Whenever you see a film that takes years and years to develop and passes through several hands and several rewrites and several budget is not a good sign the end product will be any good. I cite Seth Rogen's 2011 destruction of "The Green Hornet" as a prime example. It was horrid!


My general opinion is simple: If it's that difficult to get the film done, then let it go! Stephen King's Dark Tower series was written between 1998 and 2004 with him selling the movie rights soon thereafter. Initially J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek", "Mission: Impossible III", "Star Wars: The Force Awakens") originally looked at it, then ran like hell. Then Ron Howard was attached; he bailed on directing it but stuck around to produce it hiring Nikolaj Arcel ("A Royal Wedding"). Then Universal bailed and Sony Pictures picked it up after Warner Bros balked. Finally, after Russell Crowe bailed out. Then Daniel Craig, Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen and Javier Bardem were considered before Idris Elba and Matt McConaughey signed on.


The budget was cut at least twice with the final budget coming in at $60-million which included reshoots. Ironically Sony is the same studio that produced "The Green Hornet" with the big difference being that Sony didn't blow $120 million as the did on the Rogen debacle.

For those who have read the book series, forget what you have read because after all the re-writes and changes, it was decided this is a sequel to the last book The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower. This is odd because one of the main characters is Jake Chamber (Tom Taylor) who gets killed in the book series but is now back in the flesh in the sequel?


Jake in the film, is from New York and is the depressed son of Laurie (Katheryn Winnick) and stepson of Elmer (Karl Thaning). His real father was a firefighter who died in a fire and seems to be the cause of Jake's nightmares and visions. The visions he sees are glimpses to an alternate world where a Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and sorcerer (Matthew McConaughey) are playing a game of cat and mouse.


At the center of the game is a big dark tower which stands in the center of the universe maintaining balance. As long as the tower is there there is harmony (as it were) in the universe. If the tower falls however, the dark elements from outside the universe will overrun and create havoc.

The gunslinger - whose name is Roland - is like a Jedi Knight, there to keep the piece and order. The sorcerer nick-named The Man In Black - but whose real name is Walter - wants to topple the tower. He can do so by using the pure thoughts of a child which he runs through quite regularly. But what do you know, it turns out Jake is the kid he's been looking for.


Jake narrowly escapes capture by two of Walters minions, and finds his way to mid-world where Roland is roaming the desert. Roland is a bit pissed because Walter whacked his dad. So he isn't happy to see Jake until he realizes how important Jake is to Walter. It is now Walter chasing Roland to get the boy while Roland is chasing Walter to kill him. Got it?


Both Walter and Roland are not well developed as characters go. You'd kind of like to find out what kind of sorcery Walter practices since it resembles "Star Wars" dark side of the Force with a dab of Neo's "The Matrix" capabilities. Does he have a boss like Darth Vader did or is he omnipotent? The same is true with Roland, all we know is he carries on his father's tradition but has a stronger resistance to Roland's mind tricks. But he's more like a Han Solo than a Luke Skywalker in that he just shoots a lot.


The stunts and special effects have all been seen before. Roland is no better than Will Smith's Deadshot from "Suicide Squad" and most of Walters magic couldn't get him a spot in "Now You See Me". And I'd swear I've seen those portals in a couple of other films! The entire film has the feel of a budget cut including costuming and fight scenes. Jackie Earle Haley and Dennis Haysbert are totally wasted while McConaughey could have been a bit more villainous.


After all is said and done, the film is so insufficient it barely makes sense. It reminds you of the adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune series into the awful 1984 film.


"The Dark Tower" plays like an incomplete film with underdeveloped characters, stock room stunts and effects, and a story that seems pieced together. It is an amazing waste of talent and falls into that file of films that should have been shelved permanently.   -- GEOFF BURTON