Snapshots - #31: The Dark Tower, Wonder Woman


The movies…
The Dark Tower (♦♦♦♦): Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), an 11-year-old boy from New York City, has had dreams of impending world doom for a year. He always dreams more or less the same things: a Man in Black who wants to destroy a dark tower that stands at the center of the universe—holding it together and keeping it safe from dark, mysterious forces that lie on the outside. There is also a "tall, dark, and handsome" gunslinger who is supposed to protect the tower.

What Jake doesn't know is that the mind of a very special child can bring down the tower, and that the Man in Black crosses children, through portals across worlds, to sacrifice their minds, hoping that they fall the tower. The children's mind-beams rattle the tower from time to time, and echo on earth causing earthquakes.
The Man in Black, whose name is Walter (Matthew McConaughey), is a sorcerer who has killed all gunslingers in Mid-World. Only Roland of Eld (Idris Elba), whose guns are forged of the same material as Excalibur, has resisted his mind tricks and that has kept him alive, for now. Jake Chambers is the "full package, the jackpot" for having "the Shine" (off the charts psychic powers). With his "Shine", Jake can locate Walter, but that makes him visible too. He could fall the tower if in sufficient pain or anger, which he is, but Roland now has taken Jake under his wing hoping that Jake will lead him to Walter so he can exact his revenge.
The Dark Tower is, by far, my third favorite movie of the year after The Exception and Wonder Woman. Its cinematography, direction, script—adapted from Stephen King's series—, as well as the editing, are all superb. So is its world building: sorcery and portals through worlds are reminiscent of Doctor Strange, but the comparisons stop there; The Dark Tower is its own movie.
In The Dark Tower there is the eternal fight between good and evil, a strong paranormal element, which I love in books and movies, a balance between the action scenes and the more dramatic elements, a lot of firepower, and performances by the three leading men that easily elevate this production to the level of an artsy film. McConaughey is superb as a baddie: elegant in black and simply cool as a cucumber, while Elba is pure fire (figuratively and literally), with a marshmallow heart that won me over.
It is a pity that this film didn't perform better at the box office because that would have guaranteed a continuation of this series.

Wonder Woman (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, has grown up in the mythical island of Themyscira, sheltered away from mankind, its temptations, and danger. Her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Queen of the Amazons, has ensured that Diana doesn't know her true origins despite having allowed her to train with the general of her army, her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright).
When pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crashes on the beach pursued by men intent on killing him, Diana and the Amazons learn of a great conflagration being fought in the world outside; a war to end all wars. Diana feels that that's what she has trained for all her life: to defeat the god of war, Ares, and restore peace to mankind. She must be allowed to go; her mother, knowing that Diana will never return, reluctantly agrees.
Moreover, while there are talks in London's high circles of an armistice, German General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) has other plans. Together with a chemist nicknamed Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya), General Ludendorff plans to unleash a weapon so lethal that may change the course of the war.
Diana, Steve, and other three renegades, travel to the site in Belgium, traversing the Western Front, to stop General Ludendorff, Doctor Poison, and their prospective reign of terror.
I'm on my second viewing of Wonder Woman. The first time I saw this movie a month ago I wasn't that impressed, but I think I was under the effects of all the rave reviews and its great performance at the box office and that clouded my judgment somewhat. I knew then I had to give it some time and watch it again because I wanted to review it.
Anyways, Wonder Woman is a perfect movie. From its female director pulling off the amazing feat of putting together this huge superhero production; the lush feel of the story, somewhat reminiscent of the original Thor; the female, very beautiful protagonist with a skimpy costume whose sex appeal attracts male audiences, while the innocence and brainy mythology of the Diana Prince character, added to her kickass attitude, appeal to girls of all ages. In Wonder Woman there is a superhero for all.
The action is credible and spot on, particularly the war scenes that show devastation without carnage. The musical score punctuates the narrative well, from action scenes to the romantic ones. Not for a moment one glances a watch distractedly to guess when the movie might be over. Not even that was left to chance. There was also a delicate balance between the romance and the rest of the story. The romantic element didn't overpower the rest, and humanized the character even more.
Wonder Woman will be a tough act to follow for the DC universe. I hope they take great care to put together all the single pieces that make or break a movie the way the filmmakers did for this production.

Comments

  1. Mmm...Idris Elba! I'll watch anything with him in it, so I'll have to check out The Dark Tower. I've heard nothing but good things about Wonder Woman, so I think it must be really special. It's good to see that you enjoyed it so much.

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    1. Both are excellent productions in my opinion, but The Dark Tower underperformed at the box office, so I think my rave review must be in the minority.

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  2. I saw Wonder Woman in the theater with one of my best friends. OMG it was so awesome! I will have to check out The Dark Tower. We saw The Exception the other night and both loved it. Thanks for the recommendation on that one.
    Happy Thanksgiving Carmen!

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    1. Thanks, Judy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

      It must have been quite an experience to watch Wonder Woman on the big screen. I'm glad that you and hubby loved The Exception. It's quite a film; I loved the music most of all. What have you been watching lately?

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  3. I'm reminded from your review that I need to try to find The Exception. I hope it's on Canadian Netflix. I'm usually not a superhero /CGI effects watcher but for Wonder Woman I might have to break down & see it. thanks for the reviews.

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    1. Do not miss The Exception; it is among the best movies I've seen this year, and there aren't that many good ones yet. I highly recommend Wonder Woman. For some reason, I thought you had watched it and reviewed it, but I guess I was mistaken.

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  4. I loved Wonder Woman! As for The Dark Tower, I know many fans of the books, including myself, didn't go to see it because of planned changes to characters and plot. From reading your review they've made huge changes! So I am glad I didn't go and see it.

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    1. Ditto on Wonder Woman. Too bad you are thinking on not seeing The Dark Tower; I thought it was a very good movie. Then again, I haven't read the series, thus I have no cause for upset. :-)

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