Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising 2007 2*

Turning 14 (unbelievable 11 in book) in rural English village at Christmas, Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) is threatened by mall security guards who demand "The Sign" and turn into flocks of crows. Lacking self-confidence, the blonde social misfit has a pointy cleft chin and elfin lean look, compared to dark-haired family.

"Old Ones", lady of the manor Miss Granthorne (Frances Conroy), her driver Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane), locals George (Jim Piddock) and white-haired Dawson (James Cosmo), all insist he is the seventh son of a seventh son, the Light destined to find six signs (not seven?) and stop the Dark from encompassing the world. His mother Mary (Wendy Crewson) and father John (John Benjamin Hickey) admit his older twin brother Tom vanished from his crib when a baby. Even his crush, pretty older brunette Maggie (Amelia Warner), says will "protect him".

In Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" book, I remember no Tom (spoiler: saved) or Maggie (spoiler: traitor). I remember at least one Old One dies (spoiler: none here). He still opens the Great Hall despite warnings, to the evil Rider (Christopher Eccleston - Dr Who #9). The villain's reactions almost make me believe the boy could be the strong Seeker.

The whole premise, that accident of birth means child can read book, become warrior, and save world, is just as weak here. Birthday is more plausible as 14th than 11th. Additions are not believable. Father opens door to Dark and kidnap via physics thesis. Will convinces college dropout Nick not to kill him because "your family loves you".

The Rider is on a white horse, but wears a cloak of black feathers, thunders fearsomely, and casts black smoke. Like in the book, the village are snowed in at the manor, but here giant icicles slice downward like swords, attacking. Water starts to flood, but I think washed away more in the book.

I like the limited special effects. We fear more the unknown, and sudden shifts to strange times. I doubt a fur-clad Viking type would exchange a looted shield for a digital watch, or that beeping could be heard in battle. Seems a token comic relief. Adds "aw shucks", when Will shelters little sister Gwen (Emma Lockhart) who rescues baby kitten.

Languages, Captions: English Français Español

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