‘The Dark Tower’ Early Reviews: The Dark Shadow Of What Could Have Been

Early reviews for The Dark Tower starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are in, and the overall consensus is that the film is a deeply flawed adaptation

After its eight year-long development process, Sony’s adaptation of renowned author Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is finally hitting UK cinemas this month, and it has many fans extremely excited, to say the least. Starring big-name, talented actors Idris Elba, as the Gunslinger, and Matthew McConaughey, as The Man in Black, the film has attracted much attention over the last 18 months or so, following the first wave of leaked images from the set. The Dark Tower‘s long gestating process, though, comes with some alarm bells as it was widely publicised that the movie had encountered a few issues to do with early criticisms following test screenings, and according to some of the early critic reviews shown below it is noticeable that Tower has plenty of unfulfilled potential.

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The studio spent a reported $6 million on reshoots for the movie, that were said at the time to have been undertaken to flesh out Idris Elba’s gunslinger character a little more. The results are somewhat questionable, though, looking at some of the official reviews displayed below, none of the characters are progressed or detailed in any real way, and neither is the world in which the story takes place.

It’s most disheartening to read comments such as, “You can see glimmers of a more ambitious, exciting movie”, via Collider‘s Matt Goldberg, because of how much work goes into creating films, and for the project to then be represented by a finished product that doesn’t reflect the potential that existed there is a real shame. It seems that Tower ultimately lands in the ‘watch once and forget about it’ category, neither a complete disaster of a movie, nor anything to ride home about.

Collider‘s Matt Goldberg:

“The Dark Tower doesn’t even really do us the courtesy of being laughably bad. That would take some level of ambition, which the movie studiously avoids at almost every turn. Instead, it simply exists, eager to be overlooked and forgotten. It’s a shame that this adaptation didn’t have the funding or the vision to be something remarkable because you can see glimmers of a more ambitious, exciting movie. Sadly, Arcel approaches the story with a flat, uninteresting style, never daring to challenge his audience, invest in his characters, or give us a reason to care. The Dark Tower doesn’t fall because of a child’s mind. It falls because it’s too embarrassed to stand.”


Image via Sony/Columbia Pictures

IGN‘s Marty Silva:

“The deeply flawed and compellingly tragic characters that King created are one-dimensional in their on-screen adaptations because the motivations that give them that depth are completely lost to the wind. That’s not to say the performances are bad – in fact, I absolutely adore the casting of the leads. […] But there’s no meat on the bone of the script for arguably two of the finest actors of our time to really dig in and give us something we haven’t seen before.”

THR‘s John DeFore

“Though far from the muddled train wreck we’ve been led to expect, this Tower lacks the world-constructing gravitas of either the Tolkien books that inspired King or the franchise-launching movies that Sony execs surely have in mind. Though satisfying enough to please many casual moviegoers drawn in by King’s name and stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, it will likely disappoint many serious fans and leave other newbies underwhelmed.”

The Wrap‘s Dan Callahan:

“Most of the scenes in “The Dark Tower” feel like a desperate compromise of some kind, and often there seem to be scenes missing that would simply get us from one point to another. With fantasy material like this, we need to be made to believe in the inventions and the conceits, and we cannot do that if they are shot and staged in such a truncated and perfunctory way.”


Image via Sony/Columbia Pictures


The Dark Tower shoots into UK cinemas August 18th.

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Sources: Multiple (links above)
By: @andyjmorgan2

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