A quest to fight evil

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By 2017-08-13

By Nirupa Mohan
Ceylon Today Features

The science fiction fantasy film The Dark Tower, based on the best-selling novel series of the same name by Stephen King, released in Sri Lanka recently.

The film follows in the premise from The Dark Tower Vll: The Dark Tower, while also compiling elements from the eight-volume series as well as The Shining and Doctor Sleep. It still manages to deliver what feels like a clear sequel to some of the events that take place in the books.

The 95 minute film by director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel, was produced together by Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman and Erica Huggins in collaboration with production companies Imagine Entertainment, MRC and Weed Road. The film received a rating of just 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6/10 on IMDb, failing to satisfy fans of the series, while being a let down to the intended film franchise.

The film initially intended to set the tone for a follow-up TV series that was meant to fill in the back story. It was made with a budget of 60 million dollars but managed to rake in just over 29 million dollars at the worldwide box office, proving to be a clear financial disappointment. The story, like the title suggests, centres around the Dark Tower which initially seems like a dream and are visions that Jake Chambers (played by Tom Taylor) has. But he soon realizes that it''s an alternate universe. Set in a war that''s dragged thousands of generations, gunslingers act as knights, sworn to protect the worlds from the dark.

Two individuals take centre stage in the battle. Idris Elba stars as the last Gunslinger – Roland Deschain – who fights to protect the Dark Tower, while Matthew McConaughey plays the role of the Man in Black – Walter O''Dim – who is determined to destroy the tower and unleash evil, death and destruction. The film features a cast that pulls off what''s needed, with Abbey Lee, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley and Fran Kranz doing a sufficient job. The lead cast members, especially the young actor Tom Taylor taking on a lead character, showed dimension, a lot of range and character, even in a fish out of water type of role, with him in a new world, and then with him back home, as he becomes the one who knows the ropes.

This is a straightforward movie, with visions becoming something that''s real, supported by an obvious need to protect the tower. The plot follows the cast as they travel through portals and parallel universes to stop the bad guys, plagued by revenge and to prevent The Dark Tower from being destroyed, with focus on saving the world and billions of people from death. It''s also backed by mild comedy.

The film feels rushed with elements from different parts of the series put together, though a trilogy would have given the story space to breathe. But this is a film that''s clearly condensed to fit in as much as possible within the given time-frame, making the story lose a lot. But there is a possibility that the TV series that''s meant to follow might be better and not feel as rushed. Not all book adaptations meet viewer expectations, and this conventional film feels rushed, though it is not a complete disappointment.

In a battle between good and evil, with a mythical structure at the core, The Dark Tower is the key that holds the universe together and supports many realities. This is a movie that''s not deep in plot or is one that can keep you at the edge of your seat, but it is one that will just keep you mildly entertained.

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