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Reviews Comments: Another Stephen King movie, another foot in the door. The Dark Tower 2017 film/book review by Mystic Eclectic

Many times, Stephen King\'s work has failed on the big screen. From the get-go, PG-13 rating included, The Dark Tower follows in that lineage. Thankfully, though, it\'s not as bad as Dreamcatcher and King\'s own Shining miniseries. Cutting away exposition that hinders King movies, it instead receives the \"disrespect\" of distillation. However, it\'s this shortening I didn\'t mind as a King fan and moviegoer.

Best things first, this is a fast movie. The pace is never sluggish: fluid, yet not impatient. Idris Elba is wonderful as Roland, the Gunslinger. Learning to let go of revenge and focus on justice, his troubles are less whining to more purely motivated, albeit with demons. Tom Taylor as Jake is solid, with some well-done emotional moments including grieving over his mother, despite some flatter bits. A good moment is Roland\'s first time on Earth, replete with hookers and Coke cans. Though its introduction is slapdash, the wasteland parallel to Earth is very well done, filled with nods aplenty to King\'s work. It becomes a little marvel alongside a nice game of I-Spy. The action scenes are also pretty pumping; I cheered when Roland rescued Jake from Walter\'s trackers ransacking the village with a well-placed shot. So, the good guys are solid, the sets well-done, and the action is great.

Alas, not all is well in adaptation-land. McConaughey\'s Walter feels like an odd extension of his Dodge-commercial persona: wildly powerful, making people act on his whims, killing them with a word. Yet, he\'s still McConaughey, with an evil mystique. He is a menace, but one I\'d expect as a car salesman rather than as Randall Flagg; the archvillain of the King-verse. Instead, Walter\'s and the Crimson King\'s minions mince quite a bit, despite offering some creepy moments. The wasteland\'s child-slavery facility was well-designed: a dark pastiche of a suburb where children are used to destroy the tower. But what\'s it doing being run by a bunch of demonic IT interns? Again, these villains don\'t have much menace when they\'re not running and gunning. When it happens, it\'s quite fun.

The love I have for Dark Tower is a bit fatherly. I feel that others are rubbed the wrong way by this one, going by the crummy reviews. If its more commercial aspects were stripped away, I\'d be even prouder to call this another decent King movie, one I see much potential in as is. Aside from some good action, it\'s 1/3 of a worried kid, another of a Dodge-commerical, and another of Idris Elba being Idris Elba. It bares its teeth despite the PG-13, though. Come as you are, don\'t worry about being offended, King-fan or not.

Comments

  • maninahat
  • 7th Aug 17
Hi! I\'m not sure if there are any point using spoiler mark ups in a review. If I don\'t want the movie spoiled, then those sentences with the spoiler tags aren\'t helpful because they don\'t make any sense with half the text hidden (also, writing this comment made all the spoilers reveal themselves to me).

  • MysticEclectic
  • 8th Aug 17
YMMV, but I thought the spoiler moments here were a little too juicy to be given right away. I can\'t help with the spoilers going away because of the comment pages. Sorry you feel that way. Happy moviegoing!
  • VampireBuddha
  • 19th Aug 17
Yeah, it\'s better to just write your review in a way that doesn\'t contain spoilers.

I\'m sympathetic to newbies who didn\'t like the movie, because the lack of exposition means you really do need to have read the books to appreciate the stakes and be invested in the characters.

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