The Dark Tower

Choppy Mess


04 August 2017| No Comments on The Dark Tower     by Sean Chavel


If you have never read the Stephen King multi-volume tomb and you wanted to know if the movie gives you a taste of what that would be like, you’re bound to feel big chunks of characterization and sense of place have been left out. The King stories of the Gunslinger and The Man in Black that make up The Dark Tower movie bolstered infinite creative language, yet the movie is without impressive language and the rules of good and evil powers are lacking and even poorly defined.

Children are held captive at a detention center in a far off place so their brainwaves can be tapped by the evil sorcerer Walter (Matthew McConaughey, who at best has mastered smarmy arrogance here). Walter’s goal is to overthrow the Tower, which protects the good in the universe, so monsters can be unleashed post-armageddon. Thus, he can rule. Walter learns later on the boy with the most power is Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), residing in New York City. Having the boy trying to save the universe takes center stage as the protagonist here, while he was a secondary character in the books. Anyway, Jake hurriedly enters a portal to take him to the “other side” where he can teams up the gruff and tireless Roland the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) so together they can fight against demons.

As someone who has always believed in King’s works as a minefield for compelling movie adaptations, I looked forward to “The Dark Tower” with an open heart. I was intrigued despite some early missteps, as the flaws just stood out. Then I was just bored. “The Dark Tower” has a few B-movie moments that pop, with a wild physics-defying shoot-out that rivals the pizazz of “The Matrix” in a robust way. But most scenes casually are lopped off and often end bluntly to dissatisfaction. Director Nikolaj Arcel simply tries to bounce around too many disparate elements, fulfilling nothing, as he deals with a truncated running time of 95 minutes. The King books originally stretched 3,000 pages. The movie, reducing character first and then everything else, is inevitably a choppy mess.

95 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “Time Bandits” (1981); “Dune” (1984); “Warlock” (1991); “The City of Lost Children” (1995, France).

Dark Tower_Poster_ FlickMinute

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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