Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series has long been considered ‘unfilmable’. With eight books, totalling 4,250 pages, it’s an enormous work of dense mythology and meta callbacks to the rest of King’s books. It can still be considered unfilmable, because this awful adaptation will likely baffle fans and newcomers alike.
Four screenwriters and director Nikolaj Arcel have approached the problem of explaining the books’ complex plot by opting to explain nothing. We’re told that in the centre of the universe stands a tower protecting us from outside forces. An evil man (Matthew McConaughey with ‘Zoolander’ hair and cheque-cashing eyes) is kidnapping children to power a tower-toppling weapon.
His search hones in on a troubled boy (Tom Taylor) who crosses over to the evil man’s world and teams up with a gunslinger (Idris Elba) to stop him. We’re given none of the connective tissue to make sense of these elements. Instead, it rushes through scenes as if eager to be over as quickly as possible. Thankfully it is, within 95 minutes.