I am writing this on the evening of August 28th. This movie came out on the fourth of August. So this review won’t be exactly what you call…current. I’ll try to make it brief so as not to waste any more of your time than I need to. I assume that if for some odd reason you were really looking forward to The Dark Tower, you either saw it and regretted spending ten dollars on it, or you heard through the grapevine that it’s about as interesting as a pile of dryer lint and have come to this review to have your suspicions confirmed. I wish I could allude otherwise, but the fact of the matter is…dryer lint might actually be more entertaining.
Here’s the long and short of it: The Dark Tower is really, really boring. This fact is kind of astounding when you think about the potential here. This could have been the next fantasy epic destined to beguile generations for decades more. Unfortunately, what we received was a haphazard amalgamation of tired fantasy tropes executed without a single shred of effort or artistic integrity. Allow me to just list off all of the ridiculous cliches this film provides for us: There’s a precocious young boy who’s destined to be the chosen one or whatever, the young boy has dreams of a magical world, no one believes him, he composes drawings of this realm, the drawings come to life, the portal to the other world naturally exists in New York City, there’s a giant tower of evil waiting to destroy the universe, there’s a jerk step-dad, the real dad is dead…need I go on? Because I could, believe me, I could. Now a movie being full of filmic conventions is not inherantly a bad thing, providing it is, at the end of the day, a good film. If you look at a movie like The Princess Bride, it is, in and of itself, one big cliche. But it’s entertaining enough that we overlook this and appreciate it for the fun that it is. Unfortunately, there is literally nothing in The Dark Tower to offset this level of mediocre familiarity.
The actors in this movie clearly would rather be anywhere else. Seriously. One look at Idris Elba in this role will telegraph to you that the man is operating at about 10% of his typical acting abilities. As for Matthew McConaughey, the role could literally not be any worse for him. He’s a good actor when the role works for his particular skill set. Playing a physical embodiment of evil is not in that skill set. As for the kid, whatever. He’s a 13-year-old actor delivering a typical 13-year-old performance. He’s inconsequential. Nothing more, nothing less. The “plot” is absolutely contrived. McConaughey wants to destroy the entire universe. For some reason. To do this he needs to harness the power of kid’s imaginations. For some reason. And our main character is just so perfect that he can destroy all of Reality just by thinking really hard. For some reason. Through some clever screenwriting, the kid finds a portal to go to the magic world where he meets Idris Elba, the last of the gunslingers, a group of men who can make any shot so long as they list off an obnoxious and ultimately unnecessary axiom before they do so. Then, in a craaaazy Jungle II Jungle twist, they go back to New York City! And man, do we get some hilarious fish out of water gags there when Elba discovers Coca-Cola and Geico commercials. It’s just…ugh. It’s too much.
Look, I’m tired of talking about this already simply because thinking about it makes me feel physically exhausted. I’ll give you some quick last thoughts. The director is lazy, the actors are unmotivated, and the script is Goodwill bargain bin level. So yeah. Go see it. It’s great.
All images are from The Dark Tower, a film by Sony Pictures.