Sunday, August 27, 2017

Movie Review … The Dark Tower

Movies based on books by Stephen King have often been hit and miss.  For every ‘Carrie’ and ‘Christine’, there have been duds like ‘Sleepwalkers’ and ‘The Lawnmower Man’, with not many falling in between.  Perhaps it’s the lack of imagination on the film-maker’s part rather than King’s as he has written some excellent work.  Derived from his eight book series, ‘The Dark Tower’ blends a myriad of genres in a very bland package.  Predictability has never been one of King’s mainstays with only cinematic forays like these muddying the author’s allure.

Discovering another dimension called Mid-World, young Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) sets on an amazing journey.  Upon entering the new world, he meets mysterious gun-slinging cowboy Roland (Idris Elba) who is on an important mission.  Roland wants to reach The Dark Tower, which is in End-World.  There he must prevent a cataclysm threatening to consume all reality from the denizens of Hell.  Only evil sorcerer Walter aka The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) can stop them.  With obstacles at every turn, Jake and Roland must complete their quest before the universe is destroyed.

Despite the great cast, intriguing characters and arresting action scenes, ‘The Dark Tower’ amounts to very little.  With so much to work from in King’s book franchise, the film version takes the blandest and simplest option.  What has made his stories memorable is his unlimited scope and bravery in crafting complex characters rarely seen in ‘The Dark Tower’.  What’s on offer is interesting, with Roland and Walter really magnetic characters, but their background is so sketchily done that it frustrates one considering what could have been.

‘The Dark Tower’ plays like an expensive pilot to a TV series.  Given there actually is one in the works, this shouldn’t be a shock. What’s shocking is how little effort has gone into creating the truly expansive world King has provided the film-makers.  Whilst the CGI is reasonable, the movie looks cheap with most of the budget seemingly gone into paying the top billed stars.  The direction is adequate although with such a threadbare script to work from the film’s mechanics slowly grind to the ho-hum finale.

It’s disappointing watching a movie throw away the potential gift of King’s original books.  After years of development hell, ‘The Dark Tower’ arrives in cinemas like stale weet-bix whose tasty artifice has long since vanished.  The latest Stephen King movie adaptation goes into the negative side of the ledger with a genuine hit needed to ensure more movie magic from the American king of fantastical horror.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  4

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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