It’s not that these fantasy-epic films that feature a young child in the starring roles bore me, it goes to the larger notion that Hollywood will remake every child’s fantasy novel into some sort of cinematic product, so a buck or two can be made. For every Harry Potter, there’s a Golden Compass or even Spiderwick Chronicles. The well is rapidly running dry, and you needn’t look much further than The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, a film about a young lonely boy who finds himself in circumstances and an adventure beyond what he might initially suspect. Wait, doesn’t that sound like EVERY children’s movie lately?
The novel was written by Susan Cooper and edited by John Hodge, who did Trainspotting, of all films, and was directed by David Cunningham (To End All Wars). In this, Will (Alexander Ludwig, Race to Witch Mountain) plays the youngest in a family of six Americans who have moved to London for their father’s job. He soon finds out about his real roots, continuing a lineage of warriors, protected by the old ones in Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under) and Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane, Deadwood). No other performers from HBO television series were involved in the making of the production.
From there, you get the usual character development. Will doesn’t want to do it, this mystical force that will overtake Earth (called “The Darkness,” with tons of imagination there) and its leader, an equally mysterious character named The Rider (Christopher Eccleston, 28 Days Later) who believes that Will’s control over the Darkness can be harnessed to his benefit. Will is torn between both parties, and what will he do? Is he going to do the right thing? I don’t know, things were so tedious by the end of an hour and a half, I lost all my interest.
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo here, in large part because UpcomingDiscs received a screener copy with incomplete technical specs. Pending receipt of final product, comments and scores will be adjusted accordingly.
The Seeker arrives in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and unfinished video form. I know this because the generic Fox statement restating this was at the beginning and peppered throughout the film’s running time. The aspect ratio here is not the same as the finished product, which has full frame and 2.35:1 anamorphic presentations so, again, pending receipt of finished product, we will revise and update accordingly.
Nary a one.
Maybe it’s the lack of finished product, or maybe it’s a style choice, but there are a lot of color changes in the film that seemed amateurish, and the fact that Cunningham explores no character exposition whatsoever leaves the viewer with no real interest or caring in what happens in the film and the people in it. The performances are lackluster and the story is boring, and the fact that I watched it on an unfinished disc didn’t help matters much. Definitely avoid this and check out some of the other (read; better) films.