What You See Is What You Get – ‘The Dark Tower’ Review

Let me begin this review by stating, I have not read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series that this movie is based upon. So, I went in with zero preconceptions or notions about what to expect, aside from what I had seen in the trailers. This being said, what you see is completely what you get as it pertains to The Dark Tower movie.

The film follows a young boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) as he battles frequent dreams where he sees monsters, children being tortured, the ‘Man in Black’ (Matthew McConaughey), a dark tower and the gunslinger (Idris Elba). Jake draws what he sees and through frequent sessions with a shrink and talks with his mother, they tell him that it’s all a dream; a coping mechanism after a tragedy.

But as we know, Jake’s dreams are actual visions. He is seeing things that have happened or are happening and knows that the events in this other realm could mean the demise of our world too. Not to mention he’s being hunted by the very people he’s been seeing in his dreams.

While he’s on the run, he discovers the place he’s seen in his dreams and enters the portal into Mid-World. Once there, he encounters Roland Deschain – the Gunslinger. The unlikely pair head off through the vast deserted wasteland and into sprawling forests where trouble catches up with them at every turn.

By this time, Walter Padick – the ‘Man in Black’ knows that someone has entered their world using one of the portals. He can sense Jake and knows that he’s with the last of the gunslingers, Roland. The fight eventually makes it to our world, putting even more people in danger.

Idris Elba;Tom Taylor
Roland Deschain and Jake Chambers in New York City (Photo credit: Sony Pictures/Jessica Miglio)

The premise excited me and the fact that Idris Elba was one of the film’s stars, was even more incentive to go see it. I ended up with an advance screening ticket to see the movie on Wednesday night and although, I enjoyed the movie, there was nothing there to blow me away. It was quite formulaic in terms of plot and doesn’t offer up much emotionally, save for two scenes that stand out to me that I do not want to spoil for anyone.

The performances were great from newcomer, Tom Taylor and Idris’s stoicism and constant bravery on his quest for revenge against Walter was fun to watch. Something about McConaughey’s performance was a bit comedic as opposed to sinister at times, and something tells me that it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

If you went into the film, looking to be completely blown away by something epic, you will probably leave the theater feeling very dissatisfied. I expect the same could be said about any who have read King’s books.  Plain and simple, the movie was good. It wasn’t great or epic and there were no truly standout scene-stealing moments, but it had some cool action scenes and Idris Elba.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you should know what to expect. When it comes to The Dark Tower what you see, is what you get.

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