A disappointing adaptation held together by Idris Elba’s performance
Trying to adapt Stephen King’s mammoth fantasy epic series was never going to be an easy feat. Its no surprise then that Sony Entertainment’s effort at adapting The Dark Tower is a poorly made, badly edited adaptation that’s only held together by a profound performance by Idris Elba as The Lone Gunslinger. Beyond his portrayal of this iconic character, there really isn’t anything else here of note that would suggest this is anything other than a disappointment.
Haunted by terrible dreams of a tower being destroyed, the story begins with Jake (Tom Taylor) finding himself involved in a world-changing battle to save the universe. The maniacal Man In Black, hell bent on destroying the tower and subsequently the universe, races to find children who hold “the shine”. This mysterious force powers a machine which in turn will destroy the tower but only if a child holding the right amount of shine is used to power it. For such a convoluted storyline, The Dark Tower at least attempts to make sense of this complicated plot but the script falters early on and never really recovers. A short, adrenaline fuelled burst of action here and there is well shot and does well to break up the monotony plaguing this film but it occurs far too late or infrequent in the story and simply accentuates the many issues with this film.
The pacing never settles into a consistent rhythm with an uneven script that can’t quite work out how it wants to tell its story. There’s certainly potential here for an enjoyable film but the lack of explanation for anything occurring on screen is a constant thorn in The Dark Tower’s side. Why does the Man In Black want to destroy the universe? Who are the strange skinned people? Why are they working with the Man In Black? What happened to the gunslingers? The endless barrage of questions this film raises is made worse by the refusal to answer any of these as it relentlessly plunges toward the action packed finale.
Visually, there’s no denying that The Dark Tower is an impressive film. The action is well shot with particular emphasis on the musical score that accentuates what’s happening on screen. Along with Idris Elba who is generally brilliant throughout and manages to make his scenes the best in the film, the music and visuals work well and at least bring a bit of shine to what’s otherwise a troubled film rife with issues.
When the credits roll and the dust settles in the barren deserts the gunslinger wanders, The Dark Tower is a disappointing adaptation. The poor characterisation, barrage of unanswered plot questions and a messily arranged script do the convoluted story no favours. Despite some enjoyable action scenes and some impressive visuals, The Dark Tower is a disappointing film, barely held together by Idris Elba as the lone gunslinger.