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The Dark Tower

Dark Tower, The (2017) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  95m  •    •  Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel.  •  Starring: Katheryn Winnick, Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Jackie Earle Haley, Abbey Lee, Tom Taylor, Nicholas Hamilton, Claudia Kim, Dennis Haysbert, Fran Kranz, José Zúñiga, Victoria Nowak, Michael Barbieri.  •  Music by: Junkie XL.
       The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

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Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
Image from: Dark Tower, The (2017)
This movie got a lot of unwarranted criticism, in my opinion. There are, as I see it, two problems here: one, critics keep comparing the film to the books; two, the Dark Tower suffers under the weight of its own myth.

Movies are not the same medium as books. What works in a novel often times cannot be translated into a film. That's just something people need to understand. Therefore, going into this thing expecting a facsimile of the Gunslinger makes no sense. Not only do many people find that novel tedious (I don't, but it's a matter of taste), but it does a lot of jumping around in time that wouldn't work so much on screen. I knew the film wasn't an adaptation of any of the novels, but a next chapter. But does the film work if you don't know that? I think it does. This is a film that does a subtle and non-obtrusive bit of world-building that gives a few sweet glimpses of Mid-World and the Prim waiting beyond. The plot isn't the most creative, but that's not a problem. If you were to read the summary 'group of people must set out on quest to stop the world as we know it from ending', you'd get Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings, a bunch of Star Trek movies and episodes etc etc. The main plot doesn't need to be the most creative thing ever to work. It's how it's presented that matters.

So what does the Dark Tower film do with this plot? Pack it in enough fascinating stuff to make it its own thing. The characters are good, the acting is spot on, Roland and Jake have great chemistry (and Roland kills it in his shooting scenes; pun accidental yet unavoidable), Walter is charmingly and gleefully awful (the fact that he has some awareness of the cyclical nature of events is another little detail I found most charming).

True to the universe King has created, this is just another shift in reality that presents basically the same cycle, only re-shuffled (readers of The Drawing of the Three will know what that reference means). We leave Roland's point of view and get Jake's. We see parts of Mid-World we didn't get to enjoy in the novels. The same urgency is there, only re-shuffled. It feels as if the whole thing's been re-shuffled so often, even time is moving on (not just the world). There's a strong feeling of this-has-happened-before (like I already mentioned, Walter even references it), and it's not because the movie is rushed, but because that's the point. They already danced the commala, so to speak, and part of them knows it. At least to me, that was what it felt like.

Then, there is the whole myth problem. The Dark Tower novels are King's magnum opus and pretty popular. They happen to be my favourite books of all time. I've read the series through several times; I own the graphic novels. I truly love those novels. But in this case, the reverence many people have for them works against the film, because after going through the experience that is the series, you have the whole weight of the emotions that reading it caused in your mind. A new, introductory chapter that begins a new cycle will not and cannot meet those expectations. People often forget that the gunslinger is introduced in a short book where he - for the most part - walks through a desert, kills a bunch of stupid villagers, and has flashbacks. The amazement the book series leaves a reader with builds up mostly in the following volumes. That's not to say the Gunslinger isn't great; it's great, but it's an introduction that's a gateway to the wonders that lie on the Path of the Beam, on the road to the Tower. The movie, to me, is the same. It introduces. It engages. It opens a gateway - a portal, if you will.

In conclusion: this film looks cool, has great acting, fun action, and allows interesting glimpses into King's amazing mythology.


Review by thenecroposter from the Internet Movie Database.

 

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