There used to be a time when turning a Stephen King novel into a movie inevitably seemed to lead to a very crappy movie. Sure, there were exceptions. But for every Carrie or The Shining, we were also ‘treated’ to Maximum Overdrive and – oh the horror - Sleepwalkers. However, the last couple of adaptations I have seen were pretty badass (11.22.63, the recent remake of It,…). So just when I started to think the curse had been broken, director Nikolaj Arcel went ahead and made The Dark Tower.
I know, I know… it can’t have been an easy task to reduce eight books and a series of comics into a single movie. But maybe they should have thought about that beforehand. Or maybe they should have tried harder. Or maybe they should have turned it into a tv series where they didn’t have to try and capture thousands of pages’ worth of storylines and dialogue into a mere 95 minutes.
Anyway, The Dark Tower centers on Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), a teenager with psychic powers that apparently have to make up for his lack of personality. He somehow becomes the epicenter of a battle for the fate of Earth between the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) and the Man in Black, Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), who wants to topple the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together.
The movie is especially hard on McConaughey, who has spent the last ten years shedding his romcom past by taking on some of the most interesting and daring roles around, and is reduced here to playing a cliché-riddled villain with a bad haircut who pops up everywhere ordering people to ‘stop breathing’.
If all that makes you go ‘no thank you,’ then I can’t blame you. And you wouldn’t miss much except for a couple of kinda cool visuals. If there is anything else to be missed, I’m afraid I didn’t notice. Probably too distracted by all the shootouts and the hopping between worlds through portals along with a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make sense. Honestly, I haven’t cared less about a tower since Lord of the Rings.
Turns out the Man in Black didn’t need Jake to topple the dark tower. All he needed was a script by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner and Anders Thomas Jensen and a movie plagued by reported reshoots and test screening edits.