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SEEKER, THE: THE DARK IS RISING

SYNOPSIS:
When the Stanton family is re-located from the States to a small town in England, the youngest son Will (Alexander Ludwig), discovers he is the last in the line of warriors called the Old Ones, led by Merriman (Ian McShane) and Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy). They take him under their wings on a journey in which he must use his special powers to seek signs hidden through time, to correct the balance between the forces of Light and Dark. Not only does Will need to battle with himself, but he must fight the mysterious and evil Rider (Christopher Ecclestone), in a bid to save the world.

Review by Robert Newton:
This fantasy based on the second book in Susan Cooper's five-book cycle may predate Harry Potter by a quarter century, but that does not grant it any magical leeway for being such a weak wannabe, nor does the boast that it's from the makers of The Chronicles of Narnia and Bridge to Terabithia (producers Walden Media). No, this one is unimaginative and hokey, an adventure nearly as bungling as last holiday season's dragon egg, Eragon.

Its quest tale pits a good-hearted 14-year-old Special Boy, naturally named Will (Alexander Ludwig), against a wicked, dreadfully serious longhaired gent on horseback, naturally named The Rider (Christopher Eccleston). There is a whole lot of moustache twirling and spinning of metaphysical banalities about the dynamics of 'Light' versus 'Dark', and a cast of supporting players like Ian McShane and Frances Conroy moping from scene to tedious scene in search of the kind of skilled direction that unseasoned director David L. Cunningham just does not provide.

It is remarkable that the drama is so forced and wooden, too, considering that writer John Hodge, Trainspotting director Danny Boyle's longtime collaborator, did the adaptation. Cooper's Seeker cycle is a more than competent series to adapt, which will surely add to the disappointment fans will experience while watching such a bland translation.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SEEKER, THE: THE DARK IS RISING (PG)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Ian McShane, Christopher Eccleston, Gregory Smith, Wendy Crewson, Jonathan Jackson, Amelia Warner, Alexander Ludwig, James Cosmo, Emma Lockhart, Francis Conroy

PRODUCER: Marc E. Platt

DIRECTOR: David L. Cunnighma

SCRIPT: John Hodge (novel by Susan Cooper)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Joel Ransom

EDITOR: Geoffrey Rowland, Eric A. Sears

MUSIC: Christoph Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Lee

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 4, 2007







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