- 03 Aug 17
By most accounts The long gestating Stephen King adaption is mess that's uncertain of what it wants to be.
Anyone who knows anything about Stephen King's mammoth book series The Dark Tower would tell you it's near impossible to adapt. The 9 book offering is a dense, detailed odyssey that incorporates multiple genres( Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Western) and has a mythos is as deep as a chasm.
Still near impossible is not impossible but he fact that film adaption has gone through a lengthy, tortuous production process hasn't helped matters with multiple directors attached over the years and persistent rumours of infighting abound.
Eventually we got our adaptation starring Idris Elba as the Gunslinger Roland , trying to save all of existence with the help of 11 year old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) of our world. Matthew McConaughey plays the villainous Man in Black.
The bad news is the reviews so far have not been kind to Nikolaj Arcel's effort with one critic, Kate Erbland of Indiewire to be precise, calling it a "disaster of a film".
Ebland takes issue with the short running time for a film which has source material as hefty as this as this with a "film adaptation that speeds through essential plot points and frantically introduces characters with little in the way of rhythm or care, all in service of a rushed finale that will leave plenty scratching their heads"
Justin Gerber of Consequence of Sound found the action scenes hard to comprehend..or even see:
"There hasn’t been a scene this unintentionally impossible to make out since Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but at least those filmmakers had the courtesy of throwing in a flashlight every once in a while. It’s uncertain whether or not these scenes were the result of poor direction or panic over shoddy effects. Either way, they’re a black mark on the overall experience"
Dan Callahan of the WRAP takes aim at McConaughey's "enjoyably bad performance":
As McConaughey swans through scene after ridiculous scene, it’s almost as if he is deliberately aiming for a Razzie Award to go with his Oscar. Imagine RuPaul playing Clint Eastwood and you will get an idea of the mixed messages of his work here, which suggests both fatigue and a brand of steely camp that is entirely his own
Matt singer of Screen Crush called it "flat out ugly":
"There are a couple of sequences where Roland squares off with monsters or zombies or something — I sincerely don’t know what to call them because no one explains who they are, where they came from, or what they’re doing — and all of these scenes take place at night in dimly lit forests and villages and there isn’t a single clear establishing shot of any of the creatures>
John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter is somewhat more complientary but still regards the entry as a disappointment:
"Elba and McConaughey give the movie exactly what it needs from them: tarnished righteousness and stoic wisdom from the former, unruffled indifference to humanity's suffering from the latter. Production and effects departments make the picture quite good-looking, action scenes play well and, though the setups are sometimes inelegant, a few comic moments land nicely. But no scene in this film even approaches the rousing, lump-in-the-throat power of the first Lord of the Rings film, or even of the initial chapter of The Hunger Games
The Dark Tower is in cinemas August 18.