Ok… So the less you know about Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER, the better. Preferably you haven’t read a damn thing, and the movie will inspire you to discover a series of novels that will forever change how you see the whole of King’s work. Yes, the books are that great. If this is you, you’ll find a short 90 minute film called THE DARK TOWER that has trans-dimensional activity and pseudo-science fiction & fantasy. It has solid performances by actors you’re going to enjoy,but you’re watching something that was not the passionate work of a possessed filmmaker with a dream. This is an adaptation by committee – a film that has been cut bare. With brushstrokes that hint at things so much grander than itself.
For me… I was having a good time with the movie until the final act.
It reminds me of Tim Burton’s BATMAN (1989) – when the great script by Sam Hamm was butchered into something not perfect. Why on earth would you ever kill the Joker? Like CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) – a film I enjoy greatly, but if you’re a fan of Conan’s pulp origins, the notion of killing Thulsa Doom in story one is just fucking bonkers. To settle… what amounts to ETERNAL CONFLICT in a 90 minute tale…. It doesn’t make any fucking bloody sense. Mind you, both of those films had scores so powerful that I greatly enjoyed them – They just happen to be films that stupidly resolved by killing the villain quickly – a resolution I thought we had left in the past. Don’t rush for the thing you must earn. It’s why Cerse is still with us.
You don’t earn a fucking thing. Doing something from Book 7 at the end of what is essentially a hatchet Cliff Notes version of the first 3 novels – that’s what only a lead paint eating super freak would do.
Done right. THE DARK TOWER series would have GAME OF THRONES levels of success… HARRY POTTER levels of success… LORD OF THE RINGS levels of success. Instead, we get a sampler plate of the lessor moments of the first 3 novels and an act from the 7th which feels like they just flat out Roker’d themselves.
And yet… Annette Kellerman and FatherGeek loved it, but even they thought it wasn’t quite a homerun. That the end action felt convenient and too inconsequential.
The score for this film is not helpful, and it should fucking soar.
The best thing that could happen to this “franchise” is for it to die a quick death – then hand it to HBO to do right for like… a fucking decade of entertainment. I’m not going to spend any more time on this, it’s obvious that SONY didn’t either. This isn’t how you start a franchise, this is how you kill one.
And it is a shame. Tom Taylor is a great choice for Jake Chambers, Idris Elba makes a very solid Roland, and Matthew McConaughey is very near to magic as the Man In Black. You crave more time, more adventures, more stories with these three. And yet… They did what they did.
Sure, they’ve announced a TV show, but this film doesn’t launch it – and whatever TV show may happen, would do best to just ignore this film and start at the beginning and adapt the books like they’re sacred ancient texts. The material deserves better, King’s fans deserve better, the world didn’t ask for, nor warranted a 95 minute telling of the Dark Tower. This is a baby pool adaptation.