Arts & Leisure

“Dark Tower” film isn’t the book, but …

IDRIS ELBA and Tom Taylor in “The Dark Tower.”

By Jim Tortolano

If you read the Stephen King novel “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” you may be disappointed in the new film “The Dark Tower,” but only in the sense that it takes quite a few liberties with the book.

But if you settle into your seat at the cineplex blissfully unaware of the details of the book, you will probably be quite pleased. “Dark Tower,” as directed by Nikolaj Arcel, is a very entertaining and likable yarn.

This is the story of a misunderstood young boy living in New York City (Tom Taylor) who finds himself stumbling into a portal to another reality called Mid-World. It’s a desolate place in the obvious aftermath of a global catastrophe. Looming over the landscape is the mysterious Dark Tower.

The lad, Jake Cambers, happens upon a taciturn gunslinger by the name of Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who is sort of the last of the Jedi Knights. The good guys – gunslingers and their allies – have all but been wiped out by the coolly menacing Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and his rat-faced minions.

There are three strong performances here, and the storyline combines elements of the Wild West, sci-fi, childhood tall tales and urban fantasy.

As it turns out, the Dark Tower is the edifice that keeps all the separate universes in their proper places. If it’s destroyed – the Man in Black’s chief mission – all life and existence everywhere will be destroyed.

The action switches back and forth between Mid-World and our “Keystone Earth,” and has plenty of shoot-em-up action and philosophical import. It’s the classic tale of good vs. evil, but also about a boy’s journey toward becoming a man.

Yes, this is not a literal translation of the book onto the screen. But if you are literate in the art of enjoying a good blend of action and acting, this is a good place to settle in with your popcorn.

“The Dark Tower” is rated PG-13 for violence and action.

 

 

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