That sound you’re hearing is our worst fears beginning to manifest after The Dark Tower‘s initial wave of reviews today painted the Sony-backed fantasy flick as an incoherent and “thoroughly average” rendition of the King classic.
Not that we can say we didn’t see this coming; earlier this week, Variety cast light on The Dark Tower‘s supposed production woes, revealing that Nikolaj Arcel’s creative vision was boxed in by internal disputes involving Sony, Stephen King, Media Rights Capital (MRC), and Arcel himself. All parties allegedly reached a compromise through a series of restrictive vetoes, and those familiar with King’s eight-part saga will know all too well that The Dark Tower movie adaptation is actually a continuation of the entire series, as opposed to a one-for-one translation.
And at least based on this preliminary critical consensus, cramming so much story into a 95-minute window only exacerbated the film’s issues, as you’ll be able to glean from the review round-up below. And, well, if there’s one outlet that didn’t pull any punches, it’s Uproxx, which labeled The Dark Tower to be a waste of time and energy from top to bottom. Ouch.
Keep your eyes trained on We Got This Covered over the coming days for our own verdict on Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower, but until then, you’ll be able to find a sampling of those scathing reviews down below. They’re relatively light on spoilers, too.
IGN: “A thoroughly average take on some truly incredible source material. For a story where the literal fate of the universe is at stake, it’s disappointingly easy to not really care about anything that’s happening onscreen.”
IndieWire: “Even newbies will likely be left in the dust as Jake and Roland bounce through locations and plot movements with jarring irregularity, as they’re forced to judge for themselves just how important each person and place really is to the larger story.”
The Guardian: “It’s rare a film so convoluted manages to be so determinedly boring. Lucky for you, it vanishes from the mind as soon as it ends. There’s a point somewhere in the misshapen second act that an attentive viewer can feel all the parties involved giving up and resolving to get the rest of the movie over with as soon as possible.”
USA Today: “While most high-profile franchise starters try to do too much their first time out, this thing’s guilty of too little ambition.”
Uproxx: “So astoundingly awful that when you leave the theater you’ll likely be less mad you wasted your time than flabbergasted that something like this could a) happen and b) be released as something that, theoretically, is going to launch a multi-platform franchise.”
The Dark Tower opens Stateside August 4th before making its way across the pond in time for August 18th. And in light of these scathing reviews, it’s fair to say that Sony’s multi-platform plans have gotten off on the wrong foot. Word is that the studio still plans to move forward with that spinoff TV series, which has now tapped The Walking Dead alum Glen Mazzara to take point at the helm.