‘The Dark Tower’: Terrifyingly Mediocre

I drove an hour to the theater to watch ‘The Dark Tower’ and it was my first ever screening that I was attending as official media; needless to say, I was extremely excited. No commercials, a room full of people who love the same thing I do, and in mere moments I’m going to see my 12th most anticipated movie of 2017 four days before everyone else.

I am very sad to say that I enjoyed the experience of the screening more than the movie itself.

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Listen, I’ve been anticipating ‘The Dark Tower’ ever since it was announced. I’m a fan of the story (although I have yet to finish the books) and the general concept of seeing it all on the big screen fascinated me. I have now seen the film and I can say with full regret that it’s the most unexciting and mediocre production I’ve seen in a while. The story itself is structured the same way as so many adventure flicks out there: two protagonists meet, face a series of ridiculous challenges (like fight off demons or something like that), one of them learns to unlock a certain ability while the other is their teacher, and together they defeat the antagonist at the end. Have you seen ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’? An okay movie, no? ‘The Dark Tower’ is exactly the same as that film, just with slightly different environments, characters, and events.

You know when you ask someone to copy their homework and they say sure, but ask you to change it a bit? It’s like that. ‘The Dark Tower’ is actually a copy of every other adventure flick out there, just ‘changed a bit’.

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I have to quickly mention how cringy the dialogue in this movie is. There are many lines throughout that literally made me flinch away as I felt too awkward to watch what was happening on screen. The actors don’t help either; it’s as if they wanted the ridiculous dialogue to sound even more cringy and thus told their stupid lines even more stupidly.

The way the story is told just didn’t manage to provoke any serious interest or care in me. I wasn’t very invested in what was going on and I honestly didn’t care who would win (although I kind of hoped evil would win because that would have given the film a certain flair that it doesn’t have). Now, I know I’m bashing pretty hard on ‘The Dark Tower’, but get one thing straight: this is not an awful film. It’s not really a bad one either. It’s just extremely mediocre. It will not surprise you, it is not original, it’s similar to many things out there, but if you are looking for something casual to watch on a Friday evening, I guess this is as good of a choice as any.

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I’ve read the first two ‘Dark Tower’ books and I’m very aware exactly how deeply developed the characters are and what rich backstories they all have. The film fails to present all that. It barely scratches the surface on mostly all characters. Also, they all make illogical decisions that make no sense when you look at the big picture. I guess Jake and Roland’s character were slightly developed and presented accurately, but there is so much more that could have been done. Roland specifically has such a rich backstory that could have easily been presented with a five minute flashback and could have made the film more emotionally impactful. Don’t get me started with the Man in Black. He’s one of the most fascinating characters in the whole story and the movie literally just says ‘he’s doing this because of this’ at that was it.

I can’t deny that Jake, Roland, and the Man in Black are all extremely badass. I don’t know what it is; they all just look good on screen and behave properly, so to say. I did enjoy watching them, but not because I was intrigued what they were going to do, but just because of how well they all appear on screen. Credit for this goes both to the writers for creating enjoyable characters and the actors for portraying them properly.

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The direction is, as well, extremely mediocre. No flair, no originality, nothing to impress the viewer. The story is told very linearly and is something we have seen before. It’s not bad, just extremely unimpressive. Same goes for everything else technically: the music is what you hear in every adventure flick, the editing is just fine, and the cinematography fails to stun as well (there were a few impressive shots out there, but it was not breathtaking).

Tom Taylor plays Jake in ‘The Dark Tower’ and I have to admit, he is fantastic. Watching the young kid take that character and give him a personal flair while simultaneously managing to portray all his emotions and thoughts accurately was truly impressive. Watching Tom Taylor’s acting was my favorite part of ‘The Dark Tower’ and I’m sure the boy is going to have a big career in Hollywood.

Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba. Huh. Now here is where it gets tricky.

First off, I have massive respect for both off them, they have managed to constantly impress me over the years. Hats off to both for creating such characters that are, as I mentioned before, very enjoyable on screen. There is a problem though: both Matthey McConaughey and Idris Elba are very unenergetic often in the film. I see their character on screen, I enjoy that, but it’s a bit dull and unexciting. It seems as if they were both a bit lazy in some scenes. Not constantly, they both do a generally great job, but it is noticeable how sometime the action slows down precisely because of their acting.

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The thing that enrages me the most is the fact that this movie could have easily been good. All the creators had to do was stick to the source material. Stephen King’s books are fantastic and tell the story in a far more enticing way. ‘The Dark Tower’ is not an awful movie; I’d even say it’s watchable. It is, however, extremely mediocre and similar to so many adventure films out there. You can surely find something better to watch. Go see ‘Baby Driver’, see ‘Dunkirk’, or read ‘The Dark Tower’ novels. The film is not the most awful thing in the world, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are eager to simply have something play in the background.

  • Plot: 2/4
  • Characters: 2/3.5
  • Directing: 2.5/3.5
  • Technical parts: 2/3
  • Acting: 2.75/4
  • Does it know what it is?: 0/1
  • Did I overall like it?: 0/1

Total: 5.7/10

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As always, thank you so much for reading,

Mickey Angelov