Lost in translation

August 22, 2017

Adaptation can be a tricky business. There’s the matter of translating written words into visual imagery (a task made a lot harder in the sci-fi and fantasy genres) but also catering to new and old audiences.

While the attempt has certainly been made in The Dark Tower, it is not a film that ticks every box. Based on the eight-book series by Stephen King, there was always going to be the problem of condensing so much material into one film.

Jake is a young boy from New York City plagued by strange dreams that aren’t dreams at all. Driven by visions of the Man in Black and the Gunslinger, Jake soon finds himself stepping through a portal to MidWorld where the mysterious Dark Tower exists.

As the only thing stopping monsters and darkness from enveloping our world, the Dark Tower must be protected at all costs, but the last of the Gunslingers sworn to protect it now only seeks revenge against the man who took everything away from him: the Man in Black.

The film’s biggest problem is that there is not enough time given to develop such a huge world. The intricacies are lost and often explanations are brushed aside for the sake of moving to another scene.

While Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are brilliant actors, there is little range for a truly great performance, and while newcomer Tom Taylor as Jake has the innocence of first-time acting, there are moments when the audience might feel there is a lack of true connection to the character.

We get snippets of character back-story and motivation, there’s no clues about what the Man in Black actually wants, or why, and the legend of the Gunslingers could have been more involved in the storyline.

Without reading or knowing the books it’s difficult to tell how faithful the story is. The Dark Tower leaves the viewer with more questions than answers, and with rumours of a television series in the pipeline, it will be interesting to see just where it goes from here.

Have you seen The Dark Tower? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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