The Dark Tower [2017]: A stupendous lesson in how to ruin the essence of a perfectly good novel while translating it to the silver screen.

An embarrassment to feature film adaptations, The Dark Tower is a bland, banal & boring mess from start to finish. Discarding all the elements & complexities that earned its source material a devoted fan following, the film brings Stephen King’s sprawling mythology to cinematic life in an exceptionally dull & disappointing fashion, and is as forgettable as it is incoherent.

Based on Stephen King’s novel series of the same name, The Dark Tower features a good vs evil story and covers the eternal battle between a gunslinger who attempts to protect a mythical structure that holds the universe together and a powerful sorcerer who intends to destroy it. And stuck in the middle of this conflict is a young boy who turns out to be the key piece of the puzzle.

Co-written & directed by Nicolaj Arcel, there is no attempt whatsoever to familiarise the audience with the aspects of the world present in the story, nor is there any sign of a sturdy groundwork for its mythology to stand upon. It fails to introduce the relevant characters properly, and also lacks a prologue which, if well-crafted, could’ve helped bring the viewers into its world from the start and began the journey on the right foot.

Instead, it’s as if the writers quickly glanced through the novels in order to find the most simplistic narrative they could work with and then filled it up with a dumbed-down storyline, predictable events, weak characterisation & lazy exposition while also incorporating all the clichés that come associated with the genre. There is no sense of adventure, no meat on characters’ arcs, no substance in story content, and even the action segments are lame & lifeless.

Technical aspects don’t matter much when the movie fails at even the basic aspects of storytelling. But even if considered separately, there is nothing impressive about it. The set pieces don’t exhibit any weight or sense of grandeur. Camerawork is uneven. Editing is sloppy, plus its 95-minute runtime feels way too short for a picture that’s supposed to be the starting point of a dense mythology. Visual effects aren’t seamless either, and its background score is equally uninspiring.

Coming to the performances, the film packs a fine ensemble in Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim & others, but none of them manage to leave a lasting impression in their given roles. Elba at least tries to carry the film to an extent all by himself but he isn’t provided with enough material to take it past the finish line. McConaughey’s character isn’t even remotely intimidating as the antagonist while Taylor plays the 11 year old seer that no one in the audience gives a damn about. The rest of the inputs are insignificant.

On an overall scale, The Dark Tower is a first-rate lesson in how to make a terrible film and ruin the essence of a perfectly good novel while translating it to the film canvas. One of the dullest films to surface this year, it is a total misfire that’s confusing & unsure of its own intentions, is crafted with no heart or passion, and is deficient in all departments of filmmaking. An awful amalgamation of soulless direction, poor writing, lacklustre storytelling & stale performances that could not be redeemed by even the charismatic duo of Elba & McConaughey, The Dark Tower is fantasy filmmaking gone horribly wrong. Just skip it.

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