Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Dark Tower Film Review

I caught The Dark Tower earlier this week, directed by Nikolaj Arcel and adapted from the Stephen King novels. I haven't read them so it was a new fantasy series for me.

Tom Taylor's Jake is disturbed by graphic dreams with a dark tower central to them. He sees a gunslinger played by Idris Elba, taking on a Man in Black played by Matthew McConaughey, but doesn't understand the dreams. His mother played by lovely Katheryn Winnick arranges for him to see a psychiatrist, but Jake believes the dreams are real, and especially when he discovers one of the images in his dreams is an actual house in New York. Jake's stepfather meanwhile arranges for him to attend a special school upstate for gifted children. But when people arrive to take Jake he recognises them as the 'skins', as he calls them, from his dreams.

Escaping them Jake travels to the house in his dreams, a portal to the unknown land. He meets Roland the gunslinger and we find out that the gunslingers protected the Dark Tower between the worlds. It keeps the lands safe from the sorcerer. Walter the Man in Black, would allow demons and monsters through to Earth and other alternate realities. But Roland is the last gunslinger, everyone he loves has been killed by Walter. And unable to protect the tower now Roland is out for revenge.

Walter arranges for children who have a 'shine' on Earth to be kidnapped, and brought to his lair where they are strapped down and their psychic powers aimed at the tower to destroy it. So far no child has managed to do this. But when he is alerted to the fact that an unauthorised entry by portal has taken place, Walter realises that Jake is the one child who can bring the whole tower down alone.

I think I would like to explore more of this alternate world and see Tom Taylor develop the role of Jake. But for such an epic story I was sad that the film was so slight, with no time to fill out the backstory. Although I enjoyed it as a stand alone film I feel there is much more to tell from the 8 books. However Matthew McConaughey looked like he was having a great time with the magic and Idris Elba's gunslinger guns are made of mythical Excalibar steel. So cool. And I liked the witty spaghetti westerns showing back in New York. These two have a real history we don't know.

Maybe we will get to see Nikolaj Arce develop the books in the future that will bring them face to face again. But remember never bring a knife to a gunfight.

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