Review

(AOTN) ‘The Dark Tower”, the multi-decade work of master storyteller Mr.Stephen King, has, at long last, finally be made into a feature film. After having the opportunity to view the film I have come away with a couple of notions, most notably that much more work could have and should have been done to make the final product more appealing to the countless fans that have followed this book series throughout the years.

Stephen King has two major movies coming out this year “The Dark Tower” and “IT”. “The Dark Tower” books were first released in 1982, and the final one was released in 2012. With much of King’s work the story of the Dark Tower seems to find it’s way into much of his other work as well. King has called The Dark Tower series his magnum opus. The series was chiefly inspired by the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower” by Robert Browning, whose full text was included in the final volume’s appendix.

With that much material to pull from, it should have been easy for the producers and writers to craft the proper story to tell. That did not happen in this film.  According to #IMDB the movie “IT “which comes out on September 8th has a run time of about 2 hours and fifteen minutes, that is plenty of time to tell a rich story that was taken from a book that is roughly a thousand pages. To put things in perspective, “The Dark Tower” only has a run time of about ninety minutes and that is pulling for eight books worth of material. While it is worth noting that there are definitely plans for a television series to tie into the “The Dark Tower” film, overall the finished product felt a bit rushed.  It did not establish a story tone that justified it’s source material.

The film was directed by Nikolaj Arcel with a screenplay by Akiva Goldman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Nikolaj Arcel.

The story starts with 11 year old Jake Chambers ( Tom Taylor) awakening from having visions of the Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey) who is dead set on destroying a Tower and bringing an end to the world as we know it. Jake is also having visions of a Gunslinger ( Idris Elba) who has been embattled with the Man In Black for a longtime.

Jake has been dealing with the death of his father for about a year which makes him act out. His mother, stepfather, and psychiatrists all dismiss these as trauma-based dreams. While home at his apartment in New York City, a group of workers from an alleged psychiatric facility offer to rehabilitate Jake, but Jake realizes as soon as he sees them they are monsters wearing human skin from his dreams and escapes. Jake tracks down the abandoned house he has  seen in one of his visions, and discovers a high-tech portal, and travels to another world called Mid-World.

In Mid-World Jake encounters the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, who seeks Walter o’Dim, the man in Black, in order to kill him and get revenge for murdering his father. Roland tells Jake that Walter has been abducting children with psychic powers and forcing them into destroying the fabled Dark Tower that stands at the center of the universe, which will allow twisted monsters from the darkness outside to invade and destroy all of reality. Roland takes Jake to a local village to have his visions interpreted.

Walter learns of Jake’s escape from the fake psychiatric workers and journey to Mid-World. Walter  investigates, and comes to the  realization that Jake has enough psychic potential to destroy the Tower all by himselfy The Man in Black murders Jake’s stepfather, interrogates his mother about his visions, and then incinerates her. Back in Mid-World, leans that Roland can reach Walter’s base by traveling through his base in New York. Walter’s men attack the village, but Roland kills them all. Roland and Jake return to Earth. When Jake returns home to check in on his parents, he finds their remains and breaks down. Roland vows to avenge them and comforts him by teaching the Gunslinger’s creed and the basics of gun fighting.

While Roland re-arms himself at a gun store, Walter captures Jake and takes him to his base where he straps Jake to a machine, intending for him to destroy the Tower. Jake uses his psychic powers to alert Roland to his location, and Roland battles his way through Walter’s henchmen. Walter himself confronts and severely wounds Roland. Jake reminds him of the Gunslinger’s creed, and Roland recovers and kills Walter with a trick shot. Roland then destroys the machine, saving the Tower, Jake and the children. In the aftermath, Roland declares that he must return to his own world and offers Jake a place by his side as his companion, which Jake accepts. The two depart for Mid-World.

I feel the ending was totally rushed and a certain scene at the very end of the film, left me wondering, whatever happened to all those innocent kids? Trust me, you’ll understand if you bother to head out to check out this film. If you are in the mood for a total popcorn flick with a quick story then “The Dark Tower” is worth it. But if you were a fan of the books and want a really good interpretation of Stephen King’s magnum opus, this movie is not for you.

 



About the Author

Stephen Nepa