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Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2017
If you go into this movie expecting any type of serious adaption of the DarkTower series previously written by King, you are bound to be very disappointed. I am going to go ahead and acknowledge that this film was incorrectly titled and marketed, so some of the criticism is deserved. If you've read the DarkTower series a few times, then you are aware that the series is somewhat circular. That being the case, this film could have easily have been marketed as a sequel to the series - more like a second, third, fourth, or fifth telling of the DarkTower saga. When viewed in this manner as a sequel and retelling of the saga of the gunslinger as he tries again and again, this film works very well. They could have started the movie with short scenes from the prior DarkTower books and then moved into the chase where a new journey starts over. This has a definite King stamp to it, there are serious aspects of Kings DarkTower series and his other accompanying - connected works throughout the movie (which is why I refer to it as DarkTower Concentrate). It's a really interesting story that I wish would have gone on longer and have been fleshed out and developed more. I truly believe that if they would have marketed this as a sequel to the initial DarkTower series, and called it something like "DarkTower - The Second telling\ The Gunslinger's Doubt" then it would have been much better received by fans. Anyway, this is all hindsight and it was not marketed or done this way. I thought the acting, visuals, and storyline was great - but it is a sharp departure from the original Dark Towers series ...........which is still begging to be made.
A darktower exists that protects the universe from a demonic apocalypse. The tower can be destroyed by the mind of a child. The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) is locked in an eternal struggle with the Last Gunslinger (Idris Elba), as one tries to bring the tower down and the other tries to defend it. One child is caught in the middle of it all.
What did I think?
I immediately wanted to watch more of The DarkTower when the credits rolled. Not because it was a stellar movie, but because I felt like there was SO much we didn’t see. Moviemakers saw fit to compress EIGHT Stephen King books into one movie, leaving the intriguing premise feeling rushed and under-explained. This needs to be a TV show so I can binge the crap out of it rather than a movie that piqued my interest but left me dissatisfied.
If you are looking for any of the images that the Stephen King series branded in your mind, go get a hot cup of electroshock. Yes, it is Roland and Jake vs the evil one for the fate of the universe. The acting is great, the movie itself is good to watch as an action flick. It is based on the work of Stephen King if you haven't read the novels. If you have, and let him create these worlds in your mind, you may be in for a large wtf! I think that Stephan King at his best creates a fabric in time and space that just can't be replicated in film. The mind movies you create reading win every time... I'm going to read all eight novels of the trilogy over, just for the brain flicks.
Take an old episode of Gunsmoke, add a scene from Blazing Saddles, one from any Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, a tower from Lord of the Rings:The Two Towers, one super psychic young teenage boy, a decrepit house in the midst of NYC, unlimited CGI effects, an evil near all-powerful Matthew McConaughey played by Matthew McConaughey, creatures made up to look like humans, phenomenal - literally out of this world - scientific equipment, paranormal and religious elements, bedraggled people living in sci-fi/medieval squalor with no kitchens or bathrooms, well shake them all together, and you have The DarkTower - Apocalyptic Garbage. You cannot justify this movie in any way just because the books that it was based on were far better and more complete. This film must stand or fall on its own merits which are sorely lacking. A tower in the center of the universe indeed! Exactly where is that location? And how do you reach it and destroy it with the mind of a child?! Even the fecund mind of Stephen King has overstepped the bounds of credulity.
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2017
Having said I will never watch it, because it didn't follow Stephen King's book series ... I started watching it thinking to myself, "I'm not going to like this movie. I refuse to like this movie. I don't know why I rented it. I guess so I could give it a bad review." Midway through the movie, "This is kind of fun." lol
It was an entertaining movie, but lacked any depth. It was not The DarkTower as I read by Stephen King. I am sad that there was no Eddie, No Detta/Susannah; no Oy. There were none of the characters or scenes I enjoyed so much. The movie wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t the DarkTower I loved to read.
This DarkTower film is not an adaptation of the books, and didn't try to be anything except a story in the DarkTower universe. If you read the books, you know that they end in such a way that we are told that Roland gets to fight his battle over and over until he gets it right. Only then can the story end. This is another retelling -- King set it up this way, and while I thought it was stupid when I read the books, now I get that he wanted to be able to tell the same story with different results as many times as he felt like doing it. So, if you wanted a retelling of the books, you will be disappointed. Otherwise this is a perfectly good movie. I enjoyed the visuals, especially the 'magical' guns. A lot of fun.
If you're a fan of the books like me, you'll appreciate this movie as long as you understand it probably wasn't designed to be a 7-part series. You'll appreciate the references to the books. They did an ok job of making the books in to a movie, but I wonder what the movie would be like to someone who hasn't read the books; I feel like it wouldn't make a lot of sense. I was hoping they were going to go all the way and bring this elaborate world and story to fruition, but they still made a decent movie. Roland played really well, but I didn't care for the portrayel of the man in black. Something was off. Worth seeing, just lower the bar a bit.
Before I start talking about the film I would like to say I have read the books and I think this is where I feel people are going wrong. There was no real way that this movie was going to fit such a long and complicated story into one film.
Now that is said and out of the way, what a cracking movie. I always had the idea of Roland as a cross between King Arthur and Clint Eastwood, Idris Elba nailed it. Also Jake's and Walter's roles were played almost to perfection. The books ending left me a little let down, you'll need to read them to understand, but the film ended much more clearly leaving me nicely satisfied. Action all the way with great effects to boot. I normally watch movies at home around gaming but not this one it got my undivided attention.
3.0 out of 5 starsThe movie arrived by the due date and in good condition. I was really looking forward to seeing ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2018
The movie arrived by the due date and in good condition. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie and I had high hopes, perhaps too high! I loved Idris Elba in Luther and Pacific Rim etc, he is a powerful towerhouse of an actor. In this movie however, his performance, while adequte, seemed too understated for this particular role, however, I must admit that I have not read the book, so perhaps he was playing the role true to how the character was written, I do hope so. All in all, the best bits of the movie was shown in the many previews I had already seen. But still it is worth watching for the great action sequences, particularly at the end of the movie.
5.0 out of 5 starsAlmost, nearly based on the books lol
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2019
Seemed a bit loosely based on the series by the Master Author Stephen King in some areas. Lot of obvious differences that can't quite be put here in black and white. Made me a bit reluctant to take it seriously at the start. Having said that, I did enjoy it enormously. The actors were, in my opinion, superb and fitted the story perfectly as it was cast. My only gripe in the end was, after getting into it, it seemed to be over to soon LoL.
Must admit Fantastic film on blu ray as I bought it on 4k can't watch it as 4k disc won't play on a top 4k player none of my other discs does that.This unfortunate at the moment as my time has run out too return item.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 12, 2018
Not really what I have come to expect from Stephen King and that's why I've resisted reading the books of this series. Film is too complicated and lacks the simplicity of "It" or "The Stand". No explanation or exploration is given about the Tower.