Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Run Time: 1h 35m
Idris Elba lost a bet, right? I mean, I get why McConaughey agrees to sucky things. But Elba?! He must’ve made a rotten deal. Or blacked out for 6 months and woke up to find out he starred in this against his will. I need answers!
In a flick reminiscent of a 90’s children’s horror attempt, little loner Jake (Tom Taylor) has some really f***** up dreams about children being sucked dry so a Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey) can destroy a Dark Tower and take over the universes — yes, that is plural. Jake’s mom and step-dad believe he has just lost his mind after his father’s death so they dismiss his vivid and detailed accounts of an alternate dimension. Ultimately they decide a week in a mental institution will do him some good because they’re terrible parents and they hate Jake. Jake makes a run for it and accidentally does some really important stuff in order to land himself into the world he’s been dreaming about. Minutes later he also happens to find his hero, the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) — though his friends call him Roland. After minimal efforts to convince Roland that he is from “Keystone Earth” and has been dreaming of this world for quite some time, the duo set out to go after the Man in Black, whose friends call him Walter. Sh*t happens, minutes crawl by, and Jake is obviously more important that everyone because Plot.
No, I did not read the Dark Tower books. No, I will not be rushing out to buy them anytime soon. I’ve already wasted enough time learning about The Dark Tower.
Where on [Keystone] Earth do I begin!? This movie is an atrocity. What sucks is that it’s actually really well-made from a technical and production standpoint. But everything else is truly, grotesquely horrendous.
These characters are the literal worst. As I said above, Jake’s parents are terrible. They spend years ignoring him and his “dreams” and don’t believe an ounce of it for one minute. I get it. It’s intense. But Jake takes 5 minutes to convince a stranger Roland — who never trusts anyone — of his visions and the pair are instant travel buddies. As the very last Gunslinger, Roland has exactly one job: defend the Tower. Turns out he’s actually really bad at it. Allegedly he’s been roaming from realm to realm in search of Walter to no avail. Then Jake shows up and is all “what does this detailed drawing and map of this specific place mean?!” Then poof! Roland’s quest suddenly becomes crystal clear. That doesn’t stop him from over-complicating it, but at least he knows what he’s meant to be doing. Jake is annoying simply because he keeps accidentally doing the right thing. Finding the right portal, jumping to the right location, mastering powers he never knew before effortlessly to help defend this Tower he’s only ever dreamt about… The coincidences are exhausting.
As ridiculous as all the characters are, Walter “The Man In Black” O’Dim is the most unbearable. Walter and his merry band of wererats… Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention that Walter’s cronies are giant rat creatures that wear human skin while they do his bidding. It’s not at all creepy when one of these rats chooses a rather young female form — not much older than the children they are murdering — and Walter makes a pointed effort to offer his approvals. [I could probably write a 1000 word essay on how this movie is a 90-minute euphemism for pedophilia but I’ll refrain.] Anywho, Walter and his followers have been trying to destroy Dark Towers for as long as Roland has been after him (aka For.Ev.Er.) Of all the children he’s murdered you’re telling me he’s not farther along in the process? Why is everyone terrible at the one thing they’ve been doing for an eternity but little Jake can show up and master everything in five minutes!?
Walter is also the worst offender when it comes to crappy dialogue. He is good at “magics” and chases after children with the brightest “shine” all while mentally projecting himself anywhere he needs by talking to giant marbles. You will quickly learn why McConaughey was cast as a self-righteous moron who tripped out on acid one too many times.
But therein lies an ironic conundrum: McConaughey was simultaneously the best and worst choice for this role. Is he believable as a crazy person with no direction or purpose? Yes. Is he believable as a sinister villain looking to destroy all the worlds and rule under darkness for all eternity? Bahahahahaha!!! No. I was too busy stifling laughs at the stupidity of McConaugey’s character that I wasn’t able to let myself pretend to be scared by the proposition that he might win this “war”.
Which reminds me: there isn’t a war. There’s Walter inching closer to his goal and Roland running around like an idiot not making any progress. That’s not a war. That’s a playground smack down at best.
If you’re like Elba and McConaughey and don’t care about how you spend your time, definitely check out The Dark Tower! Or if you have any ounce of self-respect, keep on moving.
There was another young boy who was quite the loner, not well-liked in the world he was given. But he was able to experience an alternate world of wars and “magics” and adventure. His name was Bastian. And he was part of The NeverEnding Story. Falkor forever!