Guns and magic! Magic and guns!
BQB here with a review of the long awaited film version of Steven King’s “The Dark Tower.”
King’s Dark Tower is probably one of his best read works, a fan favorite for a long time. Sadly, I’ve never read it but I have heard nothing but good things over the years.
At the outset, this film has a lot going on. Magic. Sorcery. Old West Gunslinging. Interdimensional travel. A kid that can move between worlds. Stuff happening in New York. Stuff happening in a fantasy world. At times, you want to shout, “Hey! Just pick a storyline and stick with it already!”
But there’s the rub. A great write like King can weave all of these elements together flawlessly, while sometimes complicated plots don’t always pan out well on screen. Critics have been harsh on this film. Personally, I think that sucks. I mean, I’ll be up front and say I didn’t quite understand everything that was going on. The overall concept was hard to follow.
However, there’s a lot of style. Matthew McConaughey (alright, alright, alright) steals the show as “The Man in Black,” the charismatic villain you love to hate (or hate to love.) He makes being bad look so easy, and also fun, so much fun that as a viewer he might persuade you into thinking that it might be a trip to put on a black suit yourself and try out being evil for awhile.
Meanwhile, Idris Elba excels as the focused, relentless, unwavering hero Roland, aka “The Gunslinger,” the only one who can stop The Man’s dastardly deeds.
Oh and there’s a kid whose name I don’t feel like looking up right now. I assume he’ll either become famous and I’ll learn his name later or he’ll end up on Skid Row like other child actors in which case, who cares? Or maybe he’ll just do something in between. More power to him.
At any rate, the kid has magic powers and dreams about the other world where the Gunslinger fights the Man. Blah, blah, blah. Somehow the kid teams up with the Gunslinger and that’s cool. As far as I can recall, this is the first “kid steps out of his childhood to be a hero in a fantasy world” story since the 1980s, a decade that was lousy with such tales, “The Neverending Story” being the primary one that comes to mind.
Come for the Man’s smooth talk. Stay for the Gunslinger’s skills with the steel. The gunslinging scenes make the movie and my only complaint is you do have to wait awhile before Roland lets loose with the steel.
I can understand how someone can be confused with all that is going on. I know I was. However, this film is probably the best big screen adaptation that could be made of King’s book. Some ideas are so complicated that they work better when a skilled writer lays it all out for you, whereas films have limited time to get you all the information you need to know.