‘Blu-ray or Bust’
THE DARK TOWER (R, 2017, 94 minutes, SONY PICTURES/)
In a year that saw a rebirth of the Stephen King influence upon the world of entertainment—between two new shows streaming on the Audience Network and Spike!, and two new films premiering on Netflix, not to mention a new book release the author wrote with one of his sons—you just know there is going to be a misfire at some point.
Lawdy, how I hate that it started with one of my favorite King books. It took four writers—one of them being director Nikolaj Arcel, who did such a wonderful job with the original Swedish version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO—to screw up a King masterpiece. Four. And I don’t think any of them had any clue what they were doing.
A quick synopsis: a kid named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) keeps having dreams of a bad dude and a gunslinger. The bad dude is The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), and the gunslinger is Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), two sworn enemies from Mid-World. One is hell bent on destroying the Dark Tower, and the other is sworn to protect it. Jake gets drawn into the battle, there are a couple of fights, and then the movie ends. Boom.
Now, allow me some time to complain: there is a better version of this movie out there somewhere, floating around in the universe, and probably written and filmed by someone else. This film is too short, too convoluted, and way too serious about itself. And it is told from entirely the wrong perspective. By centering the film around Jake, the brilliant minds (see: SARCASM) behind this steaming gob of moist trash have pretty much taken the role of Roland out of the grand scheme of things. It turns the effort of storytelling into a poorly paced children’s book written by drunken squirrels. The majority of the acting is bad, except for Elba and McConaughey, who look like they know everything going on around them is utterly ridiculous. Crack-addicted howler monkeys could have written better dialogue. Jackie Earle Haley is practically wasted in his role; again, with dialogue and abundantly stupid characters, no one is safe from the obscurity which is threatened with involvement in this “film”. All they can do is their job. Which is a shame, because those three actors are quite the artists when it comes to the craft of acting. To have their talents wasted on a bad SyFy movie (sorry, “Sharknado”) is a shameful sacrilege.
The best thing about the film is the score by Tom Holkenburg (also known as “Junkie XL”). The man that wrote the music for DEADPOOL and BATMAN VS SUPERMAN crafted the absolutely singular redeeming part of this film. Which means he probably didn’t have to watch any of it, and was told to write something sweeping and epic with a western twinge—you know, THE EXACT FREAKING OPPOSITE OF THIS FLICK.
This is usually the part where I break down the special features for you. But, seriously, who cares? They do nothing to help define this silly mess, other than to let you know that there is so much more to the tale that they couldn’t figure out what to do with it all. It will just anger you, so just watch the first thirty seconds of the Blooper Reel so you can hear everyone making fart noises with their mouths.
Because that really sums this one up. It’s just a messy fart noise from an angry penguin’s face. Don’t bother with this one, just wait for IT to come out on Blu-ray in January.
Film Grade: D
Special Features: Hate to repeat myself, but, dude—I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the one the behind-the-scenes doc that actually had Stephen King in it.
Blu-Ray Necessary: Better to adopt a mentally deranged octopus with a shoe fetish
-- T.S. Kummelman