PG for fantasy action and some scary images.
Oct. 5, 2007
Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation
Alexander Ludwig, Ian McShane, Gregory Smith, Emma Lockhart, Austin Vaccaro
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The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- Walden Media who brought us The Chronicles of Narnia, has joined with their new partner Twentieth Century Fox to produce a fantasy that once again highlights the battle between good and evil.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is based on a series of books by author Susan Cooper.
The story features a young hero battling the forces of darkness.
Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) and his family have recently moved from America to a small town in England. As Will nears his fourteenth birthday, he is trying to adjust to life in a new place and muster up the courage to speak to a girl from school that he likes. But he soon learns that he has bigger problems than these.
Will discovers that his ancestors lived in the town centuries ago and were part of a group of warriors called The Old Ones. As the seventh son of a seventh son, Will is the last in this line of warriors. He is told by two members of the Old Ones, Merriman (Ian McShane) and Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy), that he is what is known as “the Seeker,” and they have been waiting on him.
The Old Ones need him to help them fight in the battle between the Light and the Dark.
In previous battles, the Light has always been victorious over the Dark, but in the last battle, the Light just barely won. Now the Dark is growing stronger. As the Seeker, Will is the one who must restore the power of the Light.
To do this, he must search for six signs that were hidden in different time periods to prevent the Dark from finding them. As he searches for these signs he is pursued by “the Rider” (Christopher Eccleston), a mysterious man riding a horse. The Rider serves the Dark and his power is increasing every day. Will, too, has supernatural powers that he can use in battle, but he only has five days to find all of the signs or the Light will be overcome by the Dark, and the earth and his family will be destroyed.
The film has some Christian overtones, especially in the lines of dialogue: “The Light creates; The Dark destroys” and “Even the smallest light can shine in the darkness.” And the director of the film, David Cunningham, is a Christian. But the Christian symbolism ends there. This is no Chronicles of Narnia, but it is a solid fantasy film for its intended adolescent audience.
Though some people have compared the film to the Harry Potter movies, Cunningham feels there are only a few similarities. Apart from the movie’s main character being a young boy who discovers he has powers that he must use to battle the forces of darkness, the story is quite different, the director said. The tale doesn’t involve witchcraft or the occult.
“Some people might have issues with Harry Potter,” Cunningham said. “I think this is a really safe alternative because it doesn’t deal with some of those other issues.”
However, there is plenty of magic featured in the film, though the source of these powers is never named. It is inferred that the Rider’s powers stem from the “Darkness” that he represents.
The film is rated PG and is geared for kids though there are a few scenes that could scare young children.
Cunningham, whose previous work has included documentaries and independent films, said he really wanted the film to feel realistic.
“What we are trying to do is bring a sense of realism into the fantasy world where instead of us being swept away into a fantastic world, that fantastic world creeps into my world,” Cunningham said.
To accomplish this, he relied less on computer generated imagery, and more on real elements.
“For example, we used 1,000 real snakes from the Czech Republic. We brought in Viking re-enactors from Scandinavia for the Viking scenes. And we tried to keep it as relatable as possible so it wasn’t too fantastic and you got a sense that this could happen to anyone,” he said.
It’s that this-could-happen-to-me feeling during the scene with the snakes that could prove to be too scary for young kids. But apart from that, the film is very family-friendly, assuming you enjoy the fantasy genre.
Adults may find the plot somewhat predictable, but the film is still a thrilling ride none-the-less.
Meet the film's director -- David Cunningham: Filmmaker with a Mission
Learn more about the film, watch behind-the-scenes features, and play games at the movie Web site: www.seekthesigns.com.
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More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
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