Matthew McConaughey stars in a scene from the movie "The Dark Tower." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Sony)
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Awash in high-flown metaphysical hooey, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel's dull sci-fi fantasy "The Dark Tower" (Columbia) is inappropriate for the impressionable.
As for grown viewers, they should be prepared to slog through an involved exposition of non-scriptural ideas borrowed from the series of novels by Stephen King on which the film -- penned with Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner and Anders Thomas Jensen -- is built.
Extending rather than adapting the books, the movie uses the psychic nightmares of troubled New York teen Jake (Tom Taylor) to introduce us to a distant world -- one of many -- and the cosmic battle being fought out there. This struggle pits villainous wizard Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), aka the Man in Black, against Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), aka the Gunslinger.
O'Dim is bent on destroying the supernatural structure of the title which somehow, so we're informed, keeps the evil lurking at the edges of the universe at bay. The lone remaining member of a group of Old West-style gunmen still resisting O'Dim and his cohorts, Roland is not only out to save the tower but yearns for revenge against O'Dim, whose spells have killed off every ally who has ever stood at his side.
While on the run from some of O'Dim's minions in the Big Apple, Jake manages to get himself transported to Mid-World, one of the planets where this feud is being played out. Conveniently, the first person he encounters is Roland.