Film Review: THE DARK TOWER (USA 2017) ***

the dark tower.jpgThe 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.

Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writers: Akiva Goldsman (screenplay), Jeff Pinkner (screenplay)
Stars: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor

Review by Gilbert Seah

 The film’s story from ‘imdb’ goes this way: 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.

The film has been reported to have gone through $6 million in reshoots and production troubles. Though based on 8 volumes of a series by author Stephen king, the story sounds absolutely terrible. But surprisingly the film is not all that bad.

The main difference is the introduction of Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), an 11-year-old adventure seeker who discovers clues about another dimension called Mid-World. The story now become more credible, because the audience can identify with a human being or a boy at that. No one believes him, least of all his mother and her new husband who have arranged for him to attend a psychological retreat. His dreams on being chased by ‘skin’ people’ are realized when the skin people (recognized by him) show up at his home to take him to the retreat, This results in an exciting chase on the rooftops. Upon following the mystery, he is spirited away to Mid-World where he encounters a Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who is on a quest to reach the “Dark Tower” that resides in End-World and reach the nexus point between time and space that he hopes will save all existence from extinction. But with various monsters and a vicious sorcerer named Walter o’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), the Man in Black hot on their trail, the unlikely duo find that their quest may be difficult to complete.

The film deserves to be commended for its continuity. When Jake throws his shoe through the portal as a test, his shoe is shown after he enters it. He is also shown in need for water and food after entering the new land.

McConaughey makes a creepy and evil enough villain without having to overdo it. While Elba seems wooden in his role, it is sort of expected for a gunslinger not to emit any emotions. Taylor as the kid is an excellent find (though his British accent is detectable in some parts), putting the much needed human feeling into the film.

The film is noticeable violent down to details like chards of glass pulled out from a hand and realities like the death of close ones. The special effects are primarily used for the action sequences though the film’s most interesting parts are the parts on earth involving Jake in school and at home.

The film successfully combines several genres like horror, sci-fi, western and fantasy.

The ultimate question is how well the film does at the box-office as THE DARK TOWER is expected to be one of many films to come. At a production cost of $60 million, which is modest in comparison to futuristic films, THE DARK TOWER should at least make a decent profit.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjwfqXTebIY

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