Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Movie Review: Seeker, The Darkness is Rising

Seeker has all of the elements of a good fantasy movie: unsuspecting protagonist, mysterious bad guy, large family of boys, including mischievous twins and a cute younger sister.... does this sound familiar to anyone? While I can't blame the plot, which was written by Susan Cooper well before Harry Potter had even been thought of, I can't help feeling that this movie made not by someone who loved fantasy, but rather by someone who saw a way to cash on in the recent fantasy movie craze. In terms of making money, it's quite likely the movie will succeed, it is quite a pretty movie, with good use of camera effects whenever evil happens, a feel good/sappy ending, and a main character who is well versed in the frodo-baggins-one-facial-expression school of acting.

The basic premise of the story isn't that bad, Will Stanton has to find the six signs before the incredible evil destroys the world. As a book, in which there is enough time and space to explore the characters it could work out ok, but in a movie it feels ridiculous. The main character seems to wander though the movie randomly finding clues and whining about things. Whenever he finds a sign, he is transported through time to the period it was 'hidden' in, which provides the excuse for a brief action scene, but really doesn't add much to the plot. Then, as if condensing the search for the first five signs isn't enough, a sixth sign is introduced, as a way of introducing a feel good subplot that is ridiculous and makes no sense.

As if the plot wasn't annoying enough by itself, the portrayal of Will Stanton makes it worse. I understand a certain amount of reluctance from a hero that has the kind of responsibility involved with saving the world thrust upon him, but Will Stanton is just stupid about it, and what makes it worse is that he occasionally has moments of clarity about the problems of his family members that come out of no-where and are completley out of character! The antagonist is similarly a bit off, in his "evil rider" form he is merely average, the character would have been much scarier if played by someone with a little more presence (say Viggo Mortenson :P), and his 'in disguise' form was just strange, not even a creepy strange like the bug man in buffy for example, just strange.

The other characters are much more enjoyable. Will's five brothers do seem to blend into each other a little, but we do get a surprising amount of understanding of them considering their relative unimportance in the movie. His sister is a cutie, and his mum is lovely as well. The 'Old Ones' who help Will in his search are all wonderful, they are very strong characters with oodles of grace, and I loved watching them whenever they were on screen. If I can be as cool an old lady as Ms Greythorn, I will die happy.

I do think this movie will succeed, it's got a kind of showyness that will appeal to the kind of audience that don't really want to think when they are in a cinema, I can only hope that the success of this movie means more good fantasy will get made. Me? I'm still waiting for Golden Compass.

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At January 4, 2008 at 4:20 AM , Blogger James T said...

In my capacity as a blogging noob - how do you get those labels at the bottom of your posts?

In my capacity as a movie buff, and noticing your reference to Viggo - have you seen Eastern Promises yet? I'll definitely do a post about that at some point. Downright awesome movie, in my opinion. One of the best (if not the best) I saw last year.

And Viggo was great.

At January 4, 2008 at 1:59 PM , Blogger Nicole Canal said...

you get the labels by filling in the tags section under where you type your post. Just don't ask me how to set up an RSS feed....

And no, I haven't seen Eastern Promises but I'll definately keep my eye out for it. I haven't really seen any movies other than the ones I mentioned her. Oh and Aliens and Preditor (the old ones)

Viggo is always great. :D


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