LeeKatheryn Winnick
Seen on: 16.8.2017

Jake (Tom Taylor) has been having visions. Visions of Roland (Idris Elba) who has been on a quest since about forever, trying to keep the Dark Tower that keeps the universe together from falling. But the Tower is under attack from Walter (Matthew McConaughey) and his henchmen. Jake finally connects with Roland for real, realizing that he has a bigger part to play in Roland’s quest than anyone knew.

The Dark Tower is a catastrophe, but as an adaption of the novels (that I haven’t yet all read) and as a film in its own right. Since I heard nothing good about the film beforehand, my expectations were already low, but the film still limbo danced under them with ease.

In his novels, King has created a sprawling world with its fair share of complications and a lot of history. But must of all, he has created a fascinating character in Roland. The film ruins both the world-building and Roland (as an example, in a cringe-worthy moment, Roland fucking slutshames two young women for flirting with him which is so not the man he should be and is in the novels). I think, if I had seen the film before starting reading, I wouldn’t want to read the novels (anymore).

But even if we disregard the novels this is based on, the film just plain sucks. It’s been a while that I have seen a film that was so badly made, simply on a technical level: the sound design was absent, the editing was atrocious, directing was painful and the acting really bad. Although Elba and McConaughey were perfectly cast for their roles and would have been great, if they had a script to work with.

But with that script, they stood absolutely no chance. It made no sense whatsoever, only hinted at the big stuff without actually explaining anything, making it horrible for people who haven’t read (all) of the books. Instead of building up the mythology of this universe, the script keeps picking out minor details that just float around without being connected to anything. And then in the next minute, it will follow this floating with an infodump of epic proportions. Plus, the film treats the few women it gives the time of day even worse than the novels treat their women – and that’s saying something.

I don’t know what happened here that this film is apparently the best they could do. But I hope that it never happens again – and that The Dark Tower gets another chance to be adapted into the movie(s) I know it could be. Because then it’s going to be epic. Meanwhile, the existence of this version is best forgotten.

Summarizing: Save yourself, forget this film.


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