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The Dark Tower Movie Review (2017) | The Tower Fails to Stand

Fans of Stephen King, witness disappointment! The Dark Tower movie adaptation by Nikolaj Arcel is an undercooked meal that fails to do the book the justice it deserves. Hell, it even doesn’t stand as a good movie on its own. If it only had some eye popping action to shoot it forward, the movie would have been entertaining at least. But it is all so limited that you are forced to blurt out, “That’s it?” All this technology, and we let it all go to waste!

The movie is quite flippant in terms of its colossal import in the world of fantasy. Characters in the movie don’t evoke empathy. You fail to connect and the movie fragments into something insubstantial and forgetful even though it has a huge name of Stephen King in its backdrop.

Glib Direction of The Dark Tower Movie

The Dark Tower is paced too fast for a movie that calls for meticulous reflection. You want to be able to be in it, to feel what a child is going through. This brings to mind the extraordinary relatable tale of A Monster Calls. But The Dark Tower movie fails to make it to that enclave. Well if it couldn’t have possibly even reached that level of child’s mastication, at least it could have tried to connect. We don’t feel much agony of a child trying to make people listen in a world that’s secretively run by monsters.

the dark tower movie tom taylor as Jake Chambers

Introduction of the character Gunslinger played by Idris Elba feels so bland that you fail to understand how big they were or used to be. And that how important it was to be the righteous last man standing in a world that was about to be overrun by dark forces. Then there is the dark force – the Man in Black, Walter played by Matthew McConaughey, who plays a convincing smug villain without badass lines that we all know how brilliantly he aces.

You can’t stop what’s coming. Death always wins.

All the shallowness in dialogues written and the way things get directed take away the joy and thrill, and the out-worldliness that the movie should have banked on in the first place.

There’s no western feel to the movie, although it should have been something to do with that as originally thought of by Stephen King.  The Dark Tower movie mixes a lot of Stephen King novels to spit out an insipid work that is very easy to forget.

Plot of The Dark Tower Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

To begin with, we have a kid named Jake Chambers played by Tom Taylor who is having visions about a Man in Black, a Dark Tower, and a Gunslinger. Nobody believes him, he is having a hard time convincing them. His shrinks are no good. He has been dealing with the death of his father, and the fact that another man has moved in his house is eating him alive too. (Just imagine the possibility of how amazing we could have turned this into dramatically!) One day being sent off to shrinks.

Everyone who walks with you dies.

One day people from a psychiatric facility arrive to put him into a rehab. He recognizes them as monsters under human skins and escapes. He ends up visiting a forsaken ramshackle house from his dream that has a portal that takes him to a different world called Mid-World. It is a dystopian backdrop that is abounding with deserts and mountains and everything you could expect in a post-apocalyptic world.

Gunslinger

Jake ends up meeting the gunslinger from his dream Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) who has been looking for The Man in Black – Walter as well. He seeks vengeance since Walter had killed his father.

the dark tower idris elba fighting

Jake discovers that there is a Dark Tower at the center of the universe which Walter intends to destroy to let the dark forces in. It can only be destroyed by the screams of psychic children. (Such beautiful thinking! Stephen King take a bow!)

The tower will fall.

The Village

Roland takes Jake to a village in Mid-world to interpret Jake’s vision with the help of a seer. Arra (Claudia Kim) helps Jake identify his true psychic abilities and tells her about his “shine” how powerful it is. Although using the shine could alert Walter about his whereabouts. Walter figures out that he needs someone like Jake to destroy the Dark Tower singlehandedly. Trying to hunt Jake down, he goes and kills his stepfather and mother. While Arra tells Roland to visit New York where Walter’s base of operations is.

Walter figures out that he needs someone like Jake to destroy the Dark Tower singlehandedly.

I do not aim with my hand. He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye. I do not shoot with my hand. He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind. I do not kill with my gun. He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.

Trying to hunt Jake down, he goes and kills his stepfather and mother. While Arra tells Roland to visit New York where Walter’s base of operations is.

Walter sends of his minions “the Taheen” to attack Roland but he kills them all in a theatric display of action. Roland and Jake go back to New York as Jake is worried about his mother. He finds her remains at his house, and is heart broken. Roland promises to avenge them teaching him the basics of gun slinging and fighting.

You can order The Dark Tower from here:

The Final Showdown

Jake gets abducted by Walter and is strapped to a machine that uses psychic children’s shine to destroy the tower. Jake keeps resisting the machine and tells Roland about his whereabouts helping him to come for aid. Roland appears then as a final showdown happens with him and Walter.

Darkness is your weapon, guns are mine.

The Dark Tower movie still Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey

He shoots Walter eventually bending laws of Physics, though it looked rad, it will bewilder you. Ronan then destroys the machine saving all the other children.

Jake: It’s a hotdog.
Ronan: Savages! What breed?

When Ronan is set to return to Mid-World he asks Jake to join him which Jake accepts.

Curtain falls.

The Final Verdict

It wouldn’t be wrong to ask for a better director for The Dark Tower movie. Someone needs to reimagine things and write a better screenplay. I have even a better idea! Turn this into a slow paced and ravishing TV series, and you can engage audience all over again.

Check out the trailer of The Dark Tower here:

 

Sing Movie Review (2016) | Another Toast for the Dreamers

Sing along your favorite songs with the most adorable bunch of animals! Sing movie is an anthropomorphic take of Christophe Lourdelet and Garth Jennings, a brilliantly scripted venture that tries to edify the lives of animals. It does so effortlessly by resonating us with them in the right proportion. They let humanity seep under the skin of animals to epitomize important life lessons, and the problems every fellow dreamer has to deal on an every day basis.

Plot of the Sing Movie

Although the movie packs in a plethora of cute animals to look forward to, the best and the most prominent one however stays the leader. A Koala bear named Buster Moon, voiced beautifully by Matthew McConaughey, is the guy with the cardinal vision of seeing success dribble in through his theater gates via show business.

still of buster moon the koala in sing movie

He is an optimist who has never learnt to give up. Buster retains hopeful eyes, the ones that are always excited to see new things sieve in. The gleam in them tells you that he is eager to shape dreams into reality, and always ready to deliver.

With his job to hunt down only the best, he possesses the natural flair to always dispense the right judgment. Things that he does are strong enough to often leave you brooding with a poignant sense of regard at your scattered dreams. It contrasts how we tend to give up our dreams with the slightest sign of trouble. With Buster Moon’s efforts to work around things to get things running either by hook or crook, you can feel in your bones the warmth of a never give up attitude that is so crucial to get by.

You know what’s great about hitting rock bottom. There is only one way left to go, and that’s up.

Other Fellow Dreamers (Spoilers Ahead)

Buster Moon’s big aspirations are inspiring. But it is owing to his clumsy accidents along with Miss Crawly, (surprisingly voiced by Garth Jennings himself) that sets the Sing movie on wheels. Paths get paved for aspiring singers when promotional fliers of $100,000 for a singing competition accidentally overrun the whole town. Though it was intended originally to show a mere $1000 and came up straight from Buster Moon, the huge success of it made him play along.

Talented singers from eclectic background show up. Oh! Watch out for their auditions, by the way. They are outright hilarious! When you watch them all auditioning for the competition, their species and their ungainly acts make things even funnier. It would be hard not to crack up.

Aslo, a bunch of girly Japanese dolls (Pandas probably) keep showing up every now and then to perform, assuming they have been selected. Watch out for them as well! So funny!

 

still of meena voiced by Tori Kelly in Sing movie

Among other crucial animals are Ash, Eddie, Johnny, Rosita, Gunter, Mike,  and the exceptionally talented elephant introvert Meena. The latter’s voice has been given by none other than Tori Kelly. Her voice is so beautiful that it would bring tears to your eyes. Also, her side-plot is one of the best the movie has.

So the movie is basically more of a competition where animals from different backgrounds come in the front-line to test their luck. Their lives are intertwined with their domestic issues and concerns that stop them from, in one way or the other, from following their dreams. But it is about beating all odds to come out with flying colors.

Songs in Sing Movie

Taking the movie moniker into account, the primal theme was basically supposed to be songs. So it doesn’t fail in that direction at all. There are around 60 songs shoehorned in the flick that play at various junctures setting you in the right vibes.

Among the most prominent ones are:

  1. Faith by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande
  2. I’m Still Standing by Taron Egerton
  3. Hallelujah by Tori Kelly
  4. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Tori Kelly
  5. My Way by Seth MacFarlane
  6. Set It All Free by Scarlett Johansson

You can order Sing movie from here:

Minor Downsides

When you look at the downsides of Sing movie, you could hear some bells knell in its comedy department. It is definitely not that funny, but there are ample jests to keep that flow going. Also, the movie doesn’t have anything huge coiled up waiting at the climactic end. It’s there where you feel all that amped up energy slowly wane. The subplots feel deliberately created to show feigned approvals, and they become really drab at one point.

Also, if you really look at the movie it appears to be more of a cliched tale confined to pursuing something, falling and then rising up again. That is all. So, there is nothing extraordinary apart from that for us to feast upon.

The Final Verdict

Even though the Sing movie’s theme is a tad predictable, it manages to hold up really well. Almost giving you an impression as if you are watching a good reality show. You begin to feel for the characters, sympathize and empathize with them as you might have done for characters in the real world. It makes you appreciate Garth Jennings even more, who also happened to have written the story of Sing.

This latest by Illumination Entertainment is way better than all of its past works so far. It cuts short the snappy humour that it was known for, but still manages to come up with a beautifully crafted animated flick. It has family entertainment written all over it.

You can check our review of other Illumination Entertainment movies as well.

You can check out the trailer of Sing movie here:

 

 

Kubo and the Two Strings Review (2016) | Bewitching Animation

Words bereave me as I try to put this one together. Kubo and the Two Strings had me mesmerized. And not just by its breathtaking realism, but by the calm in its thoughtful direction, and the peerless work that it tagged along. Very satisfying!

The movie forever carries a hint of grim element, and is not afraid to walk across dark enclaves in order to provide us with an amazing tale of a one-eyed young boy named Kubo who is on a magical quest to find his father’s armour to defeat a wicked Moon King.

Extraordinary Animation

Looking at the animation of the movie, you can’t help but wonder – Can stop motion really reach such fascinating levels of allure? Well, Kubo and the Two Strings surpasses all! Who makes that possible? None other than Travis Knight the lead animator, also the actual mind behind exceptional movies like Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls.

You can’t applaud Travis Knight enough. Apart from the fact that he can ace Herculean jobs as an animator, he can also direct better than most of the directors out there. So, he proves with his sharp presence of mind. The transition of frames happens through walking into a tree or a wall. And it does so with such a peaceful nimble snap that it is hard to tell if the frame had actually changed in that teensy swift scale.

What I also loved about Travis’s direction was how he imparted Kubo and the Two Strings with a charming gait. The movie is literally abounding with focus. It lets you feast on every single frame letting things percolate beautifully. You can perceive minuscule details in his frames, and that’s what makes his frames stunning to look at. Owing to that, even though Kubo and the Two Strings banks on a fictitious tale for its plot, the movie doesn’t falter at all at any point.

Plot of Kubo and the Two Strings

The story is more of a fantastical take set against the backdrop of ancient Japan. One-eyed Kubo takes care of his ill mother. He uses a Shamisen to bring inanimate papers to life. He performs in a nearby village to get himself and his mother by.

If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem. And please be warned, if you fidget, if you look away, if you forget any part of what I tell you, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish.

Kubo is a storyteller and he barely knows his past. In her mother’s ephemeral jovial moments is he able to fill himself up with stories of the past. He is fascinated by tales of his father and yearns to meet him in person. But her mother warns him not to venture out when it’s dark coz that’s when the moonlight shines bright meaning the Moon King, his grandfather and his aunties might see him. His mother tells him that they are after his other eye, and that this rule be followed at all costs.

One fine day however in an attempt to rekindle with his father’s soul, Kubo ends up staying out late.

I just wish you were here, so I could talk to you, see you, find out what I should do.

A big mistake! That’s when the attack of the aunties happen. His mother pays the price for it as she intervenes just when things were about to go south. She saves him asking him to find an armour, the only way that can possibly defeat the evil Moon King.

Ensuing Magical World

still of monkey and kubo in kubo and the two strings movie

As Kubo wakes from a tumultuous backdrop, he finds a monkey voiced by Charlize Theron calling out his name. He realizes that the monkey was in fact none other than a toy he used to carry around with him at all times. The talking monkey tells him that she was brought to life by his mother before she died. The only thing Kubo is left with is a strand of her mother’s hair.

This bracelet, her hair, it’s a memory. And memories are powerful things, Kubo. Never lose it.

On their quest to find the armour they find a human soul trapped inside a beetle. He claims to be working for his father Tatsu but isn’t sure because of a memory wipe out scene.

Thus the ultimate quest begins to find armour elements that are placed at unusual places, as magic and perversion from Moon King and his mother’s sisters try to stop them from achieving that goal. In a life that had reeked of loneliness almost all the time, Kubo reflects of how amazing it was for him to be a part of someone’s company, with:

I have never had a meal sitting between anyone before.

Sentient Kubo

Kubo is so thoughtful that it syncs you instantly with his feelings. His one eye can grasp little things that are of colossal import to him and you can’t applaud him enough for that.

Sometimes I would tell my mother stories about little things. Like skimming rocks across the river or catching fireflies in the mulberry fields. And when I told those stories, I could see her eyes were mostly clear. I could tell she saw me. Really saw me. I could see her, too. Her real self. Her spirit trying to fight its way out. It was beautiful.

Tiny lippy movements of the protagonist are so beautifully done that it almost makes you feel as if he is an extant creature.

You have to give it to Tatsu voiced by Matthew McConaughey who makes his character even more lovable. The story of his mother that climaxes with:

You are my quest.

and which is soon followed by:

I had seen the wonders of the universe, but the warmth of his gaze as I looked into his eyes. That, that I had never known. It was his humanity I saw. And it was more powerful than anything in my cold realm.

brings power in his story and it makes it even more warm.

still of all characters from kubo and the two strings movie

Then it has that contemplative paragon of a song as well which is depicted by flying golden heron that are believed to carry the soul of the departed.

How do you see a song?

To which the reply goes:

You look.

That moon reflection, water droplets falling everything was beautifully imagined and executed.

Downsides

Trying to look at the downside, things escalate too quickly. For example you are not really prepared for a whimsical alteration, but then it happens which kind of kills the mood. And then the final bits with the Moon King doesn’t fill you up with wonder much since you are prepared for the cliched ending of the tale. There is nothing eye-candy like about it and you can’t help but wonder if the trouble to reach that grimy end justifies truly.

Also the fact that the gloom that comes right after when his parents get killed hasn’t been shown properly makes it even less plausible. The story however nibbles such drawbacks.

The Score of Kubo

What makes stop motion frames of Travis even better is Dario Marianelli‘s outstanding score. It imparts depth to his ethereal animation. It complements the actual story-line of Kubo, and gives much more meaning to it. Even when Kubo is simply walking down a forest or a desert there is always that beautiful composition playing wonders in the backcloth.

You can check out the trailer of Kubo and the Two Strings here:

 

Interstellar Movie Review (2014) | Yet Another Magnum Opus of Nolan

Not long ago, I watched a featurette with excerpts from the Interstellar movie, which showed the gargantuan amount of work and sweat Nolan brethren, Kip Thorne and others put in whilst exploring the behaviour of a black hole. The crisp meticulous attention and the minute details that went in their work flabbergasted me beyond limit. So, naturally hopeful was written all over my head. And boy! Nolan never disappoints.

Concept and Science

Strewn with science, Interstellar movie not only takes you on a joy ride, it educates you as well. The concept of space-time singularity pervades throughout the flick as we witness a superb simulation of a black hole, and it doesn’t stop at just that. We go into it! Yes, through the eyes of our protagonist for the first time, we witness a distinct theoretical world that finds pragmatism. An impeccable representation of Tesseract with threads of time.

still of black hole in interstellar movie

Direction of Interstellar Movie

The best thing about Nolan is the enormity of the project he takes. The script is so beautifully written that it rivets you right from the start. The concept is like magic – a miracle happening in a distant galaxy. As the story of Interstellar movie unfolds it makes you feel as if you are getting closer to finding answers to our existence finally. The plot however has something else in store for you. And it is a big fat blunt satire on our loneliness. We are alone and all we have is each other. That is the penultimate truth.

Wormhole has never been explored like this before. How time plays tricks on you, powerful representation of anomalies, the wickedness of human mind when left alone in despair(that Matt Damon bit), how the music of nature (the rain, the thunder and the cricket chirping noise) makes you feel home, the conundrum of our purpose, the humour of TARS, the physics that touches almost every part in the flick, the poetry of the brave and wise through Dylan Thomas‘s words, superb lamenting conversations, and the brain-wrecking revelations in the end – every tiny detail has been exemplified with proper logical explanations and shown on a platter of sensations.

interstellar movie still

Extraordinary Drama

Emotional surge is strong, and with a power pack performance by Matthew McConnaughey everything uplifts. Bits of a father-daughter melodrama are the most feeling kind. Shatters you from the inside, as you empathize with the protagonist’s tears. Hans Zimmer touches your heart with his profound score. Notes are so brilliant that they put you right into the flick. This too would sit amongst Zimmer’s best works.

The Final Verdict

It is one of the most ambitious projects that would be remembered in impending debates for the intricacies it touches and the science it explores. Nolan is certainly one of a kind director, a great gift to mankind, a wise man who wouldn’t go gentle into that good night. Kudos to yet another mammoth achievement!

You can check out the trailer of Interstellar movie here: