By Jose Jara
THE DARK TOWER
TWO GREAT ACTORS ELEVATE STEPHEN KING’S NOVEL FROM A C+ MOVIE TO B-
By: DANIEL GUZMAN
Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star in this Stephen King adaption about a battle between good and evil. Elba plays the role of Roland the last Gunslinger who is known to be a protector of the Dark Tower, a building structure that shields dark outside forces from coming in and destroying Earth and other inhabited worlds. McConaughey is cast as the villain know as the Man in Black. The protagonist of the film is actor Tom Taylor who plays the young Jake Chambers, a boy with unbeknown powerful psychic energy who is having nightmares of the doom that is to come. Young Jake has developed a habit of drawing out these prophetic dreams, causing his mother to believe Jake is having a mental breakdown possibly due to the recent loss of his father. Jake’s drawings lead him to finding a portal into the world where the Dark Tower, the Last Gunslinger, and the Man in Black are fighting against each other in this soon to be apocalypse.
First off, I have never read Stephen King’s Dark Tower, so I had no expectations for this movie to disappoint me on. What drew me to watch Dark Tower in theater was my curiosity to see what was it about this movie that pulled in 2 high caliber actors like Elba & McConaughey towards it. Other than the Gunslinger’s oath, “I do not aim with my hand, he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father….” the script, co-written by Director Nikolaj Arcel, isn’t anything groundbreaking or profound in any word. For those who are Stephen King novel fans, I recently read an article before writing this that informed me that the film does have 2 big changes that don’t follow suit to Stephen King’s book. Director Arcel is known to be a fan of the book and as co-writer felt this direction was best, but I’m sure Stephen King readers might end up disagreeing.
The action scenes where Elba’s character, the Gunslinger, gets to flex his index fingers for some gun powder action were just okay, but John Wick had better shoot’em up scenes. McConaughey’s character, the Man in Black, was fun to watch and see him portray a villainous role with supernatural powers. The backdrop of the world in which the Man in Black and the Gunslinger hang there hats on is a barren waste land of gravel and rock that makes Hunger Games’ colorless District 12 look like the Garden of Eden. Most of the scenes that really give this short 95 minute film some life actually take place on Earth.
What the Dark Tower did achieve well in was its casting. Tom Taylor does an admirable job acting along side these two towering actors and didn’t feel like a character that you have to just tolerate. Elba and Taylor have some genuine scenes that come off very natural and at times even comical. All three characters do their best to bring a mediocre script to life. Every other supporting character in this film wasn’t given much to work with. They mostly feel like characters in the background, you know they are there, but they end up staying in your short term memory, in one minute and forgotten the next. Such is the case for my fictional favorite president, actor Dennis Haysbert, who plays Elba’s father in the movie.
I have to say I enjoyed seeing Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey act against each other, and that was alright, alright, alright. The film will feel a bit amateurish in its action sequences, writing and cinematography, but I’ve seen worse Stephen King adaptations come off a lot cheesier due to the level of acting involved. My final verdict whether or not you should see this movie will begin with my oath as a movie critic: I rated this movie watchable not with my head, those who review with their heads, forgot the face of enjoying something just for fun. I rate with my eye. I will not shoot this film down with the stroke of my fingers on the keyboard. He who shoots down a film so quickly has forgotten to just enjoy the fun wherever you find it in the movie. I will not shoot down a movie if it had something enjoyable that my mind was amused by. I review with my heart.