I’m not a fan of Stephen King. Gasp, shock, horror! No, but I really enjoyed The Dark Tower, a film based on the first of King’s The Dark Tower book series.
In this dystopian story a young boy called Jake (Tom Taylor) discovers that his visions are real connections to another world. He manages to enter this other world and meet both its hero, the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), and the antagonist, the Man in Black, Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey). The ‘tower’ is what keeps Earth from capitulating to the dark forces and its demise is therefore the baddies’ focus. To bring down the tower Walter and his cronies capture children from Earth, take them to the other side, put them in space rockets, and send them crashing into the tower. Jake’s unusual abilities, called ‘the shine’, become Walter’s focus, and so the battle between good and evil hots up.
Sound realistic? Well, er, no of course not. But it’s this imaginative storytelling, this excitement surrounding a world that just might exist…. that makes The Dark Tower really fun to watch. Improvements could be made – several of the scene changes need work and perhaps the editing too. And I saw glimpses of other stories mixed in: Harry Potter, for instance, and The Hunger Games. But then, which story is totally unique? According to Carl Jung’s theory of the Concept of the Collective Unconscious, archetypal story themes are passed down by writers and reappear in different settings.
Of interest to South Africans will be the fact that several South African actors appear in the film, and the filming locations were USA and Cape Town, South Africa.
The Dark Tower opened at cinemas in South Africa on Friday 8 September 2017. Enjoy!
The latest reimagining of Disney’s 1967 animated film, based on the well-known book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling, is a visual delight. Mowgli is played by “real” actor, Neel Sithi, while his jungle animal friends are animated and voiced by the likes of Scarlett Johannson (Kaa), Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan) and Christopher Walken (King Louie). I watched The Jungle Book in 3D and the film will also release in IMAX which I think will be spectacular.
Zootropolis (think Metropolis only with animals) is an animated film that will appeal to young children. The story revolves around Judy Hopps, a small bunny with big dreams, who becomes a cop in the vast city of Zootropolis. Parents, too, will enjoy some laughs. More than just a cute Disney tale, the film features an unlikely police duo (Judy and her foxy partner, Nick Wilde), who uncover a smear campaign on the city’s animals of prey. The intricacies evident in the plot will satisfy an older audience.
Judy comes from a typical rabbit family (she has something like 270 brothers and sisters) with very conservative parents who have always been in the carrot-farming business (Judy has an “Apple” Mac lookalike with a bitten carrot on the cover!). To her parents’ horror Judy (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) doesn’t want to follow in her parents’ footsteps. She graduates top of her police academy class and starts work alongside huge animals like the buffalo boss, Chief Bogo (the voice of Idris Elba). Because of her ridiculously small stature Judy is assigned to parking duty, while the other “cops” are sent to find 14 missing mammals. By chance, and some ingenuity, Judy and Nick (a crooked fox voiced by Jason Bateman) discover all of the missing creatures and uncover a sinister plot at the same time.
Popular Disney themes are present in this feature: look for the good in yourself, be the best you can be, we’re all equal, and so on. But the shenanigans of the baddies and the talented sleuthing of clever cops make the film interesting and fun.
Enjoy Zootropolis. The film opens at Ster Kinekor Theatres in South Africa on Friday 4 March 2016.