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The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising

A smirky and sore temptation
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  October 5, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars
THE DARK IS RISING: An unfortunate Harry Potter wanna-be.

It’s never a good idea to judge a movie by the book it was adapted from, but this Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter wanna-be is a sore temptation. Susan Cooper’s 1974 Newbery Honor Book The Dark Is Rising, the second volume of her “Dark Is Rising” quintet, tells of the Stanton family of Buckinghamshire, and in particular Will Stanton, seventh son of a seventh son, the last of the Old Ones to be born, and how he joins them in the battle of the Light against the Dark. Cooper’s series is all about Britain, its lore, its family strength, its tradition of self-sacrifice. David L. Cunningham’s Fox Walden movie turns Will and his family into contemporary (cellphones, video games, skateboards) Californians who’re living in England because dad got a job teaching physics there. The kids are obnoxious, and smirky, tow-headed Will (Canadian Alexander Ludwig) is all self-indulgence — but who can blame him when mentor Merriman (Ian McShane) is spouting lines like “The future of the human race depends on you”? Christopher Eccleston as the meant-to-be-menacing Rider is upstaged by the special effects — and by the sentimentality of the kidnapped-twin story that’s tossed into the mix. Only the gruff authenticity of real Brits James Cosmo and Jim Piddock as Dawson and Old George offers any protection against this American rising dark.
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  Topics: Reviews , Harry Potter , Susan Cooper , Christopher Eccleston ,  More more >
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