The Dark Tower Film just released nationwide, is an American science fantasy western directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel and based of the Stephen King series of novel of the same name. Although the film garnered widespread anticipation of its release, early reviews for the film were quite dismal. That being said, like MANY films before it, reviewed and highly criticized, The Dark Tower Film we ended up getting wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad either. Here’s why.
First, for those who know nothing about The Dark Tower, here is the official trailer:
Instead of PROS and CONS…we’ll do this a bit different and go CONS then PROS! also, if you haven’t seen the film there will be SPOILERS ahead, so stop now if you haven’t seen the Dark Tower film.
There are a lot of gripes viewers of the Dark Tower film will have beyond the few I list here. Full disclaimer, I have only read the first book in the series, whereas many who viewed the film early, had the pleasure of having read all the books in the series. Obviously their criticisms will be vastly different than mine.
The film was way too short. This may very well be a common theme in the list of criticisms of the film. I knew going into the film that it seemed way short and after having watched it, you could definitely feel that things were somewhat rushed through. After just having read the first book, which takes place largely in the desert (briefly touched on in the film), I knew right away that there was much more that could have been told.
Not sure why the movie makers felt they had to shorten the story? I don’t know what other factors played into this, but it did cut down the time the film could have used to better flesh out the story and the…MY NEXT POINT…the character!
No Character Development
Related to my above point, because the Dark Tower film was so short, it lacked some serious character development. I attended the film with my wife, who had zero knowledge of the story. I had the benefit of having read the first book and hence was familiar with the main characters in the movie – namely Jake, Roland and the Man in Black, Walter. I have been told that there are other key players in the story, but they were not represented in the movie, to the best of my knowledge.
Because the film was so short, the audience was essentially thrown into, what seemed like the middle of the movie. It was almost as if we had walked into the theater late, halfway through the film. Things were just moving and we, the audience had to play catch up trying to piece together what the fuck was going on.
There was so much backstory the audience misses out on the Gunslinger and the Man in the Black that the characters seem shallow and hence you don’t vest much in them, despite STELLAR performances by Idris Elba (The Gunslinger) and Matthew McConaughey (The Man in Black).
More time in the film could have given more time to the writers to add a little to the depth of these characters.
You couldn’t have picked a stronger pair to duke it out than Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. If there was any saving grace to the Dark Tower film, it was these two. Without their performances, the film would have truly been lost.
Matthew plays a great baddie and Idris as a dead-shot gunslinger, kicking up fond memories of old west gunslingers fit their roles almost too perfectly.
Matthew McConaughey was as smooth as always, which played well into the over confident Man in Black, and Idris, the determined and vengeful Gunslinger, hell bent on taking down the Man in Black really had you believing nothing of this earth would be able to deter him from his mission.
Action? Two Thumbs Up
I’m not going to lie, we see A LOT of the action in the trailers, but there are a few surprises here and there that were reserved for the film. All in all adding up to some tremendously cool gun fights between the Gunslinger and the minions of the Man in Black.
The climax scene between Idris and Matthew was good, but again, felt rushed and too short, given what we had already been through in the film.
The film did not receive a fair shake from the early critic reviews, but I can’t blame them. This film was highly anticipated and had so much potential given the copious amounts of source material from the books. That being said, however, for those who HAVE NOT read the books, I think they will still be entertained. For those that have read the books, they will mostly likely be disappointed and not be satisfied. However, like most films, if you go in with the right expectations, I think you can find enough good in MOST films to override the bad in them.