First Hit: Story lacked punch and was not compelling. Having seen “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and witnessing the real life demise of our planet, followed by watching a film where the falling of some tower in some unknown place will destroy the world seemed silly.
In addition, two of the three main characters were either miscast or poorly directed. The Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey) looked like he step right out of his Ford Lincoln Continental commercial and into this role. Both his attitude and look said this every time he came on the screen.
On the other hand, the guy saving all the worlds from The Man In Black, Roland Deschain aka The Gunslinger (Idris Elba) seemed to carry the energy that I would have contributed to the man trying to destroy the worlds.
The third character Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) was the only one of these three that kept true to his role, a young boy, with dreams that foresaw the pending calamity if something isn’t done.
However, gathering up and shooting bright smart children’s energy at the Dark Tower to collapse it, seemed dumb to me. Although I know this story comes from a series of well-read and popular books, how it plays out in this film attempts to make everyone’s imagination and internal interpretation the same. And this interpretation lacked soul and was not compelling.
In essence, since Jake’s father died in a fire, protecting and saving others, Jake’s has dreams of the children being harvested, The Man In Black using them to collapse the tower and world. He also dreams about The Gunslinger who is, alone, trying to save the world.
The physical world is supporting his dreams because each time a child’s energy is shot at the dark tower an earthquake happens on earth and he feels it.
In the waking hours Jake draws his dreams and although psychologists keep telling him their “only dreams”, Jake is convinced it’s all real. When The Man In Black sends his earthly New York agent Sayre (Jackie Earle Haley) to collect young Jake, he escapes and finds himself going through a portal where he meets The Gunslinger.
McConaughey is just too slick, smarmy, and straight out of a high end commercial to make this role work. Elba is good, however I’m not sure he needed to be so dark spirited in this role. It was almost like he and McConaughey could have switched roles. Taylor was very good and I thought he did a great job of being both strong and naive. Haley is always strong in his roles and here is no exception. He gives it his all. Katheryn Winnick as Jake’s mother was good but I’m not sure it is believable that she would send Jake away. Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner wrote the screenplay, which I didn’t find very compelling. Nikolaj Arcel was the director and as I’ve previously stated I didn’t think the film worked very well.
Overall: I have heard that this was supposed to be the first in a series of films based on these books, I’d recommend that they re-think this strategy.