The Dark Tower Falls Apart Without Any Help From Its Villain – Adapting an epic series of fantasy novels for the big screen is seldom an easy task. When done properly, the results can rival the source material in quality, such as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, or the Harry Potter series. Too often, though, things go awry, leading to attempted franchises that fail to continue after one or two entries. Think The Golden Compass, or A Series of Unfortunate Events. Sadly, The Dark Tower seems destined to be forgotten along with these lesser attempts.
The Dark Tower Falls Apart Without Any Help From Its Villain
Based on the popular series of Stephen King novels, The Dark Tower tells the story of Jake Chambers, a young boy who has been having recurring visions of an apparent apocalypse. In these visions, he sees a Man In Black who wants to destroy the Tower, an act that would destroy the world. He also sees a Gunslinger, the only person who can defeat the Man In Black.
After discovering that a house he has seen in his visions is real, Jake discovers a portal to Mid-World, the land he has seen in his dreams. There, he meets Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the Gunslinger. Roland tells Jake that he must stop Walter (Matthew McConaughey), the Man In Black, from destroying the Dark Tower, or all of creation will be in peril.
This setup feels promising, but unfortunately what follows is almost entirely disappointing. The plot quickly becomes an incoherent mess, with logical leaps and character motivations that make little sense. The world itself is a bizarre mishmash of reality, science fiction, and fantasy, without any of those elements being explored enough to make them feel like parts of a cohesive whole.
The performances are the one high note. Idris Elba exudes confidence and determination as Roland, and given a better script and bigger budget, his performance could have easily been the foundation of a major franchise. McConaughey is not quite on the same level, but he does seem to be having a lot of fun chewing the scenery as the manifestation of evil incarnate.
Unfortunately, these performances aren’t enough to save the film from itself. King’s series consists of seven novels, as well as a number of supplemental works. The film attempts to take elements from all those books and cram them into a single 90-minute movie. The result is that The Dark Tower has indeed been destroyed, just not the way its villain intended.
The Dark Tower characters and cast include:
Jake – Tom Taylor (Doctor Foster, The Last Kingdom, Legends, Taboo)
Walter – Matthew McConaughey (Serenity, Interstellar, Gold, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, Killer Joe, Mud, True Detective, We Are Marshall, The Lincoln Lawyer)
Roland – Idris Elba (Zootopia, Prometheus, Thor, Pacific Rim, Luther, Guerilla, The Office, The Wire, American Gangster)
Steven – Dennis Haysbert (24, The Unit, Heat, Undercover, Backstrom, The Unit, Breach, Absolute Power, Major League)
Soldier – Ben Gavin
Arra – Claudia Kim (Marco Polo, Equals, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2)
Sayre – Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, The Tick, Preacher, RoboCop, Dark Shadows, Shutter Island, Semi-Pro)
Pimli – Franz Kranz (Donnie Darko, Training Day, The Village)
Tirana – Abbey Lee (Gods of Egypt, Mad Max: Fury Road)
Laurie – Katheryn Winnick (Love & Other Drugs, Vikings, Bones, Stand Up Guys, 50 First Dates)