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article imageReview: ‘The Dark Tower’ is on another path Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 7, 2017 in Entertainment
‘The Dark Tower’ movie is the remix version of Stephen King’s series, which is a passable action movie but is far from anything that could be considered an adaptation.
For as long as filmmakers have been adapting books for the screen, there have been a number of works deemed not filmable either due to their length, complexity or demands on the imagination. Then a visionary arrives who sees a way, often through modern techniques, to achieve the impossible. There have been many instances in which the ability to do something has not equated to the ability to do it well, but we still award these creators an A+ for effort. Of course sometimes the answer is to simply do it differently. More than a decade after the last book in the series was written, The Dark Tower is making its big screen debut.
Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) has spent countless decades chasing The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) across Mid-World’s desert. The last remaining gunslinger, his desire for vengeance against the man who killed all he held dear has caused him to lose his true mission: the Tower. Meanwhile, on modern-day Earth, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is plagued with dreams he can’t explain of a world he’s never visited. Suddenly pursued by the villains of his nightmares, Jake stumbles upon a door that takes him to Roland’s world. With Jake’s psychic abilities and Roland’s guns, the two set out to kill The Man in Black and subsequently save the universe’s many worlds.
Rather than an adaptation, this film has been positioned as a sequel of sorts to the original written series. Since it’s impossible to faithfully transfer the books to a coherent movie, filmmakers chose to piece together elements from all the books to create a standalone picture that would effectively introduce audiences to these iconic characters. It’s not an approach that’s going to satisfy diehard fans of the source material since it mixes up the narrative order and alters the essence of Roland’s character; but to the uninitiated, it’s a fairly entertaining action movie with some pretty cool sequences involving the gunslinger’s skills and Jake’s supernatural encounters. Moreover, this film is prefacing an upcoming TV series based on the fourth book, Wizard and Glass, which relates Roland’s adventures as a teenage gunslinger.
Nonetheless, there are some obvious nods to the original material. The opening seconds of the film reveals one of the production companies is named after the “Tet Corporation,” which plays a significant role in the final books. The number 19 appears throughout (though there is at least one major opportunity missed), as does the rose image, Sombra Group and some other subtle pieces only fans would recognize. It’s not exactly enough to make up for the jumbled storyline or removing Roland’s disquieting nobility, but it certainly helps. Conversely, even though The Dark Tower series drew from many of Stephen King’s other works (and his own life), labelling Jake’s psychic abilities as “the shining” was a little much.
Luckily, Elba and McConaughey flawlessly embody their respective roles. The former is quietly weary but strong-willed, while the latter is charismatic yet diabolical. They don’t share a lot of screen time, but their inevitable showdown is a fitting demonstration of how they stand opposite as physical embodiments of good and evil — simultaneously exemplifying the oversimplification of this epic tale. But there are other world’s than these and if King approves…
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Taylor
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