On paper director Nikolaj Arcel’s, “The Dark Tower,” sounds like a recipe for summer blockbuster success. A sci-fi western based on a beloved Stephen King series of novels, starring Idris Elba with Matthew McConaughey as his nemesis, it’s the things box office dreams are made of. Sadly, this dream has turned into a nightmare.
Now before I get into a brief summary, let me clarify for those who have read the “The Dark Tower” book series, the film has been referred to as a “continuation” of the King series. Which is perhaps where the whole thing went wrong.
Fair warning, the general premise is a bit out there. So, if you’re not a fan of sci-fi you might want to turn back now.
I’ll keep this short because frankly it’s a hot mess, and delving into too much detail will only further confuse the point.
Walter Padick, the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), wants to destroy the Dark Tower, which will bring ruin to the world. He does this by abducting children with special powers and forcing them to help weaken the tower.
The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), wants to kill the Man in Black as revenge for killing his father. He teams up with Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), an 11-year-old with special powers, who’s been having visions about the Man in Black…and I think we all know where this is heading.
Believe it or not, the film feels too short, and like it would have benefited from a little more storytelling to explain this unfamiliar world.
The film seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. It’s not sure who its audience is or what genre it wants to be. Considering the film finally landed on its third director after JJ Abrams and Ron Howard dropped out, it’s easy to see how that happened.
Still the film has brief moments of clarity, mostly courtesy of Elba and McConaughey’s performances. But those bright spots are few and far between and just make the state of the rest of the film slightly more painful.
…just for fun: