It looks like ‘Pet Sematary’ is not the only terrible Stephen King film adaptation I have seen yet. Yes, Mary Lambert’s 1989 horror – Ahem! – classic was a nonsensical and grotesque piece of camp, but there was something entertaining in its cheesy demeanor. In Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of ‘The Dark Tower’; King’s 8-part series of books, however, the entertainment factor goes down to zero. This movie had potential to be a great epic, instead, it fell flat from the word “Go!”. I had more fun trying to spot the many Easter Eggs hidden throughout than I did sitting through this badly acted lackluster. Excuse that understatement! “Bad” is no way to describe the experience of watching this film; let’s go with “Boring”. Not since ‘Twilight’ have I seen actors feel like they wanted to collect their paychecks and wanted to go home from another day of work, hence a few alright performances from Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, who at least try; being huge names and all.
Elba plays a gunslinger named Roland, who ends up being the last of his kind, when his father (Dennis Haysbert) dies at the hands of a mysterious, shadowy figure known as The Man in Black (McConaughey), who wants to use the minds of children to destroy the Dark Tower in order to bring darkness to Earth (Sounds like a silly plot!). The tower serves as a barrier between Earth and a post-apocalyptic Western-style world known as ‘Mid-World’. Whatever type of destruction the tower faces in Mid-World is easily interpreted as earthquakes in our world.
The introduction to our clichéd fantasy hero, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), begins with one of those “earthquakes”. I am not using the word “clichéd” lightly, either. He is a boy who lives with his caring mother and abusive stepfather (Check!), while being plagued by both the loss of his biological father (Check!), and dreams that turn out to be real (Check!). From that moment, we know the movie is cursed; the lazy performances don’t even help with the sympathetic value of the story. I don’t even want to say more, other than what follows are portals between two worlds and plenty of references to Stephen King’s past works. Come to think about it, the only darkness being set on our world is not from the Man in Black! It, instead, comes from this movie! If I could say anything good about ‘The Dark Tower’, it would be the scenes where Roland teaches Jake what it means to be a true gunslinger, as well as Roland entering Earth.