'The Dark Tower' is a forgettable 'Lord of the Rings'-'Matrix' mashup

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Tower' stars Tom Taylor as the young Jake Chambers, whose dreams include visions of a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and a gunslinger (Idris Elba).

Ilze Kitshoff/Columbia Pictures/Sony/AP
Idris Elba (l.) and Matthew McConaughey star in 'The Dark Tower.'

I am far from a completist when it comes to Stephen King in general or his eight-book “Dark Tower” series in particular, but the hour-and-a-half movie that Danish director Nikolaj Arcel has carved out of them, with sequels in the offing, resembles nothing so much as a mashup of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Matrix” reimagined for the young adult crowd.

The best parts of the movie are its opening sequences – never a good sign. New York youngster Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), whose firefighter father has recently died, is beset with disturbing dreams in which he envisions a doomy Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and an equally forbidding gunslinger (Idris Elba), who also favors dark duds. (He’s the good guy.) Everybody on Earth, or Keystone Earth as it’s called here, regards Jake as bonkers, but he (and we) know otherwise. He ends up passing through portals into multiverses where he becomes a participant in his own terrorscapes.

The direction is fairly formulaic, the special effects are nothing special, and except for Elba and McConaughey, who square off against each other in a series of ho-hum set pieces, the cast is forgettable. So is the movie. Grade: C (Rated PG-13 for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action.) 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'The Dark Tower' is a forgettable 'Lord of the Rings'-'Matrix' mashup
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Movies/2017/0804/The-Dark-Tower-is-a-forgettable-Lord-of-the-Rings-Matrix-mashup
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe