Young Jake Chambers' (Tom Taylor) nightmares about an otherworldly battle between good and evil are about to prove true. Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), a deadly sorcerer known as the Man in Black, seeks out Jake to complete his diabolical plan. The young Chambers is the key to destroying The Dark Tower, which binds time and space. Standing in the sorcerer's way is revenge-minded Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger. The fate of the universe is at stake.

An anemic and predictable plot is the downfall of the first screen version of Stephen King's novel series. Even having not read the books, I can't imagine fans being happy with this abridged (only 95 minutes) and mediocre mix of
scf-fi and western. Although there's plenty of action, the unsurprising outcome is almost sleep-inducing. Combining elements from more than one book in the series, it's hard to believe it took four writers to simplify King's story: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen and director Nikolaj Arcel ("A Royal Affair"). Arcel does manage to keep the plot moving along at breakneck speed with some monstrous creature effects along the way. Above-average performances from Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Taylor are nearly wasted in this fantasy shoot-'em-up. Among the brief supporting player appearances are Katheryn Winnick as Jake's mother, Dennis Haysbert as Roland's father and Jackie Earle Haley as O'Dim's minion Sayre. With an ending that shouts out for a sequel, more films will come if this weak primer makes enough cash. It can only go uphill from here. "The Dark Tower" fails as a shining example of King cinematic adaptations. (2 CAMS)

Rated PG-13 (thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action)
Running Time: 95 minutes

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