THE DARK TOWER was first and foremost an eight part book series by Stephen King. Now it is a 90 minute film that from all accounts does the books, its characters, and THE DARK TOWER universe itself no justice. With that being said, one could say it’s a misrepresentation to call the film an adaption of the beloved book series. Truth be told I have not read the book series. I have never been one for sci-fi, fantasy or time-travel stories. I find time-travel itself particularly hard to execute well in film. The only time-travel films I can think of that worked for me were BACK TO THE FUTURE and BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. THE DARK TOWER is no BILL AND TED’S, let me tell you. In fact, one of this films biggest problems is not what is isn’t, it’s what it is trying to be. What exactly is that? That’s a great question because neither myself nor the film can figure that out.

The first 15 odd minutes were great, if not a bit overwhelming. You get the sense right off the bat that this is going to be a very chaotic ride because the film has countless themes and subplots and they hit you with them all at once starting right from the opening credits. In doing so, you don’t give the viewer enough time to get to know all of these vital elements of the story. It’s like being at a party where you are introduced to people you want to meet and get to know but you are hastily moved onto the next person as if they exist on an assembly line.  This general pacing and (lack of) attention to detail is a constant throughout the film.

I wasn’t going into the film with high hopes, but I knew I could at least count on a great performance from Idris Elba who plays Roland, aka “The Gunslinger”.  Sadly, I was wrong. It was shocking to see how much he missed the mark on this one.  For an actor who has so much power and intensity behind him I didn’t even know he had the capability to perform so flat. Sure, he did the required brooding, squinty eyed, man-of-few-words character that is a fixture in Westerns but it lacked the power and depth of character behind it that has become his calling card.

All-in-all this film is a perfect example of having everything going for it and not utilizing those strengths efficiently. It has a great story that already has a built in and rabid fan base, incredible actors known for excelling in complex roles, and yet it still implodes. THE DARK TOWER is a situation where the parts are greater than the sum and the parts themselves are below a passing grade.

For a more in depth look at THE DARK TOWER and its many, many flaws check out the video review we did with film director and host of YOUR GEEK NEWS,  Matt Campagna.

” An  abundant waste of talent, money and a fantastic story”


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Amy Seidman is a Toronto based costumer for film/television and writer for Thrillist, Rue-Morgue, Shock Till You Drop and FANGORIA magazine. She has a tattoo tribute to Castor Troy from Face/Off. She is proud of all her life decisions.

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