When it comes to watching movie adaptations, do you try to read the book first? Usually I prefer to read the book prior to seeing its movie adaptation, but there are times when a movie just looks so good that I don’t want to wait until I’ve read the book…particularly if the movie in question is based on a series, rather than a single novel. This is what happened with The Dark Tower.
“A tower stands at the center of the universe protecting us from darkness. It is said the mind of a child can bring it down.”The Dark Tower (2017)
At the beginning of The Dark Tower, a young boy named Jake is having visions of a Man in Black, who seeks to use the minds of children to destroy the Tower. Jake’s mother and step-father have dismissed his dreams as trauma from his father’s death, and are pushing him to go to a psychiatric center that is supposedly affiliated with his school. Unfortunately, Jake’s visions have landed him on the Man in Black’s radar, and the people who arrive to take Jake to the center turn out to be his agents. Jake manages to escape into the world he has been dreaming about, Mid-World, and begins to search for the only person who can help protect the Tower, a Gunslinger by the name of Roland.
I really enjoyed watching The Dark Tower. The movie is very exciting, with a tremendous amount of action, great special effects, and a wonderful soundtrack. The characters are also very interesting, and they were ultimately the reason that I liked the movie so much.
The acting in this movie is phenomenal. I loved seeing Idris Elba as the Gunslinger, and felt like he fit that role really well. While I think Jake’s journey is important, the Gunslinger’s story is what really drives the narrative. There is a lot of emotional depth to the character, and Elba did a wonderful job of bringing that out, particularly in his interactions with Jake (played by Tom Taylor).
Matthew McConaughey also delivered a fantastic performance as the Man in Black. I haven’t seen very many movies in which McConaughey plays an antagonist, and I was really impressed with just how well he does in those types of roles.
The Dark Tower is based on the Stephen King series by the same name. While I would normally spend some time comparing the movie to its source material, I am not able to do that this time since I have not read the series. What I can say is that the movie is significantly shorter than the books (of which there are eight). It’s just not possible to pack the contents of eight full-length novels into a movie that is just over 90 minutes in length, so I have to imagine that a tremendous amount of material was probably cut when it was turned into a movie.
That being said, I highly recommend giving this movie a chance. I do believe that it was very well done, and if you can view it without looking through the “this is an adaptation” lens, I think you will enjoy it a great deal. Personally, watching the movie has made me want to read the books, which I will be doing as soon as possible.