The film tells the story of Will Stanton, a young man who learns he is the last of a group of warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the Dark. Traveling back and forth through time, Will discovers a series of clues which lead him into a showdown with forces of unimaginable power. With the Dark once again rising, the future of the world rests in Will's hands.Written by
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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