DVD Review: The Seeker – The Dark is Rising
By June L. Mar 18, 2008, 14:33 GMT
Filled with magical characters, thrilling action and spectacular visual effects, The Seeker is an epic fantasy adventure the whole family will love! During Christmas break from school, a seemingly typical teenager discovers he\'s anything but ordinary. As the seventh son of a seventh son, Will Stanton is The Seeker - a chosen warrior destined to restore the delicate earthly balance between Light and Dark. Guided by ancient protectors of the ...more
In the film The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, the Stantons are an American family living in England. The youngest son Will (Alexander Ludwig) is turning 14, and learns through a series of unusual events that he is the last of the Old Ones, the forces of light within the land.
As in the title the dark is rising, the forces of dark are gathering to try yet again to overpower the light and take control of the world, bringing on all kinds of evil. Will is The Seeker, the one who must collect and bring together six signs to build up the forces of light. He is aided in his pursuit by Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane), Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy) and other Old Ones. It is a good adventure, with some interesting special effects.
The Dark is Rising, the second novel in a series of five books by Susan Cooper is in my opinion the best young adult fantasy novel ever written. This is not to take away anything from a certain young gentleman by the name of Potter, whose books are also very good.
The Dark is Rising is a different type of literature, it is a deeper, more philosophical look at good and evil in the whole of existence. This age old battle is addressed by using both Arthurian legend and the mythology known as the Matter of Britain, to assemble characters of both dark and light. It is so rich on many levels, that a college student learning the history of Western literature might suddenly realize he already knows much of the information, and that he learned it long ago from reading The Dark is Rising.
When a movie is made from such a favorite book, there is both anticipation and fear. Will the film be able to capture the essence of the story and portray all the nuances and special bits that readers have loved? Knowing how much I admired the novel, I was hesitant to review the film.
My colleague Jeff Swindoll watched the movie with his children, and recorded their impressions, and then I viewed it. I requested another fan of the novel watch the movie with me, and we discussed it thoroughly afterwards. We put all our observations together, so as a panel of five, Jeff, Katee, Tyler, Steve and June, we have what we think will be a fair and hopefully helpful review.
To begin with, three out of the five viewers thought the film was very good, giving it high marks for excitement, action, story and characters. All five viewers found the film entertaining, with some beautifully constructed scenes.
However two felt that it missed its opportunity to be even better. Some of the problems came from the overuse of odd camera angles, slow motion, and ragged editing that made scene changes awkward.
I was personally disappointed that the Arthurian elements of the story were ignored, making the film have less of an impact than I anticipated. Some of the strongest scenes in the book have been deleted and elements of the plot changed, so that overall it becomes a different story.
It is not a bad story, but just very different from the original, so that the point becomes a battle between Will and the Rider (Christopher Eccleston) rather than a fight with all forces of light against all forces of darkness.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is offered on a single disc with a running time of 94 minutes. What we watched was a screener disc without menu or special features or set up. We assume those will be included on the final release.
Overall the film was enjoyable as a fantasy, and for those who have never read the book it will be possibly more entertaining as the story takes some wide leaps away from the original text.