“The Dark Tower” is directed by Nikolaj Arcel and stars Tom Taylor, Idris Elba, and Matthew McConaughey. The film is based on a series of novels by Stephen King and is about a kid named Jake who has visions of another world that threatens to destroy Earth, and these visions lead to him traveling to this world in order to save the people of both worlds.
This is a film that I was pretty excited for, as I am a huge fan of both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and the trailer promised a unique sci-fi action film. I was worried that this movie would depend too heavily on its incredibly popular source material, a book that I’ve never read, but I still came in hoping for an entertaining time.
The performances are definitely the highlights of this film, as all three of the main cast members really shined through. Idris Elba is as solid as ever in this movie, as he just has a presence that is hard to match, and he really shines in every scene he is in. Matthew McConaughey is also great in a rare villainous role for him, as he is able to maintain his likeability, but while also bringing a very evil charisma that makes him both menacing and charming, almost like a Loki in the “Thor” films. Tom Taylor is the lead boy, Jake, here, and while I thought he would definitely be outshined by his co-stars, he is able to have a really solid performance between these two A-listers, and I thought he really brought a lot to his role, especially in the beginning of the movie.
The action sequences are pretty well done, for the most part, and I found many of the moments of action to be very exciting, especially because of Idris Elba. The Gunslinger is such a cool character in theory, and Elba just adds to that even more, and seeing this guy just go to work is absolutely exhilarating, and I found the action was perfectly able to keep up the overall entertainment value of the movie.
The Gunslinger isn’t the only character stealing scenes, as McConaughey’s character, the Man in Black, is often on his own to make moments of the movie interesting, and he is really able to bring excitement to relatively plain moments. The Man in Black has a lot of cool abilities that are pretty well explored by this movie, and McConaughey’s performance highlights them beautifully.
As entertaining as this movie can be, it often feels incredibly rushed. This film clocks in at a quick 95 minutes, and while that makes the movie feel as if it’s constantly moving and never dull, it also feels as if there are a lot of things that director Nikolaj Arcel missed out on expanding on. This is most clear with the world building, as the audience doesn’t get to find out all that much about this other world, which seems like quite a shame considering that when I did learn things, they seemed quite original.
Once again going with the lack of runtime, aside from the three leads, no other characters are developed really at all, and it makes for a film that doesn’t have the extreme stakes that it wants to believe it does. There are these supposed monsters that are supposed to be a major threat, but we almost never see them, and while the film is called “The Dark Tower,” the whole concept of this gigantic tower is almost completely left up to the imagination. I feel if these books, that I know nothing about, mind you, were adapted into a couple of 2-hour movies or even a show on HBO, then these awesome concepts could be more fully realized. Instead, this hour and a half movie is entertaining, but not as new and bold as it could have been.
“The Dark Tower” probably won’t please fans of its source material, but for me, it was well acted enough and entertaining enough to get the job done. Sure, there could have been a significant amount of world building that was simply lacking, but for what I did get, I was pleased by the action sequences, the visual effects, and the performances, especially by Elba and McConaughey. “The Dark Tower” is certainly not a home run, but it was just fun enough and just well-made enough to please me.
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