I must start with a disclaimer here that I haven’t read Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”, so I can’t comment on the movie’s truancy to the book. I have however seen the movie, so herein lies the review for it.
The Man in Black aka Walter Padick (Matthew McConaughey), who has a long-standing conflict with gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) is slowly but surely bringing down the Dark Tower in order to bring darkness and chaos to the universe by letting all kinds of monsters in. The Tower can only be destroyed via the minds of psychic children, so Walter and his horde of skin people (weirdos wearing the faces of humans) set out to capture the chosen kids from around the world (otherwise known as the …world) to harvest their brains for ultimate destruction.
Jack Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a normal kid living in New York City with his mother and asshole step father, and has a lot of in depth dreams about the Tower, the Man in Black and gunslingers, leading to some frankly quite creepy drawings. Naturally everyone thinks he’s crazy, and plan on sending him over to the crazy house, which they diplomatically tell Jack is called a ‘facility’, but the plans go awry, however, when Walter’s skin people show up to take him away, and Jack thwarts their plan by legging it.
We learn that Roland’s father (played by Dennis Haysbert) was killed by Walter, making their conflict even more personal. After Roland and Jack meet, they team up with the ultimate quest to bring down Walter and his team of creepy skin people to save the universe. To shed a bit more light on Jack’s involvement: he’s got some kind of power they call “the shine”, which is essentially psychic powers, that the Man in Black believes will instantly destroy the Dark Tower. Walter has an array of powers that includes being able to command people to “be quiet”, or more morbidly “stop breathing”, bringing a sudden end to their life, and ulitmately struggles when Roland is able to fight off these powers and largely seems unaffected.
The main issue with “The Dark Tower” is it feels quite rushed. Significant characters are killed, and everyone just kinda moves on. At times I’m not even sure who’s actually dead or not. Director Nikolaj Arcel seems more concerned with bringing cool effects to the screen than getting to know the characters in any kind of depth. In saying that, visually the film kicks goals, and it is well done. Not by any means outstanding and revolutionary, but enjoyable and impressive nonetheless.
The acting is the real standout here, with the always reliable McConaughey and the absolute charm of Elba, who is nothing but suave and cool the whole movie. Taylor is also a quality addition to the flick, which could have totally fallen by the wayside if it weren’t for its solid support system in the cast.
From what I’ve heard, people that have read the book are unimpressed. However, going in with virgin-eyes, the film is an entertaining 90 minutes, just fails in that it doesn’t get into the guts of anything. The “IT” easter egg was a good one, though.