But whereas the book series is long, slow, and philosophical, The Dark Tower film suffers from faster pacing and a short runtime that will bewilder most. Stephen King's popular novels have made for many a movie and television show, and the Dark Tower series is perhaps his best-selling exception.
The movie certainly had potential.
I was hoping for them to wind up on top when it came to the film's climax, but sadly, the trailers spoil most of the epic moments the ending minutes should have had, save one insane display of marksmanship, and the impact of the moment fell flat. It's epic, weird stuff, weaving in themes and ephemera from King's other works (the concept of "shining" is featured prominently here), to synthesize a whole grand universe, one rife with possibility.
The Western-tinged sci-fi saga, set in a mystical parallel universe called Mid-World, is a departure from King's famous brand of supernatural horror, but the books became a smash hit.
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Variety's Owen Gleiberman is more favourable, saying The Dark Tower is "a competent and watchable paranoid metaphysical video game that doesn't overstay its welcome". "There's a point somewhere in the misshapen second act that an attentive viewer can feel all the parties involved giving up and resolving to get the rest of the movie over with as soon as possible".
Nope. That year, Universal scooped up the rights and recruited Ron Howard (Apollo 13) to direct. Because without all that, it's never quite clear why we should care about anything that's happening in the movie. With a disregard to character development, or even simply giving the audience a moment to breath in the world, the feeling of watching "The Dark Tower" is like racing through a meal because you are late to an appointment.
As for the film's action, The Dark Tower doesn't seem to know how to effectively depict Roland's Gunslinger skills in a way that's both original and doesn't completely slow down the pacing of a sequence. Something that outlandish probably bears a little more scrutiny before we can properly process and inventory it. The Dark Tower is an origin story, but it picks up where the last novel ends. And because this movie can't explain it any better than that, here is where the die-hard fan and the casual moviegoer must part ways.
The film was, at least, cast well. Honestly, outside of some fish-out-of water comedy done by Elba when The Gunslinger transports to Earth briefly, there's nothing memorable about any performance. There, he meets "The Gunslinger" Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) who is on a mission to get to the Dark Tower and save the real world from extinction. The most concrete, personal, existential heartbreak a character can have. Still, he's played well by Tom Taylor, who taps into raw emotions naturally and expressively.