09 October 2007

Movie Review: "Seeker: The Dark is Rising"

As much as I've enjoyed the Harry Potter books and movies and appreciate how JKR's work has brought a new generation of children to the joy of reading, it's a shame that Harry Potter beat Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series to the punch when it comes to marketing.

"Dark" came out long before Harry was a gleam in JKR's eye, but timing is everything, and now the movie looks like little more than a HP clone. And that's sad, because for those of us who read and loved Cooper's series, we know that JKR borrowed elements from Cooper, not the other way around.

In an effort to separate the two movies, the producers changed some elements of "Dark" but IMO managed to capture of the essence of Cooper's book. If you can get past the American Will Stanton and a love interest that was thrown in as an afterthought, the result is a much more intelligent, stripped down story than HP that doesn't talk down to its audience and doesn't need the bells and whistles to make it good.

Alexander Ludwig, who plays Will, is an excellent young actor whose chops are far more advanced than Daniel Radcliffe's were at that age. (Sorry DR fans! I like DR too but I calls it as I sees it!) Ludwig "gets" Will and the story, and the power of his talent in the climactic scene will blow you away. Pit Ludwig's Will against Radcliffe's Harry in a duel of magic, and Will would win hands-down -- and he wouldn't need a wand to do it.

I was disappointed when we entered the theater and found only about 5 other people in it on opening weekend. Okay, so it was a football Friday, but I would have thought its similarities to HP would have drawn a bigger crowd.

"Seeker: The Dark is Rising" is a gem. Don't miss it on the big screen!

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