3 / 5
There are many, many stories like The Dark Tower. A child that exists in the mundane world that we know and then stumbles into a world unlike our own where they must manoeuvre it as well as see many interesting things along the way. One of the first examples of this is Alice in Wonderland, then The Wizard of Oz and many more. But while concept is one thing what truly matters is execution.
Our lead is a boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), he is mostly a loner and has dark dreams of another world where monsters dwell and there is a large black tower that stands. He goes to therapy to talk about how he believes that the earthquakes that happen in the real world are related to what is happening in his dream. Of course the world is real and he eventually finds a way there. Taylor handles the role well, displaying all the panic, fear and confusion clearly and convincingly.
In the other world Idris Elba plays Roland who’s a Gunslinger, basically a knight that roams the land and rights wrongs. But he is the last of the Gunslingers and has become disillusioned with helping people. It is also established that he is a little stronger and faster that the average human, so he can heal faster, do more impressive feats and take more of a pounding and not die. I must give the movie credit for not being on tracks with the stereotypical stern mentor figure. There is a moment in the movie (I wont spoil it) where something traumatic happens to Jake, he says that they have to move but he speaks calmly to him and isn’t above giving him a hug.
The antagonist is a magician of some kind and mostly referred to as “The Man in Black.” He is essentially a very powerful being of pure evil. He is used to getting his way and can treat anyone how he wants. Mathew McConaughey is clearly having fun with the role, this is an excuse to be devilish and swaggering. As a characters there’s no real depth, but as a scary threat, he does the job.
Movies these days seem to be very franchise orientated. Wanting to adapt books is nothing new but now studios really want books that are part of a series, so that they can not just get one but many movies out of them. This probably stated with Harry Potter, kept on going with Hunger Games and is still common now. As of writing this I have never read the book by Stephen King that the movie is based one, but this is fine, audience members shouldn’t have to read the book in order to enjoy the movie, they should buy their ticket and enjoy it regardless. This movie is fine to understand, there are things that go unexplained but you don’t always need exposition for every single thing that happens in a world. I heard from one source that a movie could never do the source material justice because the books go so weird and high concept, well that may be, but as a movie it’s fine.
As stated earlier the concept is not original. The best examples of movies that use this concept would be The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth. On the opposite scale, the weakest movie I’ve seen with this idea is Percy Jackson & The Olympians The Lightning Thief. This movie isn’t the pinnacle of this genre but it is also far superior to Percy.
When the movie ends the story that kicked everything off is wrapped up nicely as well as leaves itself open for other scenarios to happen. Being that there are many books in the series if the film is a success this will happen and if not then it will simply be as it is.