Sometimes, a movie is so awful that it’s almost worth seeing.
Almost, but not quite.
“The Dark Tower,” based on a series of eight novels by Stephen King, is arguably the worst King adaptation since the terrible “Dreamcatcher.” It is confusing, cheesy and laughable, and will make for excellent entertainment only for those who revel in unintentionally hilarious films.
The main character here is Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor, television’s “Doctor Foster,”) a misunderstood teen who lives with his mom and her jerk of a boyfriend in New York City. Jake, like so many other troubled young people in movies, spends his time making creepy drawings.
Like so many other adults in such films, the mom and the boyfriend decide that Jake has some kind of psychological problem. So they send him off with a couple of weird-acting strangers to a “special school.”
We know right away that Jake is in for a rough time, and so does Jake, so he escapes through this portal thingie into another world. That’s where he meets gunslinger Roland (Idris Elba), who is trying to save the world from a magician known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey, not Johnny Cash).
The magician wants to destroy the Dark Tower, which I guess is pretty much the center of the universe. It’s the tower that keeps evil forces at bay from us earthlings.
Jake has “The Shine” – yes, you’re thinking about “The Shining” now, aren’t you? – and can beings in other worlds. These, of course, are the creatures that populate his drawings.
Guess who becomes a target of The Man in Black?
As this story unfolds – rather, devolves – we’re treated to ridiculous expository dialogue that no one could retain.
You will see about three minutes of something that is very like a movie when the gunslinger ends up in a contemporary hospital, where Jake must give him cues so that he can talk with attending staff members. The scene plays out as more of an accident than a saving grace, so I couldn’t bring myself to give this turkey even half a star for it.
Computer-generated imagery abounds in scenes of shattered glass, looming monsters and other sequences that make this complicated yet bland mess more worthy of a Syfy television debut than the big screen.
I watched this with a fellow critic who tried valiantly to contain his mirth until the second half of the show. By then, he was convulsing with laughter, and so was I.
I’m guessing that you will be, too.