The Seeker The Dark is Rising
Once again, the world is faced with imminent destruction. Luckily there is a champion waiting in the wings to save the day. He just doesn't know it yet.
This classic theme of light versus dark pits a young 14-year-old boy against the forces of evil in a small English village. Along with his parents (Wendy Crewson, John Benjamin Hickey), Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) and his siblings have recently relocated to the quiet town to start afresh after a family tragedy. It's a roughhousing bunch of six boys and one little girl.
Still, the spinster Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy) and her assistant Merriman Lyon (Ian McShane) welcome the newcomers into the neighborhood at a Christmas open house. But Will soon learns there is more to the invitation than sociality. When The Rider (Christopher Eccleston), a masked man astride a charging horse, chases him through the forest, the hosts come to his rescue and reveal his role as The Seeker who will restore good in a troubled world threatened by the horseman's wicked intentions.
Doubting their story, Will refuses to believe he is anything more than an awkward teen that can't even muster enough courage to talk to a girl. However, Merriman and Miss Greythorne along with two other townsfolk, Old George (Jim Piddock) and Dawson (James Cosmos), urge Will to develop his extraordinary powers including his ability to time travel. With the world's wellbeing heading for obliteration, the young teen has five days to collect six symbolic signs that will reverse the advance of the dark forces.
While there is little other content concern in this film adaptation Susan Cooper's of novel, Will's quest makes for plenty of tense, though bloodless, action violence. The boy searches through snake-infested tombs, sneaks past medieval pillagers, and comes to blows with his own knife-wielding brother. He also fights off fantastical creatures sent by The Rider to hamper his efforts.
For viewers, distracting camerawork and an excess of special effects make it hard to follow an already disjointed storyline. The script also fails to make an emotional connection between the characters and the audience. Still, the film offers teens a strong, positive message about the abilities of youth. It will just take a little seeking to find it.