The long awaited big screen adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most well-regarded novel series, with a cast comprised of two likable superstars in a cool sci-fi world with superpowers, equals a recipe for a tasty little morsel of a movie. So why then did The Dark Tower feel so cheap and nasty? I shall try to address this in my summary of one of 2017’s biggest let downs – especially if you’re a fan of the books.
I, however, am not. I came fresh into this, and to be honest it started off great, the pacing was on point, the leading actor; newcomer Tom Taylor was doing a great job carrying the beginning act introducing us to what is a very complicated and convoluted universe, but soon finding the more we learnt, the less we knew.
The narrative thread quickly unravels into moments of laughable exposition, inexplicably lazy cliché and then it feels like the film ran out of money, as the climax of the film is unsatisfying and devoid of any substance, which then stumbles its way out of there and hints at a sequel – essentially cinema sinning on almost every level.
60 million for the budget seems high, but for a film with this much hype and content matter that almost necessitates big money. We see shots of exciting and grandiose things about to happen but then it cuts away and we don’t get a sense of the true scale (aka stakes) involved, and I think this is the biggest downfall of the movie, of which there are several.
There is simply too much to cover in a very short time, seven books condensed into whatever Picasso script they ended up with, to allocate time to give nuance and development to each character is either too loose or too complicated and leaves us with the worst feeling of all; that sense of ‘meh’.
We aren’t rewarded for watching, in fact almost the opposite, we get the structural boxes ticked but without any surprises or twists it feels cut and paste, and moments we think are being setup never pay off which itself is mega lazy. And this isn’t even beginning to address some of the epic plot holes this movie leaves…
I’m seeing a lot of debate online about The Dark Tower; the movie itself is marred for lovers of books and cinema by the inconsistencies on each side, sure it’s entertaining but so is watching a dog chase its tail. There comes a point where you lose interest, and whether that is the fault of the writing, an inexperienced director or perhaps the overall product – I can’t be sure Stephen King would be happy with the outcome, so why should we?