Back left
Back right

The Dark Tower Movie Review

Reviewed by on Aug 04, 2017
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Check out Kidzworld’s review of the long-awaited movie about good, evil and co-existing worlds, The Dark Tower based on the Stephen King novels. Will it please fans and newbies alike?

By: Lynn Barker

In The Dark Tower, multiple, parallel universes exist at the same time with one large tower of power holding them in balance. On the other side of this balance is the worst darkness and evil imaginable, all full of monsters. If the tower falls, the multiple worlds fall. Holding off evil for centuries were the Gunslingers, Paladins of virtue and good. When the last of these becomes obsessed only with revenge against the Man in Black, an evil sorcerer, only a psychic-powered teen from Earth can set things right.

Jake and Gunslinger in search of a portal in New YorkJake and Gunslinger in search of a portal in New York

Nightmare Dreams

On a strange schoolyard, kids play until a siren makes them stop to report to a facility where they are strapped into chairs, terrifying head-gear is put on and their brain-power or essence is sucked up until it creates a giant beam of light that fires at a huge tower, A man dressed in black oversees the process.  Tween Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) wakes from this awful dream to an earthquake in NYC. There have been world-wide quakes lately. Jake draws what he sees in his dreams; the tower, the trapped, kidnapped children, the Man in Black (aka Walter, played by Matthew McConaughey). He also sees the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) a hero figure.

Jake takes Gunslinger to get more bulletsJake takes Gunslinger to get more bullets

On the Run

When Jake’s mom and stepdad want to send him away to a clinic for a weekend to work on his dreams and other weirdness, two strange representatives show up to take him. Jake knows from his dreams that they are “skins”, demons with fake human faces, and he runs away. Meanwhile, in another Universe, Gunslinger remembers how the Man in Black killed his father. He used to be sworn to protect the Tower that binds the Universes. Now he just wants revenge. On Earth, following his dream, Jake finds a house that contains a portal to another universe called Mid-World. He goes through and ends up in a war blasted wasteland.

The Man in Black is two steps behindThe Man in Black is two steps behind

The Gunslinger

Jake meets the Gunslinger and tells him of his dreams about the Man in Black and kids being used by him to down the Tower. Desperately in search of the Man in Black, Gunslinger guides Jake to a village where a seer can learn from Jake just where these kids are kept. On the way, they fight monsters that have crossed over from the Darkness via tears between the worlds that have been created by the kids’ mental attacks on the Tower.

Gunslinger fights Man in Black's thugsGunslinger fights Man in Black's thugs

The Man in Black

Meanwhile, the Man in Black has zeroed in on Jake as the most powerful kid ever; his ticket to destroying the Tower so the Darkness can take over all worlds. He starts tracking Jake from Earth through the portal and finally to a small village where a seer is working with Jake to find the kidnapped kids and where there is another portal. On Earth, the Man in Black kills Jake’s stepdad and mom when he has learned all he needs to know about Jake.

The Man in Black and one of his SkinsThe Man in Black and one of his Skins


As they travel, Jake and the Gunslinger bond as friends and Jake reminds him of his true quest. He takes Gunslinger to Earth where he can find more needed bullets and the duo discovers that the Man in Black has killed Jake’s parents. Jake is captured by the MIB’s thugs and taken through another portal to the horrible facility where the Man in Black will use Jake’s psychic power to really blast down the tower. The Gunslinger follows but will he be able to save Jake in time? Will he at long last kill the Man in Black?

Jake discovers the portal houseJake discovers the portal house

Wrapping Up

The Dark Tower film presents a very basic quest story; young innocent with powers, teams with a conflicted good guy hero or two and they fight the ultimate evil. We’ve seen it over and over…Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc. If developed with enough bells and whistles, this basic tale can work well. Unfortunately, in all the years of trying to develop this mythic tale for the screen, filmmakers finally watered the rich mythos down so much that very little of the originality is left.

The canyons of New York City are new to GunslingerThe canyons of New York City are new to Gunslinger

Matthew McConaughey is effectively evil/charming as the Man in Black. Idris Elba plays the strong, flawed hero nicely and young Tom Taylor is certainly real and believable as the tween who is struggling with powers he doesn’t understand. They just aren’t given enough story depth to develop their characters well.

Gunslinger and Man in Black face offGunslinger and Man in Black face off

The movie looks cool and action is exciting enough but it boils down to who the film will be for. At my screening, a fan of the many Stephen King “Dark Tower” books said that the film didn’t have enough of the names or references from the books and was just too simplistic but a tween, a newbie to the story said he loved it and asked his mom for the DVD when it comes out.. Sooo that says it all. Maybe too simplistic and watered down for the fans of the Stephen King book series but probably enough sci-fi fun and action for YA newbies to the story. For them we go three stars.

The Dark Tower Movie Rating: 3


See The Dark Tower is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Are you into films that present tween or teen heroes? Are you a Sci-Fi or Stephen King fan? Check in with a comment below.