Dark Tower’s storyline a bit too familiar

Monday August 21, 2017 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the movie Dark Tower, now screening at the Empire Cinema. 17081805 A scene from the movie Dark Tower, now screening at the Empire Cinema. 17081805

Think about if you’ve seen this before: A young boy or girl (but usually a boy), lives in a world where he just doesn’t feel right, where he doesn’t totally fit in.

 

Then things happen at an extremely rapid rate and all of a sudden they are in a whole new world, the one that they were always destined for.

Because you see, they are the “One”, “the Chosen”, “the Special”, or in this case, “the Shine”.

Only they can save “Panem”, “the Wizarding World”, “Edward”, or in this case, “Keystone Earth”.

So basically Dark Tower is treading on familiar territory.

And for a movie of this type to stand out, it really needs to have a powerful story that contains interesting characters that the audience cares about, maybe even a great action scene to satisfy the viewers.

And this movie just doesn’t have that.

Not that it’s bad, it’s just… fine.

The film is based off the acclaimed Stephen King novel of the same name, which is the seventh book of a series of eight.

The story follows 11 year-old Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who constantly has nightmares about a faraway land.

In this place there is the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), or Walter, has captured children (seemingly from Earth) and uses their minds to try and destroy the Dark Tower.

Jake makes sure to draw all of these and put them on his wall, just to make sure his family knows he is crazy.

Jake also dreams about a Gunslinger (Idris Elba), or Roland, who seems to be the enemy of Walter.

He then learns of a portal (conveniently close to where he lives), that will take him to the far away land known as Mid-World, where Walter and Roland are.

After defeating a floorboard demon, Jake finally makes it to Mid-World and begins his grand quest to defeat the great evil.

The odd thing about this movie is that it doesn’t really seem to have an audience.

It won’t appeal to the audience who read the books, because the movie cannot do justice to the source material. It would be like giving Harry Potter fans the Half Blood Prince as their first movie.

It might be directed at children, but the action isn’t thrilling enough to keep their attention.

It does occasionally have some juvenile moments that are funny, but they are few and far between.

In fact, the best thing about the movie might be the short runtime.

As the lead, Jake is just like the movie; he’s fine.

He looks unremarkable, which is probably the point, but he also acts totally unremarkable too.

The film tries so hard to make you believe he is special by constantly talking about his Shine, which isn’t very well defined, that you might forget that they don’t really show you anything.

Idris Elba is probably the standout, playing the weary gunman who is really too old for this. That idea is pulled straight from an old-school Western.

But even his motivations are unclear.

Which is the problem with basing the first movie on the seventh book; things don’t really make sense because some much back story has been skipped.

The movie isn’t interested in explaining much of anything really. It seems like it’s in a hurry to finish and just hopes that you won’t notice, which might explain the run time. 

And beyond a surface level, almost every character motivation or decision might make sense until you ask, “Why?”

If you aren’t asking that question, you might enjoy what is ultimately a totally fine film, one that is neither offensively bad or memorably special.

But movies, or any form of art shouldn’t strive to be just OK.

This film might have been striving for “great”, but ultimately settled for a mere “good”.

And as philosopher Terence Fletcher once said, “there are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.”

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