The Dark Tower, 2017
Signed up the 28/03/2017
I enjoy genre mash-ups, especially ones that have taken care to blend just about perfect enough to not insult audiences who pick up on these things. The Dark Tower sees action, adventure, horror, SciFi and western customs whisked together to create a story that is just about brave enough in its mystism and mythology.
The result is an entertaining emphasis on creative storytelling that caters to both kids and their brooding adult supervision. You don't get a lot of this balance these days with movies that have a kid as their centric character- as studios focus more on appealing to whoever has the money- usually not the kids!
Jake is a primary school-aged kid who is known to be a little peculiar. This makes him a target at school as the kids who run the school label him a weirdo. This kid is haunted by dreams of the Dark Tower each night. He illustrates what he sees when he is jolted away. His family is obviously worried about his odd nature, and they eventually try to send him off to a mental institution to get help with whatever goes on in his head that is clearly not "normal". Jake, though, is convinced that he isn't as unhinged as people think, and that these nightmares he has are actually visions. This ultimately drives him to journey into another world/dimension, on a search for a renowned gunslinger, Roland (played by Idris Elba)- who comes from a family line that is knighted with duties of protecting the tower Jake sees in his dreams.
The statement that persists throughout this movie is that there is good and evil, and no matter what or who you believe in both these sides do exist, and that people are almost always enclined to one or the other. Jake is pure and courageous. The kid can tell good from bad according to his own perception and values. These very principles come into question when he insists on seeing the good in Roland, even when Roland proves himself to be self-involved and destructive. Roland has abandoned his duty to protect the tower, and instead now dedicates the rest of his days to tracking down his nemesis, with hopes of making him suffer for ruining his life. This yearn for vengeance results in children being harmed or put to death, and endangers the world as a whole. So how can Jake still put so much faith in this guy's "goodness", while at the same time being so convinced that The Man in Black is super evil for showing the same destructive qualities as Roland?
Given the troubles the movie had during production- last minute re-edits and multiple release-date pushbacks, and such- this movie should be given credit for managing to still possess a dramatic charge as any other movie made today. This movie was doomed from the minute reports came out that it was struggling during production. Everyone who has any business driving the narrative around a movie decided there and then that such a plagued movie isn't worthy of praise. I've followed the movie's write-ups since production, and I can tell you that the movie's fate was decided long before the movie's promo run. And that pronouncement, unfortunately, sees most movies to their grave. What's worse is that the powers-that-be follow each other's lead when it comes to the appraisal of a film. So if one big publication decides that a movie deserves a negative score, it's likely that the discussion post that founding review will be negative. Simply put, none of them want to be divided from the pack lest they lose a significant amount of their following and support. Alas.
The Dark Tower takes us on an action-adventure embedded with religious undertones. The plot is super relevant, especially to young kids who are curious about the world around them- while they try to establish for themselves what distiguishes good from bad. The Dark Tower, though flawed in some of its potrayal of its own moral codes, is a good old lesson on decency.
I wish critics were patient enough to see these kind of movies for what they are instead of rating them according to their own expections. But that's only a wish. All I can say is The Dark Tower is a worthy watch.
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