The Dark Tower: Film Review
Cast: Tom Taylor, Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Stuck in the Hollywood machine since 2007, Stephen King's The Dark Tower seems destined to be grounded as a series based on this cinematic adaptation.
Following Jake (Tom Taylor), a kid troubled by visions of a gunslinger and a man in black following him, and plagued by apocalyptic turns of a tower being destroyed by a beam of light, The Dark Tower sees Jake thrust into the age old fight of good vs evil.
Managing to stumble his way through a portal, Jake teams up with the gunslinger (played with melancholy and rumbling voice by Idris Elba) as the Man in Black, Walter O'Dim (an almost pantomime like Matthew McConaughey) edges ever closer to tracking him down.
Believing Jake to be the mystical element to help break down the Tower and destroy the world, thanks to the purity of his Shine (a nod to previous telepathy), Walter begins an almost Terminator-like quest to track him down.
After a truly epic and visually startling opening that wrongfoots any audience watching, The Dark Tower settles for a CGI-heavy fantasy movie that lacks any kind of emotional heft or feel of consequence as it carries on its adventure.
Leaving the CGI to muddle the waters, and yet somehow still managing to fudge any kind of emotional links between any of the characters, the clearly-written-for-the-page dialogue becomes almost laughable in its portentous po-faced nature.
With voiceover and dour execution, The Dark Tower is nothing short of generic, yet somehow muddled.
McConaughey, with spiky hair, goes for slick and menacing, but somehow manages to come across as formulaic bad guy and director Arcel (best known for Alicia Vikander's A Royal Affair) can't really add much to the fantasy genre in his execution.
Elba's passable as the gunslinger, but the lack of any time to develop any kind of relationship with Jake means the film distinctly lacks the feeling of any real stakes.
It wraps up far too neatly too, giving the feeling the whole film is very much a chopped and ripped from the pages kind of affair.
The Dark Tower may be the first of a eight book series, but based on this rote execution, and despite the efforts of Taylor and Elba to make them some kind of world-hopping mismatched buddy duo, it's unlikely to spawn any more.
For which we should all be grateful.