Film buffs already know that Director Nikolaj Arcel can adapt a book into a great film. Anyone that's seen the original Swedish version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" can attest to that fact.
So what in the world happened to this hurried, truncated adaption of the first book in Stephen King's 8 book long "The Gunslinger" opus, THE DARK TOWER?
You've got a great Roland in Idris Elba (Prometheus, Beasts of No Nation). He's terrific as the last of the old fashioned gunslingers battling to keep many worlds safe from evil.
We have Matthew McConaughey in decent form as Walter, The Man in Black bent on destroying everything good in our world and every other.
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend, Fringe, The DaVinci Code) adapted the book and young Tom Taylor if a terrific choice as Jake, the young man who has a strong Shining that has him torn between, and important to two worlds.
Moments of the film are very strong, including the final gun battle, Roland's opening moments in Manhattan and some of the scenes between Roland and Jake as they bond in purpose.
But what happened to the rest of the story? It's as if the filmmakers delivered a coherent three hour movie and the studio decided to cut 50% of the film without regard to flow, plot points or coherency.
Major events happen and you're left to figure out their motive or impact. Characters appear and vanish at will. The rules of traveling between the worlds seem poorly defined and create no suspense. A little backstory on Roland and The Man in Black might have provided some context, a word that seems lost on this effort.
It feels like a movie begging for another 30-45 minutes to tell a story.
With so much talent and money behind launching a major new tent-pole film and TV series, this hatchet job renders a great story nearly senseless.
Hugely overshadowed by the FAR superior Stephen King adaption IT in theaters the summer of 2017, this flop feels like a brand killer.
What a shame and a waste of talent. It's fantastic to look at, while it lasts. Which isn't long.
It's okay to leave audiences wanting more, but not to serve them half a meal and then turn off the lights.
This short story in search of coherence gets a C-. Surely Arcel has a three hour version somewhere that will be released in a couple years to acclaim....OR, this whole damn thing got lost in translation.