Release Date: October 5, 2007
I know what you are thinking. Haven’t we had enough of all these epic novel adaptations? But believe me, we have not yet even scratched the surface of what is out there. Films like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were just the beginning, their success bringing studios to the feast of fantasy literature out there. And since then, studios have been buying up intellectual properties and putting projects into development faster than the B-Movie crowd can spit out cheap horror flicks on DVD (by the way, did you know that they are on Pumpkinhead 4? It blows my mind).
The most recent of these trite incarnations was Eragon, a movie that feature Rachel Weisz as a dragon, a tale that reeked of being the bastard child of Star Wars and LOTR and John Malkovich as the evil mastermind whose accent didn’t match up. But then again, despite how hard the movie sucked, he is Malkovich.
In a similar light, despite the possible merits of Fox-Walden’s The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, it will no doubt be subject to an endless slue of comparisons to the aforementioned Eragon. And thanks to the poor showing of the dragon movie, that may not be such a bad thing after all.
The Seeker is based on the acclaimed “The Dark is Rising” series of books by Susan Cooper. It follows Will, an unknowing hero whose bloodline has predestined him to be the one who brings balance to the battle between the light and the dark. The dark is deviously personified by The Rider, played by Christopher Eccleston. Leading Will through his journey of discovery are a group of “Old Ones” that include the always entertaining Ian McShane. The “Old Ones” help Will harness his powers so that he can travel through time and seek out 6 stones that will give him the power to knock The Rider down a peg.
It is the same old story here. Boy discovers powers, boy learns of destiny, boy gets hormonal and blows up some random shit and then he has a big magical battle at the end that is as anti-climatic as possible. It’s almost like we’ve seen it all before. Oh wait, we have.
But despite a story that is relatively dry and rather uneventful, the film does at least attempt to be different. Almost as if director David L. Cunningham told Cinematographer Joel Ransom to just “go for broke”, there are moments in the film when the camera starts doing some funky stuff. It dances all over the line between annoying and cool. In between this sometimes confusing glamour shots is some decent acting. Christopher Eccleston, who singlehandedly took the sting out of having to watch a dread-locked Angelina Jolie kiss all up on Nic Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds, is at least British to match his character. He is scary enough to give the kids some bad dreams, but the older crowd will find him a bit over the top.
The same can almost be said for the film as a whole. Despite the fact that it is a perfect example of what would happen if Michael Bay were to attempt to make a Harry Potter film (which is not a good thing, despite the fact that I love Michael Bay’s stuff), it should play well with the kiddies. And by kiddies, I’m talking the teenagers here. Don’t go taking your really little ones to this one, as there are some borderline mature themes. In the end, I can’t bash all over this one (despite the fact that I wanted to). It was, to be completely honest, at least better than Eragon.