Friday, August 4, 2017

The Dark Tower Review: Loose Adaption Makes For An Entertaining Adventure

It is hard not to know the name Stephen King. For years the decorated novelist has published a number of books with many of King's stories leaving an impact on pop culture. A cased point of this influence is none other than the Stephen King novels adapted to film. Many of King's tales have one way or another become cinematic features; such as Christine, Pet Cemetery, The Green Mile, The Myst and It. Despite the numerous adaptations one has yet make a debut on the big screen and that would be The Dark Tower. Considered to be King's Magnum Opus, The Dark Tower has spent many a year in development hell going through a handful of productions. Now at long last the dark fantasy finally makes its way to silver screen with the new summer blockbuster simply know as The Dark Tower. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel The Dark Tower is more as a continuation to the series oppose to being just an authentic adaptation. With the hope of making this into a new film franchise (as well as getting a TV series) there is much riding on this new blockbuster. So does The Dark Tower bring the grim fantasy to the movies or does this blockbuster remain lost in the realm of obscurity.

The Dark Tower centers on Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor): a young boy who dreams of another world, a man in black and a gunslinger. While everyone thinks he is just imagining things, Jake's vision are in fact real as he inadvertently travels a world known as Mid World. Arriving in this new dimension Jake meets Roland Deschain (Idris Elba):  the famed gunslinger that Jake has had visions about. Roland wanders Mid World in order to find Man in Black Walter (Matthew McConaughey) and get his revenge on the sorcerer. Despite the gunslinger's reluctance Roland and Jake travel through Mid World to find Walter and end the sorcerer's tyranny, but this mission is easier said than done as Walter seeks to use Jake's abilities so he can destroy the Dark Tower and release the darkness that will wipe out all of existence.

In the case of this Film Adventurer my knowledge on the Dark Tower series is quite limited; so I was not sure just how much The Dark Tower's plot reflected its source. Yet regardless of accuracy I can say that the plot to this fantasy film was tolerable. The themes behind the plot were compelling as it added compelling aspects to the movie's sense of adventure.Take the movie's two world trope for example. Normally this concept can be daunting but the movie's use of this element was surprisingly well done as it made both worlds feel important to the plot itself.  The only major issue with the plot was that its delivery felt rushed. While the fast pace narrative made for a exciting adventure  it made the story move a little move too quickly which prevented certain moments and aspects from truly flourishing. The story's pacing also gave little time to get into the world of The Dark Tower-which is a shame because what the film presented made me want to see more.

When it came to the cast this movie relied heavily on its lead characters. Idris Elba made for solid lead as the gunslinger Roland. Elba's performance helped to establish Rowland as a tough hero who has seen his fair share of adventure all the while coming off as tired of his never ending quest. Alongside Elba was Tom Taylor as Jake. Despite not having the presence of his peers Jake was still an enjoyable character and had decent chemistry with Elba's Roland-although this duo needed more development to really be a formidable pair. Then there was Matthew McConaughey as the villainous Walter. Although the character needed more progression this was not to say that Walter was not a standout villain. In fact this sorcerer was as threatening as he was charismatic which was thanks to the subtle and engaging performance of Matthew McConaughey. Adding to Walter's presence was his scenes with Roland. Although the two had a few scenes together the energy between Elba and McConaughey was appropriate as they felt like two rivals who have spent years fighting one another. The cast also featured the likes of Kathryn Winnick(Laurie Chambers) and Jackie Earl Haley(Sayre), but the supporting cast had a minor presence in the film; but this is not to say that they did not serve their purpose to The Dark Tower's presentation.

In the matter of technical elements The Dark Tower was simple but effective. The effects could be inventive while the cinematography was gritty, and together both aspects helped to create the compelling realm that was Mid World; not to mention emphasize on the movie's tone. The film's action was efficient as it had several creative moments-although I wish the movie spent more time on the action packed sequences so that each scene could really flourish. Rounding things out for the movie was its score by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL) which came off as tense and adventurous; and that seemed to be the perfect sound for The Dark Tower.

When it comes down to it, it seems that The Dark Tower's objective was to introduce moviegoers to this new worlds, and if that was the case then the movie did succeed; but not graciously mind you. Because of its rushed execution The Dark Tower did falter from being a standout film. However the movie managed to make up for its faults thanks to its captivating elements, leads, tone and sense of adventure. Perhaps The Dark Tower is not the breakout film of the season (let alone year), but for it was this summer blockbuster managed to be an entertaining experience that certainly has the potential to be something greater.

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