The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) Poster

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Dark is rising, interest is falling
keiichi736 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If you were to take the Harry Potter film franchise and remove all the memorable characters, fun, adventure, and coherent narrative storytelling, you would get The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. While not completely unwatchable and competently made, the film has no sense of wonder. That's quite an amazing feat when you consider it centers around a kid with numerous superhuman powers, and surrounds said kid with themes of time travel, villains who can summon swarms of crows and snakes in an instant, and an apocalyptic snow storm that could bring about the end of the world.

Our young hero is Will Shanton (Alexander Ludwig). Will is your average awkward teen struggling to fit in after his father's job forced the family to move overseas from America to England. He's just turned 14, and has also just discovered that he's part of a prophecy that he never knew about. Supposedly, thousands of years ago, there was a great battle between the forces of Light and Darkness for control of the world. Light won out in the end, but Dark is vying to make a comeback. The Dark is represented by a villain called The Rider (Christopher Eccleston), named so because he rides around on horseback. The Rider keeps on appearing before our young hero, and sending demonic mall security guards and evil grannies who can summon snakes after him. He claims to be looking for "the Signs", but Will doesn't know what he's talking about. Fortunately, there are some people to help explain Will's destiny, and explain the plot (but do little else). They represent the "Light", and inform Will that he is the "Seeker", and that only he has the power to seek out six Signs - powerful artifacts from the past that hold the fate of the world. As the Seeker, Will gains various powers including super strength and traveling through time, of which only the time travel one seems to be of any use to him in his search.

All the ingredients are here for a fun fantasy adventure, but The Seeker: The Dark is Rising doesn't even seem interested in itself. This movie has such a shocking lack of wonder and whimsy, two things all fantasy adventures must have. The incredible keeps on showing its face throughout the story, but the movie forgets to allow the characters to react or even respond to it. At one point, Will's younger sister discovers her brother's power first hand when she accidentally travels through time with him. How does she react to this? She doesn't. She finds herself transported thousands of years in the past in the middle of a battle, and all she cares about is that she rescued a kitten from the battlefield. She doesn't even ask her brother what's going on, nor does she ever bring it up again in a later scene. She does, however, keep on clutching to that little kitten she found for the rest of the movie. I guess time travel, super powers, and the fate of the world itself just can't hold a candle to the adorableness of a kitty cat.

The storytelling employed here is of the most basic and episodic quality. Things happen out of sheer coincidence or dumb luck. I mean, what are the odds that all of these Signs Will is supposed to be looking for all seem to be within a three mile radius from his house? He doesn't so much "seek" these things out, rather he stumbles upon them. He goes to church for Sunday service, and wow, there's one of the Signs he's looking for! Whatever the case, can it really be qualified as an adventure if the hero is hardly forced to leave his own house? For all the characters' talk of prophecies and darkness destroying the world, everyone in this movie sure seems to be taking it in stride. They even still have time to celebrate Christmas, even the ones who know the world could end in five days.

For all its mistakes, The Seeker is not without some merit. The opening moments has a mysterious atmosphere, and got me interested before the movie decided to brush off its own explanations. It's kind of like finding a beautifully wrapped package, opening it, and finding a ball of lint inside. It's at least interesting before the disappointment hits. The first 20 minutes or so have hope and the promise of wonder, then the movie just kind of craps out and loses interest in itself. It's odd to think that The Seeker is more comfortable dealing with the ordinary rather than the extraordinary. If the people behind this film were behind the Harry Potter series, the "Muggle" world would be more interesting than Hogwarts. I don't think I even have to explain what would be wrong with that picture.

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is based on a very famous children's novel by Susan Cooper. I have not read this book, but I have a feeling that this adaptation is missing what made the story so interesting in the first place. Here is a story that cries out for the fantastic, and gives us people who don't even seem to notice it. Those kind of people don't deserve to inhabit a story like this. We need a hero who shares our sense of wonder. All we get with Will is someone who discovers he has the power to change the world, and says "that's nice", then walks away.
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Worst adaptation EVER
wytchcat8 October 2007
I was beside myself with glee when I first heard of this movie. The book it is based on has been a book I have read and reread as well as given to children and adults alike over the years. So I was HORRIBLY disappointed at the changes made in this adaptation. Key elements left out, characterizations gutted, the mythos it was based on trivialized.

After such great adaptations as LotR, Narnia and the Potter books to see this classic ruined was a sad sight.

The books concepts depend on British folktales and legends (Arthurian based) and the movie seems to have tossed that aside in an attempt to woo American audiences. The family is changed, leaving out the close knit structure that is the basis of the story.

Don't see this movie. Don't let your kids see this movie. Do yourselves a favor and read the book.

Someday someone will make this movie with an eye to the source material.
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Story and Originality are almost officially Dead
bluemandolin115 October 2007
If you saw the preview and thought "Pass", I would call you prudent. If you have been a fan of Susan Cooper's beloved book series since you were a kid, saw the preview and thought "Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems...", then I weep for your broken childhood love. If you were like me and thought "Even if it is cheesy, it might turn out to be fun", then I'm giving you a Get Out Of Jail Free card with this review. It is not enough that we must be subjected to one-dimensional characters, painfully predictable dialogue, hackneyed plot lines, cliché villains, headache-inducing camera work, and one of the worst climaxes ever recorded. No. Not by a long shot. The atrocity here runs deeper. Our intelligence is insulted, our tastes are ridiculed, and our freedom of choice turns on us and squeezes its fist around our throats. This film registers as a negative, a black hole, in the canon of cinematic creations. There were parts where I imagined the producers saying, "Just leave it that way. They'll never notice" or "You don't have to explain that, it'll fly right over their heads." I understand that the budget for this film was (gasp) a measly 20 million dollars, but lack of financial resources is NEVER, EVER an excuse to feed gold-plated crap to the masses. Christopher Eccleston fans may get a slight quiver of a laugh out of his (failed) quirky turn as The Rider, the wraith-like shape shifting ambassador of "The Dark". But in all seriousness, I think he may have just needed a few extra bucks for a down payment on an Aston Martin he might have had his eye on. Otherwise the acting is not even a subject to be brought up, since cardboard cutouts don't require much effort to portray. The special effects are where all the money went, and they're fairly decent. Though I refuse to count this as praise, any more than I would appreciate a smattering of whipped cream on the top of a rancid pile of stinking, eight-week old peach cobbler.

In any fantasy, there are rules that must be set and limitations where magic is to be found. Otherwise, the whole thing becomes a free-for-all that never holds any kind of credibility. I don't think I have the time or the energy to describe all of the problems, violations, and inconsistencies I saw occur within this film that barely topped two hours. It would be a real challenge for someone to sit down and try to catch them all. There was no respect for the genre here, just a seemingly voracious need to exploit the current fantasy craze. If after The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter, the bigwigs in the studios think that this sort of thing can pass as acceptable, then the legacy of Story is over already. Yes, I am being overly dramatic, but at this point, it's too late to turn back. Time once lost is not recoverable, money once spent requires more labor to regain, and the wish to walk away from a story feeling like we've been entertained, had our minds and hearts opened, once dashed is hard pressed to be soothed back again from boundless feelings of deep discontent and a sense that we have been robbed. It breaks my heart, and I left this film genuinely livid.
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Harry Potter meets the Fifth Element?
garretsr7 October 2007
If you read the book, skip the movie. If you did not read the book, still skip the movie. I saw this with a group in which some of us had read the book and some of us had not. Everybody disliked it.

The story was confusing, disjointed, and eventually pointless. Even if you had read the book, it appeared that the screenwriter was taking scenes from Harry Potter, scenes from the Fifth Element, and a few scenes from Cooper's original novels then patching them together. This led to an incoherent story line.

The biggest question is what were they thinking when they disregarded the story contained in the book? In an episode of "all things considered" on NPR, screenwriter John Hodge asserted that he was trying to distance this movie from Harry Potter. If so, he failed miserably because the massive changes made this look more like a bad Harry Potter knock-off than a separate film. From the NPR interviews, it appears that Ms. Cooper had little or no input in the film. I suspect that the filmmakers were trying to make a Harry Potter-like film out of Susan Cooper's story so they could avoid copyright infringement. Unfortunately, they were trying to fit a square peg into the round hole and it did not work.
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Truly Impressive
bookworm14253647585 December 2007
To whoever made this movie: I congratulate you. The only redeeming factor in this poor excuse for a film is that it will be nearly impossible to produce any of the sequels. (Though I'm sure that won't stop you.) You have managed to destroy anything and everything that made the book wonderful and unique. To be able to something this awful with such great source material surely takes a great amount of planning and deliberation.

What, it was on accident? That is impressive.

Honestly, if you're not going to do it right, don't do it - screenwriters, directors, actors - was there anyone who felt the need to perhaps point out that this thing was a piece of crap? My father, who has never read the books, said the movie was awful, and I would dearly love the home address of the people who destroyed my favorite fantasy series.
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Waste of time
katjaz_trans6 October 2007
Awful, awful, awful - from screenplay to casting to effects. Should one be surprised considering the director announced in the past that he thought the books did not give good movie material and that he dislikes fantasy/children's movies to begin with? Did he pick them up in the end after all to ride the Harry Potter wave? Announcing at the same time that he changed the script from younger British boy to older American boy to avoid having yet another Harry... Well, Susan Cooper's book series the Rising of the Dark sequence was written long before Harry Potter and it has all the material for a good movie. If you like Britain. Its landscape and people. And history, as the background of the book is the King Arthur legend. Unfortunately, the original book has been butchered to the point that the story is unrecognizable. That does not necessarily make a movie bad, just different. However, in this case, as a result of the butchering, the story does not make sense, lacks any depth, and is a disappointment from A to Z which the director tries to hide by using cheap effects and repetitive and lame shooting angles. Save yourself the theater ticket fees and buy those wonderful books from Susan Cooper instead.
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silverduck7 October 2007
That should just about sum it up, but I'll continue. There were about 3 things about Susan Cooper's magnificent book that were preserved in this movie: a couple of names (but certainly not all of them--where was the difficulty in letting his father be named "Roger" rather than changing it to "John"??), a rook feather in the snow, and... that's about it. Sorry, couldn't think of a third. From the color of the Rider's horse to the number (AND AGE) of Will's siblings, from the abilities of the Old Ones (Swords and crossbows? Really?) to the utter importance of the Walker (I wanted to scream)... nothing nothing nothing was safe from being altered, disregarded, obliterated, and out-and-out ignored. I wasted $7.50, but had to be sure that it was as awful as I feared. It was worse. The last time a superb book-turned-rubbish-movie angered me this much was when I was forced to see Jim Carrey prance around as Count Olaf, who should've been one of the greatest villains to scare the wits out of little kids everywhere.

I'd like to say I'm done with adaptations, but The Golden Compass is coming out, and that one looks like more than the gaffer actually read the bloody book.
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What a wasted opportunity
tim-16575 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I first came across this sequence of books as an eleven-year-old boy myself, in 1980, 7 years after the book on which the eponymous book was published. The storyline and writing style is a breath of fresh air and the book, "the Dark is Rising" rapidly became my favourite read. Even now, 27 years later it has lost none of its appeal and my own children are enjoying it too. The secret of success is in the way it creates magic not out of stereotyped wizards (a la Harry Potter), but out of the honest descriptions of the events that unfold for Will Stanton. The description of his village and countryside and how they change as Will himself develops. Above all it is quintessentially English and far from being dated it is a timeless masterpiece as relevant to children now as 30 years ago. The interweaving of Arthurian legend with local Chiltern folk-lore does not need special effects and the story itself is perfect for a film without plot changes. So, to make a film that changes characters as significantly as this does, omitting some, radically altering others, changing the whole substance of Will's family is unforgivable. The casting is poor - Ian McShane is no Merriman. Avoid this like the plague - it should have been a film to bring a new generation of readers to Susan Coopers masterpiece (a sequence of books that shows J K Rowling's Potter saga for the dross that it is). How sad to waste such an opportunity
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Bring back the Whipping Post
Romanticiser25 December 2007
The Seeker is not only one of the worst films I have ever seen it is probably the worst movie of all time. PT Barnum said there is one fool born every minute so I ask why were they all involved in making this pile of utter crap? It doesn't matter if it had followed the book (it woefully doesn't) but it isn't a good movie in any respect at all. This was a money grabbing, farce of a movie, with terrible plotting, terrible casting and even worse directing.

It insulted, the readers of the books, children's intelligences worldwide and the movie industry in general. I wouldn't trust the writer nor the director to sit the right way on a toilet.

If you ever read Ian Fleming's work you'd know that the books and film stories are totally different but they manage to convey the ruthlessness, the style and epic quality of the books and add their own style of fun to generate the longest running successful sequels in history.

With the care and attention to detail put into the filming of the Lord of the Rings I honestly thought we were past the limitations that dogged fantasy films in older days but Fox proved us wrong, I can only surmise, that the financial and marketing people don't read, watch good movies or even have decent IQ's.

How is this for a financial idea: Susan Cooper wrote a 5 book masterpiece that works for kids and adults alike. If we cast it properly, plan out a set of films to bring the books that brought joy to millions out to billions we could if done properly be in the money for years to come and rule the Christmas films for the next 5 years. Hmm who do we get to produce it, screen-write it and direct it for us.

I know, how about we get a successful producer, can we get the one who did that massively acclaimed hit "Legally Blonde 2", a screenwriter who can't write for children and a director who admits he doesn't like the fantasy genre.

I'm trying to work out if movies qualify under the Sale of Goods Act here in Britain. Calling the film "The Dark is Rising" might just be considered as false advertising or at least an infringement of the trade descriptions act. I can then claim my money back and clear the way for everyone else to get theirs back too.
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I just threw up in my mouth a bit
mflynn-416 October 2007
Rarely have I been so disappointed, I actually walked out of this film half way through, not caring how they end this debacle. With such a rich text to draw from, this movie could have been awesome, the plot is pathetic, the characterisation all wrong, the dialogue clichéd drivel, what were they thinking.

Why they had to change the setting away from Celtic countries & Saxon mythology I have no idea. The whole heart & soul is missing from the story.

Everyone involved in the production of this film should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, they've chipped away at a cherished bit of thousands of peoples childhood memories by squeezing out this arse-gravy onto celluloid.
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Oh dear what a waste.....
philwho-215 October 2007
Like many it seems I dreamt of seeing The Dark is Rising on the big screen. Such depth, such scope. With such a true adaptation of the narnia classic already achieved I couldn't wait to view the trailer.... Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Is this really based on Susan Coopers book? What I remember as a powerful novel, full of magic, good versus evil and suspense bears no resemblance to the movie. What a waste of time and effort.

I can't believe for one moment that Susan Cooper has authorised this movie which is supposed to be based on her book. I just hope that people new to this series will want to read the books if the first taste they have is this abysmal looking film.

It seems the studio which produced this film have come up with the golden goose egg of formulas for those too stupid to appreciate the myths and legends in the book. Of course they would change his name from Jack to Jaqueline and get rid of the bean stalk for a rocket to the stars. Oh and not to forgot replacing the giant with a basketball player. But hey all in the name of making a quick buck.....
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okay as a fantasy flick
divalah6 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
As a stand alone fantasy film for children, I'd give this one a 6. (Although I don't think I'd recommend it for children under 4th grade or so -- there were some quite frightening parts).

I thought Christopher Eccelson did a good job as the Rider. The elements of good and evil were pretty well marked out to see. The action, if anything, went too fast. Will zipped from sign to sign without anyone really explaining to him why he was "The Seeker". The editing may have been too choppy. The Old Ones themselves weren't explained very well, which left me a bit confused. They show the dogs growling at Will and the television going fuzzy, but don't explain why.

Even with the confusion and choppy editing, I think for kids who have never read the books, it could be a fun movie to see -- and possibly lead them into the books.


I am a huge fan of the books and am personally disappointed in how much has been changed. I felt that Walden had a wonderful opportunity with this film to bring the richness of Cooper's books to life -- but all the timeless qualities of her book are gone in this very dated piece. The magic of the loving Stanton family, the small English village life, Arthurian Legend, and Celtic lore have been lost and in their place is a shopping mall a missing twin and a possessed brother. What happened to Herne the Hunter? The Old Ways? Huntercombe Way? The Farm? The Lady? The Walker? All in all I guess the best that can be said it that it could have been worse!!
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Like the great classics, Like Waterworld.
Sulan_Firegaard5 October 2007
I am quick to love movies, especially ones set in Britain. This one could not pull me in if it had a rope around my neck. The actors of this film do not deserve any ire. They did the best that they were told to do. Which involved over-emoting and false drama. For that the director deserves horrible ratings. The real villain of this movie is the writer. Now, I have not read the book, I pray that it is better than this waste of an hour and 39 minutes. Though if the screenplay is based on the book, it is probably 26 pages long. The dialog was uninviting, there was not a shred of suspense. Everything was stumbled upon or told immediately by another character. I give credit to the producer, the money spent on the actors was probably worth it I did think that there was a bit of integrity because of the actors (I was wrong). Though in the future they ought to spend more on rewrites. The screenplay writer needs to never work with the pen again. It would be better that way. Don't spend money on this. Take the time to find a place that is still showing Stardust, if it is 2 counties away, still worth more than subjecting your self to this terrible "coming of age" fiasco. I want my money back.
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Okay as a movie sort of annoyed me because I read the book
jordantalk6 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There are major annoying and unnecessary plot changes in The Seeker. More than half the scenes in the movie never occur in the book. This made me angry and wanted to destroy the screen.

The Good: People who didn't read the book and don't understand what a predictable plot is will really enjoy the movie. The movie "adaption" (I use the term very loosely) will please young children who are too lazy to read the book.

The Bad: Will can be very annoying at times, and almost all the other characters can be too.

Annoying Things Will does: "Can I fly?" Can't figure out who the sixth sign is even though it's almost the same in every movie. The actor of Merriman is also fairly obnoxious and doesn't act like Merriman did at all.

Will's family isn't loving like they are in the book which bothers me. They already changed everything (man even the names of the signs got changed) else in no they make Will's family with the exception of the little sister who's not even in the book not care about him. Jeez what's wrong with the directors.

The movie also takes place in present time as opposed to the 70's when the books were written.

They took away the Arthurian legend too which will make it almost impossible to do books 1, 3, 4, and 5 without completely changing it like they did to this one.

Included in obnoxious characters is The Rider who appears every other scene to tell this mysterious and impossibly hard (sarcasm) to figure out hooded figure that "you have one last chance" and then rides off.

Overall the movie is predictable, not fun for people who have read, and fascinating for people who don't like to read books.

By the way Susan Cooper highly dislikes this movie.
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Trite Clichés Plus Creepiest Sexual Innuendo Ever
iisaw6 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to see several long scenes of Our Young Hero whining about why he doesn't want to save the world, this is the film for you. Add in every bad low-budget fantasy film cliché that has ever made you groan and you can pretty much predict the contents of this film.

What's really a shame is that the main actors are so very good. What a waste of talent. The special effects were fine but they kept repeating them , so they lost some impact by the last part of the movie.

---Possible Spoiler---

Don't miss the exciting scene where Our Hero uses his World Saving Powers to make an erect knife dance between two round salt and pepper shakers in the creepiest sexual innuendo ever to grace a children's film. When his unappreciative honey goes off with Our Hero's brother, Our Hero uses his powers to throw the same knife at them as they leave the house. Talk about unsavory symbolism! I think the director may, just possibly, have some unhealthy issues about women.
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The dark is meaningless
Paul Schmitz6 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched this movie and I don't know where to start. This is just a very bad movie. This has nothing to do with the fact that the movie departed from the books; it's a very bad movie, period. I don't blame the actors; I think they did the best they could with what they had. I would sum up this movie as an awful lot (or a lot of awful) effects and camera stunts being used to hide the fact that there is no story.

The camera switches from close-up to dangling high overhead repeatedly. It jumps around in battle scenes, apparently to make up for a lack of action. The special effects are cliché, more distracting than dramatic, and the battles turn into yet another CGI super-hero cartoon scene. But this is really just obscuring the fact that there is no story. The history is contrived; the family is pathetic; the Old Ones are rather useless; it's fortunate for Will that the enemy is inclined more to drama than to action. Once again we see the woman-as-temptress, tool-of-the-devil theme. The final battle is mostly against a lot of black dust. Will is driven by self-pity and only gets interested in the battle when he finds he has real power -- and then he becomes a rather self-righteous little jerk. None of these characters are likable or interesting (except possibly to 13-year-old boys).

Which brings me to the review by the Truly Moving Pictures judge. I notice that the reviewer did not use a real name, and the website does not list judges (that I could find). The fact that this organization gave this film any kind of award can only indicate some kind of financial interest, since there is clearly no merit whatsoever evident in this film. I would agree that you can see the budget in the film, but I would add that you can also see that it was wasted. I was highly gratified that on opening weekend, there were perhaps twenty or thirty people in the entire theater. Hopefully there won't be any attempt at a sequel and perhaps someday someone will do justice to Susan Cooper's books.
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The Worst Film I Have EVER Seen
captneggs116 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
You are a SEEKER Will! Don't you know what that is?!? This movie is pretty much all that you hate in a movie. The premise of the film is that evil needs five days after Will's 14th birthday to destroy the world.

The script is inanely two dimensional. Each character has his or her own theme and that's that. There are no character developments or even a care to it. It just seem that they had a cool outline for a movie and decided to put them in without any consideration to a story.

Just so you know, it's not very hard to be a Seeker in this movie. He goes back in time when he sees a sign. He doesn't even need to know what time period, his seeker abilities take care of that for him. Not only do they take him back in time, but he hallucinates the symbol for the "light" wherever a sign is located. So his job is to be involuntarily transported back in to to an empty room, see a transparent symbol and put his hand where it was. That's it. "I never thought you would get this far." You've got to be kidding! This movie plays out like a little kid's video game!

The villain is the complete opposite of intimidating, every time he is on screen I chuckled. His weapon of choice? Crows. Yes, that's right, you read that correctly. He uses crows to attack people. Yeah, he's here to destroy all light on the planet and he uses crows to scratch people. Yes, this makes me very scared indeed.

The camera tries to make the movie seem like there is action about to happen, but after the third time of these "action" sequences that end in a protracted dialog that was, "Give me the signs boy!" "No, I won't!" "Fine, Have it your way" you laugh at the bad guy for his terrible aptitude for being a bad guy and how easy it is to defy this evil power. Then the villain rides off into the distance. It just never made ANY sense. This movie is probably the worst film of the millennium.
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My Eyes Are Closing
Chrysanthepop27 June 2008
I haven't read the book it's based on but from other reviews, it seems as though the book has been butchered by Cunningham. Well, I can totally understand that because this movie is perhaps one of the most boring movies of 2007. It's pretty to look at though. The special effects, visuals etc are well done. The swirling camera-work is overdone. The screenplay is a mess and the characters are nothing noteworthy. The performances are miserable. Even Christopher Eccleston couldn't save this film. The reason why I ended up watching the whole thing is because I was at a friend's who rented it (she likes fantasy films) and I didn't want to be rude by walking out. I almost dozed off but managed to keep myself awake out of courtesy. Cunningham probably tried to cash in on the success of fantasy films like the Harry Potter series and the many fantasy films released in the last years but his product is a huge disappointment. Given the material he could have made something great but alas!
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A lazy, stupid piece of movie-making
Angus McIntyre (slam163)13 January 2008
Movie adaptations of much-loved books can rarely satisfy the fans, but even making allowances for that, this is a deeply disappointing film. People not familiar with Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" cycle will find this simply another lackluster and occasionally bewildering teen fantasy film, while anyone who read and enjoyed Cooper's books would be well-advised to steer clear of the film altogether: it will simply make them angry.

The attraction of Cooper's books is that they are both mythologically and psychologically powerful. Her characters are well-drawn, complex and believable, and the story is deeply rooted in British mythology. The film has none of that: the mythological aspect has been entirely excised, and the psychology reduced to the lowest common-denominator of teen alienation. Even the quintessentially English character of the stories was apparently judged too threatening or complex for American audiences, so the protagonist has been Americanized and the setting reduced to some cutesy chocolate-box Hollywood vision of rural England.

Probably the only bright point of the movie is Alexander Ludwig, in the part of Will Stanton. He isn't Cooper's Will Stanton, but he turns in a respectable performance. In this, he's in marked contrast to the adult actors who seem mostly to have phoned in their work.

Granted, the script writer hasn't given any of them much to do. Ian McShane's Merriman, a pivotal character in the books, has been reduced to intoning portentously "... for you are the Seeker ..." at regularly-spaced intervals. Naturally, in a film that assumes that the audience must be spoon-fed, everything has to be telegraphed, repeatedly if necessary. It's not enough to have fancy visual effects and abrupt changes of season; someone has to actually announce that the characters are traveling in time. Apparently, the film-makers don't think the audience are going to be able to figure that one out for themselves. It's educational to contrast the subtlety and effectiveness with which Cooper reveals her world in the books with the kind of ham-fisted lay-it-on-with-a-trowel exposition that the makers of the film considered necessary.

The result is a rambling mess where the hero stumbles through his required tasks - all of which fall more or less into his lap without any great dramatic tension - until the predictable last-minute rout of the forces of darkness. Even someone with no prior exposure to Cooper's work is likely to find it dull. It can't be judged good or enjoyable by any standard.

Quite how the movie came to be such a travesty is difficult to say. The source material, had anyone associated with the movie bothered to read it, is compelling and well-structured, such that simply following the story faithfully (and preserving some of Cooper's dialog) would have made for a much better movie. In the hands of, for example, the BBC, it could have made an excellent mini-series. Screenwriter John Hodge must take much of the blame for his insipid and amateurish screenplay, yet his track record - including the excellently- written "Shallow Grave" and "Trainspotting" - makes me wonder if he contrived this disaster all himself, or if he was under pressure from director Cunningham (whose own resume might have led one to predict that he would make something like this) to dumb everything down for the benefit of some imaginary audience of American teenagers with single-digit IQs.

There's no reason to waste time on this film (I saw it on an airplane). If you know how to read, you'd be vastly better off spending the time and the money on the original books.
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just horrible
books-5727 December 2007
After attempting to watch this movie, I am literally shaking with anger. This book is one of my all time favorites and one of the best things about it is how wonderfully Susan Cooper manages to paint pictures with her words. When you are reading you can visualise everything she is describing in minute detail - and I have often thought that it would be so easy to translate it into film. It doesn't need 'adapting' - just filming.... verbatim. This film has absolutely nothing to do with the book and I am devastated that anyone would think that it has. It should have been so easy! I can understand them wanting to update it a bit for modern audiences and that could have worked just fine. The kid they have to play Will seemed OK too - he looked right and seemed to give off the right 'feel'. But why change the plot? What's the point of using a book as a starting off point if they change it into a completely alien beast? Why did they have to destroy something that so many people hold so close to their hearts? Why? Why? Why?
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Not bad - intended for young adults
crako113 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
So a decent movie, intended for youngsters, very much in the Harry Potter category, though not as good.

A lot of comments have focused on comparing the movie to the book, but this isn't a book review, it's a movie review, and the movie is pretty okay.

Also, a lot have compared this to the movie Eragon, which is really unfair. Eragon's screenplay was poorly written and the lead actor was out of his league. In Keeper, the lead actor does a decent job, expressing the difficulties of being an early teen in difficult;t circumstances.

Anyway, a good movie, especially for kids, and better than the 5.1 rating it currently shows.
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A+ for kids 6 to 16
tabartel6 October 2007
After reading a whole bunch of these reviews, all I wanted was to find out if a)the movie is appropriate for my seven year old boy, and b)is it cheesy (ie. The Last Mimzy). I go to the movies with my son so we can enjoy a good story, laugh a little and lose ourselves in a good story/adventure/fantasy. I've never seen my son get "into" a movie like this one. He gave me the annoying play-by-play of what was going on every five minutes. That showed me that he was really enjoying and following it. I don't understand the critiques of this movie. Predictable? Maybe a little, but so are 95% of the movies out there. But the comments about it having bad acting and cheesy lines just weren't warranted. I was just as engrossed by this movie as my son and was pleasantly surprised that I could enjoy a kids movie as much as I did. I would place it somewhere between being better than Bridge To Tarabithia but just under Lord Of The Rings. If you're tired of Harry Potter (like me) but still want to go see an adventure/fantasy, give this one a shot.
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Mr Lister5 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that, but I've seen plenty of great books made into lousy films, so I can understand the complaints here.

Anyway, that leaves the film itself. I didn't like the dialogue much, and sometimes I got the idea that the actors didn't like their lines much either. One reason I watched was because it had Christopher Eccleston (who plays someone who looks human, but isn't, and can travel through time, and sometimes pretends to be a doctor. Sorry) but that was a disappointment; he didn't really try his best at being evil. The others also didn't look like they were really into it. The overall story I also didn't like much. So many subplots that weren't resolved satisfactorily, so many plot holes, too many to mention. And where it didn't have plot holes, it was too predictable. The special effects were nice, but not always needed. Many scenes could have done without.

So if you're not too critical (and, presumably, you haven't read the book) I suspect you might like the film. Otherwise, don't bother.
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Just get rid off it and start all over again
MichaelKlaus848 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to go to my local Cinema next Thursday when "Wintersonnenwende" as this movie is called in Germany starts but somehow I got a little illegal and looked at the movie in its English version. It is awful. I could write a better adaption of the story for the new century. I have to admit I just made it to the scene, where Maggie is introduced to the family so I can't tell anything about the special effects and the wonderful music and the end of that *put a random curse here*

I liked the idea of an older Will, as so many parts of the story are about a change and becoming older; like noticing that he went to be an adult over night. But I do not understand the family-construct; the parents are renamed; the brothers keep their names; the twins are just one character not two different people but i can go with that one but who killed Will's sisters? Somehow we got Ginny Weas.. sorry I mean Gwen Stanton but lost Barbara and Mary (which became the mother's name)

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg that shows what is hidden behind John Hodge's statement: "ten years ago...I thought it wasn't really for me...this time around...I didn't really think it was for me...I haven't met Susan Cooper... I haven't dipped into the other books at all...Just 'Dark Is Rising', yeah"

He did not understand at all what Susan Coopers books are about! And it is just as simple as reading this because there is a Wikipediaentry on her books!!!

They got rid of all epic elements and made some trash of the rest.
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