One need not have to give an introduction to Stephen King or the works he creates for our literary world. His books have created a major following and even a new writing style to upcoming authors; thanks to his works many film adaptations have spawned from them, some being major critical successes, others being a miss and some just raising the question as to why it was even created in the first place. Well, The Dark Tower falls into the latter.
The Dark Tower stars Idris Elba as the film’s primary protagonist Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger from Mid World, who is on a quest to protect The Dark Tower, a powerful structure that supports and acts as a center point to all realities in the universe. His nemesis, The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) is set on destroying The Dark Tower in an attempt to unleash monsters on all realities that is connected to The Dark Tower. Supporting Roland’s quest is Jake (Tom Taylor), who is recruited by Roland after Jake continues to have visions of both the last Gunslinger and The Man in Black.
I have some major criticisms about this film. I am an avid reader of Stephen King and love the material he produces, particularly The Dark Tower series, which is a series of eight books. My major complaint about this film is that it takes certain points of the earlier novels and incorporates them into the film; and more importantly (or annoyingly if you’re an avid King reader like I am), the film actually is a sequel to the book series. So here we have decades worth of material that King has created that is just picked apart or just bypassed all together and jammed into this 95-minute film that introduces us to these major characters with little to no time for the audience to get to know them, understand them and their backstories.
It’s like a gut punch to fans of the novel series because The Dark Tower novels are packed to the brim with diverse, rich characters and story; the series could quite possibly be one of King’s most triumphant and well written novel series of his career. However it is cut down by this film that jumps the novels entirely.
We have major actors such as Elba and McConaughey helming the film in an attempt to propel it and sell it to the audiences due to their stardom, however their superb acting and these titan-like characters they portray are bogged down by a horrible, almost lifeless story plot (that spans over eight books mind you). Roland and Jake’s bond (which is central to books) is seemingly ruined; the story that is developed around them is cut down to pieces to make room for the jam packed action and rough dialogue, which is the only saving grace here in the film, but barely. How King allowed this to happen, is beyond me.
If you’re a fan of Stehpen King and of The Dark Tower novel series, you will be thoroughly disappointed to the point where you might just actually walk out of the theater. If you haven’t read the series, well then you’re coming to an action packed film you might like or dislike; it’s a 50/50 toss up. After watching this, I am very concerned with how the new IT film will fair; hopefully it will be better than The Dark Tower.
Stick to the novels people; they’re always better. The Dark Tower is out now in theaters.