In what sounds like a gesture of industry-wise, tender-hearted compassion, Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman is claiming that the allegedly trouble-plagued The Dark Tower “is no shambles. It aims low and hits (sort of)…it’s a highly competent and watchable paranoid metaphysical video game that doesn’t overstay its welcome, includes some luridly entertaining visual effects, and — it has to be said — summons an emotional impact of close to zero. Which in a film like this one isn’t necessarily a disadvantage.

“With any luck, The Dark Tower could prove a solid box-office performer over the weekend, yet the picture’s no-frills design raises an interesting question: Would it have been more commercial had been an ambitious, two-hour-plus sprawl of a movie that attempted to be more digressively true to the weight of King’s novels? My instinct says no. The Dark Tower works as a movie because it’s not trying to be multiverse — and because, in its light derivative ballistic way, it packs in just enough of the King vision to remind you that everything old can be new again, especially if it wasn’t all that novel the first time.”