The Dark Tower Presents Archetypal Battle Between Good & Evil

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!

Explore time and space with Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

A review by Brenda Daniels

In a near-future scenario the earth is subject to failing crops and no rain. Massive dust storms cover everything in layers of dirt endangering people’s health and leaving an empty, hopeless pall over mankind’s survival. Enter Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an incorrigible scientist. Cooper is also a farmer, former astronaut and widower with two children.

One of those children, Murph (Mackenzie Foy as young Murph and Jessica Chastain as adult Murph), encounters what appears to be supernatural phenomena in her bedroom. Someone or something from “beyond” is trying to communicate with her. This scene involving books that fall in a seemingly random manner, and dust that settles in unnervingly systematic lines, is a very important part of the plot, an element that is resolved for viewers only at the end of Interstellar.

In a bizarre mix of science and what appears to be the supernatural Cooper is “called” to embark on a space mission that will save mankind. Joined by Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and others, the astronauts leave earth in search of previously earmarked destinations in order to evaluate their viability as a replacement home for mankind.

They will either return for the humans on earth or start a new “colony” with specially prepared human embryos.

What makes the story fascinating, however, is not the future setting or its intergalactic nature, but its intriguing exploration of the space-time-gravity continuum. Explaining too much here would spoil the adventure for viewers.

Suffice to say that Interstellar is a multi-layered space adventure that also examines the human heart and its capacity (or not) for altruism. Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain give particularly good performances. Michael Caine and Matt Damon also star.

Interstellar opens at all cinemas in South Africa on Friday 7 November. It runs for a lengthy, but absorbing, two hours and 50 minutes.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.