The Dark Tower (2017) Review: A Cinematic Sedative
For those that declare cinema dead and Hollywood to be out of ideas, this is another notch in the win column for you. ‘The Dark Tower’ is yet another adaptation of a classic story by Stephen King. This time, instead of killer clowns and rabid dogs, the horrors of this tale lie in the mystical dark tower, a gargantuan structure with the sole function of keeping at bay evils from a different dimension. The evil man in black seeks to destroy the tower, and it’s up to a young man and a gunslinger to stop him.
Like many films, ‘The Dark Tower’ is a perfectly acceptable movie on the surface level. It has characters that embody age old archetypes. The reluctant hero, the chosen one, the all powerful supervillain. The character’s themselves are flat, but the roles are perfectly serviceable. It’s only when you dig a little deeper that the film begins to fall apart. The movie has a lot of ideas, most of them good, but brings them across with all the finesse of a rickety bridge.
At the heart of ‘The Dark Tower’ is a simple idea: The innocence of a child is the key to saving the world. With so many films predicated on the idea of innocence being a hindrance, it was refreshing to see something new. The trouble is the movie betrays this idea almost immediately, and insults your intelligence in the process. Instead of providing the deep, complex story it set up, the film would rather show a slick action scene or two.
On that note, if you’re rushing to see ‘The Dark Tower’ on account of the impressive gunplay Idris Elba’s character displays in the trailer, you’d best stay home. Most of what’s already been seen is all there is. That’s because ‘The Dark Tower’ is not an action film. In fact, it avoids violence when it can, and treats it as a last resort. There’s a message about the weight one carries when they decide to put a gun in their hands which is effective when it wants to be, but ultimately falls apart when the depictions of gun violence are so enticing.
With a non-engaging script and characters that are hard to root for, ‘The Dark Tower’ is a certifiable dud. Even its cast, bookended by two of the most charismatic actors working today, can’t save this film from feeling like an opportunity to catch up on some much-needed rest. Even the story, which for all its “end of the world” gravitas, feels extremely low stake. ‘The Dark Tower’ feels like the beginning of a tv series, and that’s exactly where it should be seen.
Rating: Catch It On Cable.