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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Dan's Review: Idris Elba the only appealing part of "The Dark Tower"

Aug 03, 2017 05:11PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Idris Elba and Tom Taylor in The Dark Tower - © 2017 Sony Pictures.

The Dark Tower (Sony Pictures)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action.

Starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Jackie Earle Haley, Katheryn Winnick, Dennis Haysbert, Michael Barbieri, José Zúñiga, Alex McGregor, Nicholas Hamilton, De-Wet Nagel.

Written by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and Nikolaj Arcel, based on the novel by Stephen King.

Directed by Nikolaj Arcel.



Stephen King is getting a revival of late. Not only is there a super creepy remake of It coming to theaters next month, a movie based on his successful book series The Dark Tower is coming to theaters this weekend.

Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a New York City teenage boy who experiences dark and disturbing nightmares about a “Mid World” where teens are abducted by a “Man in Black” (Matthew McConaughey) who tortures and kills them while using a large machine to tap into their brain power. He also has visions of a “gunslinger” named Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) who is the survivor of other lawmen who lost a war against the Man in Black (who also killed his father, played by Dennis Haysbert). Soon, the Man in Black sends henchmen to capture Jake, who escapes through a portal connecting the “real” world to Mid World, where he meets Roland face-to-face. Roland takes Jake to a nearby settlement, where it is discovered that the young man has the most powerful “shine” ever detected, which makes him a prime target of the Man in Black, who hopes to use his brain power to destroy the Dark Tower that separates the Mid World, Earth and other infinite kingdoms of other realms from the monstrous forces of evil. Jake convinces Roland to travel back to Earth and confront the Man in Black at one of his evil lairs in the city. A big battle and develops, with Roland facing the Man in Black for a final confrontation.

The Dark Tower is a fair, but flawed movie with one good reason to see it. Idris Elba is perfect in an action hero role, and is the only truly appealing part of the movie. His screen presence has been sampled in several supporting roles in the past, but never in the lead. McConaughey is also noteworthy in his role as the evil antagonist, and seems to be transitioning well from his "leading man" status.

A majority of The Dark Tower is interesting, but seems to be missing a lot of Mid World back story. It’s like an epilogue to a more epic tale, as if you’d just come upon the Lord of Rings saga several centuries after the fall of Sauron. It also skirts the line between fantasy and horror, never really settling on either genre.

Speaking of horror, there are also a lot of Stephen King “Easter eggs” strewn throughout the movie that will draw the attention of the prolific writer's fans. The reality is if you’re not an aficionado of King's books (and films based on them), you will more than likely miss the bonus stuff (look for a car, a number, an amusement park and an image of a particular hotel - for starters).

In the end, The Dark Tower may be a vehicle for other films in a new film series, or perhaps the launching point for a TV series, but it’s not a “must-see” movie. Again, the only really appealing aspect of The Dark Tower is the Idris Elba “coming out party” as the next great action hero.     


The Dark Tower Trailer