Want to know how to bring down The Dark Tower?
It’s not the mind of a child, as the story goes, but over-ambition, a flaky screenplay, and a director clearly out of his depth. It has long been thought that Stephen King’s eight novel fantasy opus is unfilmable, and certainly Nikolaj Arcel‘s cinematic attempt at ‘The Dark Tower’ does nothing to topple that assertion.

In its modest 90 minute runtime, the film collapses under the weight of its source material – constantly feeling rushed and skimming over or ejecting crucial detail, leaving it devoid of meaningful characters or the rich mythology of the novels.

The story, split between the fantastical Mid-World and modern-day earth, centers around Jake (Tom Taylor) a young boy grieving the loss of his fire-fighting father, and living with his passive mother, and uncaring step-father. Jake begins to have visions of the tower and the characters of Mid-World, revealing him as a powerful psychic and setting him on a path to confront the devilishly daper ‘Man in Black’ (Matthew McConaughey).

While meandering through Mid-World, Jake chances on a lonely gunslinger, Roland (Idris Elba), a good man trying to protecting the titular tower from McConaughey’s destructive desires. And with his ‘heroic father-figure’ position vacant, Jake joins Roland’s side on a quest to protect Mid-World.

The two A-listers offer little redemption in their cliche ridden roles – McConaughey’s camp, smooth-as-snakeskin supervillain, has the power to kill with a whisper or flick of his wrist. While Elba’s Roland, the hero, is for the most part, left to point, shoot and babysit.

Despite glimpses of what might have otherwise been an intriguing fantasy franchise – The Dark Tower needed a Spielbergian touch, the commitment of multiples films to tell its epic story, and a bit of soul-searching by everyone involved.

The Dark Tower – Now in Cinemas

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