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The Dark Tower: Movie Review

Based on a series of novels by Stephen King, “The Dark Tower” is supposed to be the springboard for a potential film and television franchise.  Although I have never read any of the books, I am fully aware of their massive fan-base and that it has taken nearly a decade to get a film adaptation produced.  Unfortunately, I can’t imagine a single fan of the books being pleased with the 95 minutes of sheer nonsense projected onto the screen. To say “The Dark Tower” is bad is an understatement.  This thing is on the same level of the cinematic adaptations of “R.I.P.D.” and “Jonah Hex”.  However, it is still a couple notches above the last couple “Transformers” films.

The story centers on 11-year-old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a normal-seeming boy who discovers clues about another dimension in his dreams.  Although his parents and classmates think he is troubled, Jake knows that the visions in his dreams are real. After almost being abducted by the two-skinned agents of the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), Jake discovers a portal to the dimension called Mid-World.  Once there, he runs into Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and the two begin a quest to save the Dark Tower from the Man in Black.

“The Dark Tower” novels are an 11 book series in which the film borrows a bit from different volumes in hopes to make a cohesive narrative.  This is why it’s so shocking that the film only runs about an hour and a half.  Something tells me there is a whole lot of shot footage that will be included in a 2.5+ hour extended cut blu-ray.  Everything in the narrative feels rushed and at the same time feels way too dull.  The Man in Black is one of the lamest villains in recent years to just shows up from time-to-time, says a few words, doges a few bullets and vanishes.  McConaughey could have had a little more fun with the role.  Elba is the only one here who comes out of this big-budget turn unscathed. He is one of those actors who is nearly impossible to make look bad.

There are a few nods to classic Stephen King novels in the first act of the film, but of course the studio’s marketing took the fun out of those by leaking them in the promotional materials for the film.   I have absolutely no doubt that “The Dark Tower” will be a massive flop (at least in the US) and it will kill any chances of a franchise. This is a shame because I know that fans of the books have been waiting such a long time for this. At least the King fans have “IT” to look forward to next month.

By: Marc Ferman