Fragments of Fantasy: Our Review of ‘The Dark Tower’

Posted in Movies by - August 03, 2017
Fragments of Fantasy: Our Review of ‘The Dark Tower’

Nevermind the books on which it is based, the potential television spinoff and future sequels, nor whatever material was left out after editing; The Dark Tower is a shell of a film, an empty, fragmented piece of fantasy made by committee and without any returns.

Based on a series of novels by Stephen King, and meant to be a sequel to them, The Dark Tower flimsily positions an evil sorcerer (Mathew McConaughey) with uncertain powers up against a gunslinger (Idris Elba), who also has skills that aren’t particularly clear, in a fight to save humanity. Or the universe. The bad guy looks to steal children from various realms or planets because their minds can be used to destroy, somehow, the titular tower at the center of all things that acts as a protector of all good things.

Then, in about 90 minutes or so, things are more or less resolved. A young boy with with powerful visions finds a portal to another world, joins with the gunslinger to battle some monsters, and returns to Earth to find a way to the sorcerer, even though he is on Earth and chasing them down anyway. When the boy gets kidnapped it doesn’t really matter cause he tells the gunslinger telepathically where to go. In fact, nothing matters, nor does it make sense.

Where is the rest of the movie?

That there are no explanations is one thing, but the utter lack of consequences and comprehension of what is happening throughout the story makes not a single moment of the film compelling. The gunslinger gets pierced by a creature which may or may not be poison; but he has supreme dexterity and hearing and aim, so that’s good. When the boy uses his powers, he is tracked by bad guys, but they want to find the bad guys. There is a village with a portal, but apparently it can’t connect to every portal, even though every portal has a number.

Also, both the man and the boy have lost their fathers – they talk about that for about 30 seconds. They also seem to break up briefly in their quest, only to quickly team back together. For a few minutes The Dark Tower is also an awkward buddy film with comedic fish-out-of-water jokes. That doesn’t last long.

Even the monster scenes are dark and incoherent. Not unlike The Mummy this year, The Dark Tower is a clear attempt to start something big and wide-ranging across media in the coming years, and like that earlier summer disappointment, this one suffers because no one seemed to care to make one good movie. There exists no terror or fun, and certainly no sense. At least it’s over quickly.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.