The Dark Tower review

Lauren Hansen, Editor-In-Chief

“Dark Tower” proves even with cinematic freedom, movies will never outshine the books.

The newly released “Dark Tower” is a continuation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

The much-anticipated film could be…a waste of time. If someone has read the books, don’t watch it! If they haven’t, then minus some minor confusion, they might enjoy it.

Having never read the series prior to viewing the movie the first time, I held no expectations. While I doubted it would be winning awards, I found it decent.

However, after reading the series, my opinion has plummeted. On a second watch of the film, the once small problems became glaring and unavoidable faults.

The cast couldn’t have been better, but even the greatest actors can’t save a poor plot. Idris Elba as the gunslinger Roland Deschain was the highlight of the film. He played the emotionally hardened loner to a tee. Never did it cross my mind to choose someone else.

Even Walter Padick- the man in black- played by Matthew McConaughey was memorable with his deceptive charms and chilling calm while killing.

These two play off each other through mental manipulation that only hints at their long history of mutual hatred and the constant chase throughout their near immortal lives. Walter’s one reminder reveals it.

“Everyone who walks with you dies.”

The plot, in essence, is simple. By a series of unfortunate events, the protagonist Jake Chambers (Tom Tayler) is dragged into a fight for the dark tower whose destruction is echoing in Jake’s world and forecasts the end of all universes. He must help the gunslinger bring an end to the man in black.

The execution is where the movie falls. There is no precursor to help non-readers understand the current conditions. Furthermore, there are scenes such as in the forest when Jake nearly walks into the arms of a waiting demon or when Roland is given soda which directly correlate to scenes from the books that leave me questioning whether the director, Nikolaj Arcel, had originally intended to adapt the series instead of creating this strange continuation of it.

The 95 minute run time left the story rushed and minor characters (with the exception  of Jake’s mother) feeling inconsequential and unnecessary.

The relationship between Roland and Jake is one of the few aspects making this movie worth watching. The two are a good pair, and the stark opposites in personality make the slow progression from reluctant companion to friend all the better.

I applaud the effects crew. The horde of demons that formed the illusion that captivated Jake reminded me of a pulsing heart and the scorpion-like monster that attacked Roland was also wonderfully horrific. Unfortunately the beam that attacks the tower is nothing more than a bright light. It doesn’t induce the terror it should and a basic crumbling building was reminiscent of crumbling plaster.

Roland’s shooting is the one action sequence I appreciated. Even the final battle between Roland and Walter was rather anti-climactic. For mortal enemies the fight was far too simple and some of the effects looked fake.

While not a generally humorous film there were moments that at least produce a smile.

“Do you have guns in your world?”


“And bullets? Are they as rare there as they are here?

“You’re going to like earth…a lot.”

It had some potential but isn’t something to see in theaters.

I’d give it a 2.5/5.