Yes, it's bad. But there are some things to like in The Dark Tower, directed by Nikolaj Arcel, the new adaptation of Stephen King's epic novel series. Just as in the books, an evil sorcerer named The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) orders around his henchpeople -- actually rat people -- who must don human skin suits to travel around Keystone Earth undetected. (Yes, this is dense; please stick with me.) In the film, all of these henchrats choose white skin. This simply happens, and the film makes no comment on it. But the white skins make a perverse sense. Whiteness gives them easier access to everything on Earth, especially the children they have to kidnap. When they come to take away our boy-hero Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), I wondered why Jake's mom willingly releases her son, but then realized, "Their white faces are that trustworthy to her!"
We're also introduced to a Mid-World village of seers who are good and kind. These villagers are a diverse mix of Asian, black, Arab, Native, Latinx and white. I know that most viewers will be focused on the drab imagery, the boring special effects and the more boring story. But I'm telling you there are actual upsides, and they all have to do with the casting, courtesy of casting directors Marisol Roncali and Mary Vernieu.
But aside from my being delighted that this fantasy world was properly diverse, I was also delighted that every actor is perfect for their role. Idris Elba's deadpan never fails to inspire a laugh, and Matthew McConaughey is a nightmare -- in a good way. But I'm all out of good things now.
Nikolaj ArcelIdris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley, Katheryn WinnickStephen King, Nikolaj Arcel, Anders Thomas Jensen, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff PinknerAkiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Erica HugginsSony Pictures